|Photo: Max Lilja|
Get started with your training!
My first guest post here at my sister's excellent blog is in short about some tips to get you started with some form of exercise, as well as some pitfalls to watch out for. More in-depth posts about, for example, training schedules, specific exercises and the effects of exercise is my ambition to discuss in later posts.
To begin exercising can easily be interpreted as a non-issue. "Isn't it just to start working out?" you might think. Actually, the answer is simple: Yes! But often it requires a little more strategy and planning than that, especially if you want to get continuity in training and over time reap all the benefits of its wonderful effects. Much like it often requires more tactic and preparation for, say, a football game than just saying "to win we will score more goals than the opponents".
Many people can probably even be a little frightened by the jungle that now exists in the exercise world with different diets and a plethora of ever new forms of exercise, one with a more "flashy" name than the other. Stay calm, exercise doesn't have to be that complicated.
To make exercising become a natural part of your probably already hectic everyday life it often requires time management and priorities. A good start is to decide to begin prioritizing your health and your body will thank you later, I promise. This doesn't have to take as much time as it may seem. Short and intense workouts can be just as effective as lengthy ones.
Something that can be good before you get started and to maintain the training may be to set goals. This doesn't have be a large specific goal like you before Christmas will lift 2.5 x body weight in deadlift. It may simply be to workout to feel good and reap all the positive benefits from exercise. Maybe you just want to walk around for a few hours in a good mood, high on endorphins triggered by a run a week, or you might want to loose some weight, improve your memory, prevent disease or improve your efficiency at work. The choice is yours. Only yours! Because this is about YOU, no one else. We are all different with different conditions, aspirations and priorities.
How should you get started? Do you feel at the moment that you have no time to exercise? Then maybe it's unreasonable to believe that you are suddenly going to workout 5-6 times a week. My advice is to start small and then, if possible, increase. Try to get some form of exercise routine 1-3 times a week initially, short workouts. Get these workouts into your schedule and in time it will become a habit. If you go out too hard there's a risk that you may do the reverse and gradually cut down on workouts.
Another pitfall if you go out too hard is that either you or your body gets tired quickly. To go from 0 sessions a week to 4, 5 or 6 sessions feels a bit doomed to fail and may be difficult to maintain over time. If you succeed, I'm however happy for you! The risk if you go out too hard is also that your body is not ready and you may get overloading problems. This leads to pain, limitations, less workouts and thus you're quickly back to square one.
To take an example from my own everyday life: as a gym goer several times a week, you often see a "boom" after New Year with new enthusiasts in the gym. The New Year's resolution to finally "get started" again. It's great that people start exercising. The sad thing is though that year after year I observe how more and more from this group (not all) after a few weeks begin to drop off. Some have already tired. Some I may instead see in the physiotherapy clinic because their bodies said no in the form of injuries. So start smart and sound and make the exercise into a routine gradually!
As I said a workout doesn't have to be 1-2 hours. If you don't have the time or inclination to visit a gym you can actually come a long way with strength training at home. 15-20 minutes your home, such as push-ups, squats, pelvic lifts and dips between chairs can actually become a good workout. Your only limit is creativity. Would you rather quickly and easily improve your fitness, short and intense interval workouts of 10-15 minutes a few times times a week can do wonders. You don't need to go out and run a half marathon! For some older people, exercise can also be as simple as a brisk walk, just move and increase your heart rate!
Last, but perhaps most important of all. Exercise should be something that is fun and makes you feel good. So try to find a form of exercise that suits you and that you find stimulating. If you hate cycling then maybe a spinning class 3-4 times a week is probably not your way to go. For sure, the best exercise is the one that actually takes place!
- Johannes Rosenqvist