Ah, exercise. In addition to building muscles, aiding weight loss, fending off diabetes and heart disease, it releases feel-good endorphins, lowers stress, helps produce antibodies and enhances energy.
Still, there are lots of reasons why people don't exercise regularly. As a full time personal trainer in Stockport and Manchester I hear plenty of barriers to exercise (commonly known as excuses): they don't have time, they don't know how to begin, or, worse, they think they're too out of shape to hit the gym. The trick is finding the right type of exercise for you - one that you can easily fit into your schedule and that is something you actually enjoy. To help you make a start and get active, here are a few tips:
Don't Overdo It
It sounds cliche, but starting with the basics - walking before running, covering short distances before long distances - is key for exercise newbies or more experienced exercisers who are trying to pick up some new moves.
Starting simple and perfecting form will also inspire confidence, avoid injury and allow an inexperienced exerciser to build one step at a time.
Find Something Fun
Start by choosing an activity that you like to do (i.e. running, biking, rowing, swimming or dancing), then find a trainer who is experienced in that type of activity or group that is well established .
Use the Buddy System
If you're starting a fitness program for the first time, a good way to break in is by starting with a class or finding someone to start with you. For some people, training with a friend or within a group can be a great motivator.
Even if you don't know anyone in a group fitness class on the first day, in time you're bound to make friends. Knowing they will be at sessions and expecting you to be there is a great incentive to get to class.
While staying within bounds of what your body is capable of, working up to something and doing workouts that increase in difficulty is a great way to stay motivated.
People definitely seem to respond well to having the feeling of achieving something, so pick up the pace, add extra reps or try something tougher if rewards are what you crave.
Ready to get started? Create a goal-oriented workout that pushes the intensity minute-by-minute. You can start by walking for one minute, then running for one minute, then increasing to two minutes each, then three, and so on. You can do this with other exercises. try doing one sit-up and one squat and keep building on it.
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