How to Start Exercising (When You Haven’t Done Any Since High School)

We need to exercise. We all know it. It’s good for your health, helps you to maintain (or reach) a healthy weight, keeps you happy, prevents many diseases and can help you to live a longer, healthier life. It’s an essential part of a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Exercise can improve your fitness levels, making even the simplest daily tasks easier, it can boost your confidence and help you to sleep. But, when you haven’t done more than run for the bus for a very long time, knowing how important exercise is, isn’t always enough to make you do it.

For many of us, high school gym was horrific. A bit like weekly torture, something that we couldn’t wait to escape from. So, when we did escape, we never looked back, and our gym shoes were confined to the bottom of the wardrobe. You may now find yourself in the position of wanting to exercise to improve and extend your life, you may even have had warnings from your doctor, but when it’s been so long, it’s hard to know where to start. Here’s a quick guide to help you.

Start Slowly

It’s important not to push yourself too fast. Trying to lift too much or run too far straight away will at best lead to disappointment, and a confidence knock. At worst, you’ll seriously hurt yourself and be out of action again. Start slowly. Listen to your body and know your limits. You need to push yourself and move forward, but it’s a marathon, not a sprint. If you are really out of your depth, it can be a good idea to speak to a personal advisor before you get started or start very slowly with brisk walks around the park.

Set Targets

Starting slowly is great. It’s exactly what you should do. But, without clear targets and goals, your body will quickly get used to your new activity levels, and they’ll become less effective or you’ll get bored and stop again. It’s a fantastic idea to have a big goal. You could, for example, book yourself on a 5k run in 6 months’ time, or enter a sponsored swim. Then, break this big goal down into smaller, weekly targets to help you to get there.

Get the Right Gear

The right active-wear should be supportive and moisture resistant. But, it should also be something that makes you feel confident and positive like these pieces from I Am Superhero. You’ll look and feel better. If you have any injuries or weaknesses, just make sure they are strapped up effectively.

Don’t Stop

That first step into exercise is the hardest. Once you’ve made it, every session should be easier. But, it’s important that you don’t stop. If something comes up and you can’t do your planned session, do it as soon as you can afterward, or the excuses will start.

Get Help

The help that you want depends on you. You might feel comfortable asking a friend to join you, joining a beginner’s class or going it alone with a podcast for support. Think about what would make you feel better but know that you’ve got plenty of options.

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