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Regular physical fitness is one of the best things you can do for your overall health. Of all the new year resolutions to adopt, committing to an exercise routine is the one your body will thank you for most.

While creating a routine is easy, sticking with your program can be another story entirely. From how to plan your routine to the benefits it will bring you, we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you make this year your most active (and healthiest) year yet!

The Benefits of Regular Exercise

Physical activity is the tried and true method for reaching your health goals. Regular exercise is good for your body. Aside from helping you achieve and maintain weight loss, it can also reduce your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol and more.

You will also find regular activity is good for your mind. Studies show people who frequently exercise are more likely to have more positive moods and better mental health, along with better sleep.

The effects of exercise can be similar to physical and mental therapy. As with all forms of therapy, it is important to gather a baseline for yourself before beginning so that you can track your progress.

How do I start an exercise routine?

Evaluate your baseline fitness.

Your baseline is the starting point you will use to compare track your progress. Taking stock is important for any plan. Begin by evaluating your fitness level before you even begin. Developing a baseline for your starting fitness will help you develop personal goals for your program.

While assessing yourself, you may want to consider the following:

  • Your pulse rate before (and after) walking one mile
  • The time it takes to cover that distance
  • Your maximum for exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, etc
  • Your starting weight
  • How much you are able to lift

Developing a baseline is also important for your safety. Knowing these starting points will allow you to prepare a routine that will push your body just enough to benefit without harming itself.

Take time to develop the details of your routine.

While you may be eager to jump right in, routines that art started without a plan often fall through. Creating a structured plan for an exercise routine requires some extra work up front but will make it much easier to stick with it in the long run.

Assessing your fitness goals is the first step in creating your plan. Are you looking to lose weight? Do you want to gain muscle? Is maintaining your current fitness important? From aerobics to weight training and more, the types of exercise you should adopt will vary based on what you hope to achieve. Knowing what your desired end results look like will help you tailor a plan to meet them.

Your time is important to the success of your plan as well. Even the most detailed routine is doomed for failure if there is no time to practice it. Always consult your schedule when mapping your routine to work exercises into your day.

Start your routine…

Once you have your routine mapped and the necessary equipment, you’re ready to begin! Don’t rush into things right as you begin. It is important to start slow and steady when beginning a new exercise routine. This will allow you to see how your body takes to physical activity. 

Beginning slowly will give you the freedom to make adjustments. Do not be ashamed to dial things back if you are feeling overexerted, but also feel free to go a bit harder if you do not feel the routine has pushed you enough. 

While exercise is a great way to get in shape, it can also cause injury if you push yourself too hard. Listening to your body can reduce the risk of injury. It is the best way to ensure regular exercise remains a safe and beneficial experience.

Also, remember exercise does not need to be all at once. Feel free to sprinkle pieces from your routine into your free time throughout the day.  Any exercise is better than none at all. The average adult should be doing about 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of intensity for general wellness per week. Those looking to make and maintain weight loss should aim for 300 minutes per week.

And stick with it!

You’ve started your routine; now begins the hard part. To keep committed to your exercise routine, it’s important to keep engaged and stay focused on the goal. 

Finding a fitness buddy to join you on your fitness journey is one way to stay on track. This can be a family member, a friend or anyone else that can encourage you to keep moving forward. Having someone join you can make exercises more enjoyable and can provide you with more motivation than a solo workout.

Also, make your routine regular. While spreading workouts out is acceptable when needed, selecting a specific, consistent time for them can be a great help if you struggle with committing. Creating a special “exercise time” will be useful in making regular exercise a habit.

While you’ve made your routine, leave room open for experimentation. Try to keep in mind any activities you enjoy that might not be part of your everyday exercise and substitute them when you need a recharge. Hiking, swimming, surfing and more are great ways to add a little extra excitement and variety when your normal routine starts to feel stale.

And while exercise is a great way to get healthy, regular wellness visits to your health care provider are essential for health upkeep and illness prevention. Fetter Health Care Network is committed to the wellbeing of all our patients throughout the Lowcountry and South Carolina. Contact us today to schedule your next Fetter wellness visit.