Starting a New Fitness Regimen

By Guest Editor on Feb 8, 2016

It is never too late to meet your new year's resolution to work out more often! If you are determined to reach your goals to live a healthier lifestyle, then get ready to plan your new lifestyle. Here is what you should know when preparing to begin a new fitness regimen, especially if you haven't been active in the past:

  • If you are a man older than 45, a woman over 55, or have a major health condition, start with a visit to your doctor who can evaluate your current health status. Your doctor will also be able to recommend what levels of activity you should be aiming for when you first start out.
  • Know your limits. Don't try to start beyond your means. Most people give up on exercising when they start too intensely and end up sore, in pain, and unenthusiastic about exercising again.
  • If you are overweight, don't have cardio endurance, or have trouble breathing when exercising, try adding a half hour of walking to your daily routine instead of starting with highly aerobic activities.
  • According to the CDC, we should all aim for 30 minutes of moderate-to-intense physical activity per day. You can determine how intense your work out is through the “talk test.” If you can talk but can’t sing while exercising, then you are getting a moderate work out. If you can only say a few words while exercising, then you are doing a vigorously aerobic activity.
  • Create small, realistic goals, such as walking around the block without being winded, training for a 5K, or going to the gym three times a week. Smaller steps to achieving your big goal will make it easier to accomplish your goal.
  • Remember, exercise is a long-term process. Don't be discouraged if you can't see or feel the effects immediately. The key is to create healthy lifestyle habits so that you keep up with your new exercise regimen.
  • Healthiness and fitness go beyond being able to run a marathon. Try several different activities to find your favorites: yoga, Pilates, swimming, Crossfit, Zumba, strength training, rollerblading, biking, gymnastics, ballroom dance, organized sports, and more!
  • If you do go to a gym, take advantage of personal trainer offers. Many gyms offer a free session with a trainer when you buy a membership. Trainers can help you set realistic goals and teach you how to properly use the gym equipment.
  • Always warm up and cool down after a work out, and don't forget your stretches! Limber muscles are more efficient and less susceptible to injury, meaning you can keep exercising better.

Remember, if you experience a shortness of breath, blurred or darkening vision, or lightheadedness, stop exercising immediately and seek medical attention.