Everyone understands the value of exercise, but if you don’t know how to start an exercise program, it can be hard to begin. Here are some of the most common excuses for not starting an exercise program:
- “I don’t have time.”
Most people are busy. We make time for what’s important to us. Everyone gets 24 hours each day, so if your health is important to you, set aside a few 30-minute slots each week for basic exercise. Put it in your calendar just like any important appointment.
- “I’m too tired.”
Once you start exercising regularly, you’ll find that you have more energy. Stress and poor sleep can also cause fatigue and brain fog. Exercise helps burn off stress, and will help you sleep better.
- “I’m too out of shape.”
Telling yourself that you’re too out of shape to exercise is like saying that your house is too messy to clean it. If you’re out of shape, starting an exercise training program can definitely be challenging or intimidating. But you need it! Exercise burns fat, lowers your blood pressure and cholesterol, increases strength and endurance, tones your muscles, and gives you energy. Remember that you are far from the first person who is new to exercise – everyone had a first day at one point.
- “I’m too old.”
Exercise has benefits, regardless of your age. People who exercise regularly usually live longer. Even mild exercise will pay off. You don’t have to be young to get healthy! Exercise for baby boomers is the fastest-growing segment of the fitness industry. Read about some of the benefits of exercise for seniors.
- “I’ve never been athletic.”
A basic workout makes use of simple movements that do not require athletic prowess. Doing simple exercises – basic body movements like squats, pulls, planks, and overhead presses –will yield big benefits when done consistently.
How to start an exercise program
Okay, so now that you’ve agreed to set aside your excuses, it’s time to start on an exercise program that will truly work for you. To ensure that you stick to your promises to yourself, take note of these tips for how to start an exercise program:
- Keep it simple. All the charts and complicated routines you’ve found on the internet will just overwhelm you. The important thing is for you to start with both an AMOUNT of exercise and a LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY that is appropriate for you. A personal trainer is a good resource to put together a personalized exercise program for you.
- Learn from your mistakes. Look back to your past attempts at working out regularly. Why didn’t you stick with it? Let your mistakes guide you to what you can do differently this time around. Determine how to avoid the same mistakes and excuses.
- Set clear and attainable goals. Start out with the ones you’re certain to be able to accomplish. Taking a walk after dinner four nights a week. Going to the gym before or after work twice a week. Starting a yoga or group exercise class on Saturday mornings. Anything you can do with certainty will be a good start. After that becomes a habit, you can challenging yourself with more difficult workouts or a more aggressive exercise schedule.
- Ask other people to help hold you accountable. Self-discipline and willpower can fail you in a weak moment, and kill your momentum. Having friends and family members supporting and encouraging you will help you stick to your program and not backslide. Getting a weekly appointment with a personal trainer is a guaranteed way to keep your exercise schedule on track.
- One step at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you won’t be either. You didn’t just gain all that unwanted fat in a short time. Perhaps the increments in your weight were so tiny, you hardly noticed that you’d gained weight. Similarly, you won’t get in shape in a week, no matter what the infomercials promise you. Consistency is the key! There are no miracles or secrets.
- Note down your accomplishments. Note your little victories. Make a diary of your weight loss or muscle-building adventure. Pat yourself on the back for what you’ve achieved. Knowing that you’re making progress is one sure way to be even more motivated. Post your successes on your social media pages. Enjoy buying some new smaller clothes that fit you!
- Get an exercise buddy. Some people are more motivated when they’re with an exercise buddy while some would rather be alone. Find a friend or family member who wants to get in shape too. You’ll encourage each other, or give each other a kick in the pants when you’re slacking off. You could make it a family activity where everyone can get together to stay fit. Playing games like softball or volleyball are examples of ways to get the family involved as well.
- Have fun. Exercise doesn’t have to be torture! Choose activities that you find interesting and that you enjoy doing. This way you’re more likely to stick to your program and ultimately reach your goals. There are hundreds of ways to exercise – find one or two that you like!