Exercise: where do you start?

Exercise: where do you start?

Starting your fitness journey is always the hardest part as I’ve found out.  BUT it is never too late, and there IS something for everyone, I promise. Moving your body regularly is vital to your physical and mental health. I know that getting into a fitness regime can feel daunting and overwhelming, so I’ve listed some key points which helped me…

Finding your Why?

First you need to work out WHY you want to get into fitness. Perhaps you have an occasion that you’d like to lose some weight for, or maybe you want to generally tone up and build strength. What is important to remember is that aesthetics are NOT the only reason to get into fitness. It is proven that the endorphins we release when we exercise are mood boosting and can improve your general happiness, plus the long-term effects exercise has on your body will boost your immune system and keep you supple. For me, my WHY was based around being fed up with asthma and weak lungs holding me back with basic things like jogging up the stairs. AND I soon realised that it was my one and only escape from work, an awesome stress relief.

Find your activity

Some people like pounding the pavements and going for long runs for hours and hours, others prefer staying in the gym environment to lift weights. Others prefer more gentle exercise such as yoga or pilates to strengthen muscles. Of course, you don’t always have to stick to one activity.  I actually prefer to do a real mixture… interval training, running, indoor cycle, weight training.  This is because I get bored easily and because I think it is better for the body to do different types of exercise.

Another thing to consider is whether or not you want to undergo your fitness journey alone or with others. Some people find sticking to a fitness regime easier if there is a social aspect to it. Doing an activity with a friend, joining in on a fitness class or playing a sport in a team can add an extra amount of fun to exercise! Others prefer to use it as quiet time and work out alone.  Either way, it is your personal preference. Me personally I would usually prefer to workout alone so that I don’t get too distracted and really focus on clearing my head.

Set some goals

Once you’ve decided on the type of activity you want to try, it’s great to set some personal goals to make sure you’re making progress and seeing benefits from all your hard work. These goals don’t necessarily have to be weight orientated, and it has actually been proven that visual results can be more rewarding, so if you think the numbers game will easily deflate you, then don’t measure that way. Your personal goal could be something such as being able to do a lift with 10kg more, swim an extra 2 lengths, or run an extra mile. Another effective way of setting a personal goal is to add a time limit to keep you motivated and working towards that goal. If you really wanted to cement a goal in place, booking a sporting event will make sure you’re working towards something. Signing up for a run or triathlon will give you a solid reason not to skip your training. I work better under pressure so this really works for me.

Make it part of your routine

They say you must stick at something for 3 months for it to become a habit and working exercise into your routine is a sure way to make sure you stick to it. If you are partaking in some sort of sport or team activity, it’s easier to stick to it as it is at a set date and time. Solo exercise is much harder to stick too, as self-motivation must play a big part. Building fitness into your routine can make it harder to miss, so look at your schedule and see if there are any gaps that lend themselves to exercise. For example, you could dedicate some time after work to get to a gym, or schedule in a Saturday morning activity to really kick start your weekend. For me it depends on whether or not I am working in the office, or I’m at home with Teddy. If I’m at work I love to use the gym at the start of the day. If I am at home, I still prefer to workout first thing in the morning but realistically I usually squeeze a quick workout in during Teddy’s nap at lunchtime.

Keep it positive

Lastly and most importantly is to keep your fitness journey POSITIVE. If you’re struggling at the start, just remember that every time you exercise you are improving, and you will feel the benefits eventually. It can be really slow to start, but the long-term effects of your actions will last. Also make sure your fitness journey is making you happy. If you find yourself dreading it, feeling low or overwhelmed, go back to the drawing board and try something else. Also remember to give yourself breaks, if you’re pushing yourself too much you will learn quickly that overdoing it isn’t going to help you achieve your goals any faster, it may even hinder them as you may do yourself an injury or burn out.

As I mentioned earlier, exercise releases endorphins and is meant to make you feel good, and there is no point putting the work in if it doesn’t bring you joy. I never weigh myself and try to focus on how I am feeling, and how moving my body and exercising can make me FEEL (rather than look) better. I have found that helps to keep positive and focus on the feel-good factor exercise brings.

Let me know if you are planning on getting started… I would love to hear from you, and I am happy to support where I can!

Penny x

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