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A Beginners Guide to Exercise

A Beginners Guide to Exercise

09Jan

As the New Year is underway, so too are everyone’s resolutions for 2019, and I’m sure for many of you that includes aiming to be more active and live a healthier lifestyle. If you’ve made the first step and committed to exercising but don’t know where to start then this blog post is perfect for you. Here’s all you need to know about starting an exercise routine and sticking to it!

Common Categories of Exercise

When many think of exercise, they think of strenuous activities that make you breathe hard and work up a sweat such as running or biking. While these aerobic forms of exercise are essential for boosting fitness, there are actually three other equally important categories of exercise.  All four combined complement each other in order to improve your overall fitness while at the same time helping prevent injury.

  1. Endurance Training – Also known as aerobic exercise, these are activities that get your heart rate up and make you breathe harder, they get your cardiovascular system working. Aerobic exercises can increase overall fitness greatly while reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. As mentioned above examples includes running, biking, swimming or playing sports such as tennis.
  2. Strength Training – These are exercises that work your muscles by using resistance such as weight lifting, resistance bands, or using your body weight for resistance i.e. doing push-ups, crunches, squats. Strength training exercises help to increase lean muscle mass, increase bone density, increase metabolism (as lean muscle burns calories faster) and decrease the risk of injury.
  3. Flexibility Training – These exercises aim to improve your range of motion at your joints by stretching your muscles. There are two types of stretching, static and dynamic and both are important as they improve flexibility, reduce the risk of injury, and reduce the lactic acid that builds up in your muscles causing that burning sensation when we exercise.
  4. Balance Training – Your ability to control and stabilise the body’s position can be improved with balance training. Balance exercises not only help prevent falls, but they also help reduce the risk of lower extremity injures. Examples of balance exercises include using balance boards, stability balls, yoga or pilates.

How to Get Started & Be Successful

Undergo Health Check – The first step before you begin exercising is to make sure you currently have no injuries or health conditions that will limit your ability to perform. Consulting your doctor if you are not used to strenuous activities and currently very unhealthy is recommended, particularly if you are over 50 or have any heart conditions.

Set Realistic Goals – The best way to ensure success is to create a plan that allows you to set realistic and measurable goals. This can be as simple as aiming to do 20 push-ups or signing up to a 5km run. Start with small goals that will motivate you and can then be adjusted as your fitness level improves.

Stay Motivated – The best way to stay motivated is to have fun and enjoy your exercise while doing it. Not every exercise will be for you so mix it up at the beginning and find something that you enjoy whether it be boxing or yoga. Joining a class at your local gym, hiring a personal trainer, or doing team sports can also help enjoyment and motivate you to work harder.

Form the Habit – Keeping to your routine can be difficult, and so forming the habit is essential for success. Schedule you classes for the same time on the days you plan to exercise to increase your chances of sticking with it. And if you find yourself slacking or feeling unmotivated, don’t worry about taking a day or two off to recharge and develop that hunger again.

Top Tips to Help Beginners

  • Warming Up – Warming up, cooling down and stretching is critical when exercising, especially for beginners. Doing so helps prevent injuries or any soreness post workout, along with increasing flexibility and improving your performance.
  • Stay Hydrated – Drinking fluids pre, during, and post workout is essential when exercising. This is to ensure that you replenish what the body has lost as you sweat during exercise.
  • Optimise Nutrition – To ensure you have enough energy to perform when exercising, nutrition needs to improve. Ensure you have a balanced diet but make sure you consume enough carbohydrates as they fuel your muscles before exercise, and help them recover post exercise. Similarly consuming enough protein is necessary as it helps build muscle mass and repairs tissue damage.
  • Listen to Your Body – As a beginner, many people push themselves to the point of injury or exhaustion and then reach burnout and are forced to quit their routine. Be mindful of your limits as a beginner. Take your time and slowly progress through your fitness programme so you maintain your routine in the long run.

Here at Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic we aim to promote exercise for all, including all age groups and physical abilities. Exercise has so many health benefits not only physically but also mentally, and we would like to share this with you. Starting the New Year in one of our exercise classes may be the boost you need to get started on your health and wellbeing journey. We offer a range of Pilates classes ranging from beginners, intermediate and advanced. Healthy Bones is a class we offer to improve bone density for individuals with osteoporosis. We also have our Stronger for Longer class, a strength and conditioning class for all experience levels. If you are interested in any of our Pilates or exercise classes please contact the clinic today.

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