It’s a new year. Vacation is over. It’s back to the grind. As the holiday decorations move to the “Clearance” sections in retail stores, and are replaced with free weights, Slim Fast shakes, protein bars and Fit Bits.
Everyone starts the year off with: “This the year that I’m finally going to get into shape. This is the year that I’m going to lose 10 / 20 / 30 pounds.”
Some achieve it. Some don’t.
We all know that we need to exercise more, however, it is also one of the hardest habits to fall into and maintain.
Why Is Exercising So Hard?
One of the main reasons why exercising is considered challenging is because many often feel overwhelmed or intimidated by joining a local gym or purchasing expensive exercise equipment.
Many feel pressured to join a gym, stick to a rigid exercise routine, and hire a personal trainer, only to discover that this atmosphere isn’t right for them. Others find going to the gym boring or dislike feeling self-conscious when taking a class or being around other avid gym-goers.
However, engaging in regular exercise doesn’t have to be a struggle. Of course, everyone has different body types and shapes, flexibility and athletic ability, so if you are just starting out with exercising, it’s important to start out with small, manageable steps, such as doing light aerobic activity and stretching. This will help you find your strengths and weaknesses, so that you can focus on doing the activity that you not only enjoy but that also helps keep you physically fit.
Exercises for Beginners
Taking that first step to exercising is easier than you think. Read on to learn more about some exercises that are easy, enjoyable, and some of which can be done right in your own home.
- Stretch it Out. Don’t listen to what anyone says! Stretching is a form of exercise that shouldn’t be taken for granted, and should be the first thing you do before you exercise and the last thing you do before resuming your daily activities.
Stretching has proven to help increase flexibility, improve mobility, and even prevent muscle soreness and injury. Focus on stretching the hamstrings, arms, calves and neck. These are the muscle groups that are used most often during any physical activity and bear the most tension and stress. Set a good stretching routine of at least three times per week.
- Use a Stability Ball. If you are brand new to working out, then a stability ball should become your best friend. The stability ball is a great workout tool that helps improve balance and strengthens the core. One of the best things about using a stability ball is that it can be used in various exercises.
For example, you can use a stability ball to help you with basic calisthenics, such as squats, sit-ups, leg extensions and ball lifts. If you are new to using a stability ball, consider bracing the ball with pillows until you get used to it.
- Walk This Way. Walking is a great aerobic activity and that is also enjoyed by many. Not only is walking a light cardiovascular workout, it has also proven to help reduce stress and tension.
Try going for a walk to start your day, during your lunch break or wind down the day with an afternoon or evening stroll (when the weather is nice, of course). The best part of walking is that you can go anywhere and at your own pace.
- Try Yoga. Yoga is a type of exercise that everyone should try at least once. Yoga is a form of exercise that is low in intensity but that focuses on the power of healing the mind and body through various poses and stretches.
Although Yoga doesn’t burn a ton of calories, engaging in regularyoga stretches and poses has many fitness benefits, such as improving strength, aerobic and physical abilities, and regular bodily functions.
The best part is that Yoga is safe for all ages – children through seniors.
- Hike it Up. Hiking is another great form of exercise that is not only good for you but that is also an enjoyable outdoor activity. However, hiking is a slightly more intense workout than walking as it can often involve climbing hills and walking over rough terrain; therefore, it is important to consider any existing injuries as well as physical limitations before going for a hike.
Depending on your abilities, try hiking a familiar, local trail or somewhere new.Hiking is a great way to enjoy the outdoor environment and pleasant weather while also burning calories. And remember, safety first!
Finding the Right “Fit”
All in all, exercise doesn’t have to be boring or difficult, and it doesn’t have to mean doing a sets of bench presses, competing with other avid gym-goers. One of the best parts about exercise is finding the right activity that is not only a good fit for your age group and physical abilities, but that is also something you enjoy.