You’ve decided to make regular physical activity part of your routine? Great! Getting active doesn’t have to mean working out for hours or buying a costly gym membership. These tips will help you get started with exercising.
Eight steps to an active lifestyle
- Start with 10 minutes of activity at a time, then try to build up to 5 hours (150 minutes) per week.
- Add strength-building activities at least 2 days per week.
- Make it part of your routine: Swim laps before work, join a Zumba class or go for a run at a set time.
- Make it fun by making it social: Do recreational activities in a group.
- Doing errands? Walk, bike, or run instead of taking the car.
- While exercising, maintain your heart rate at 50 to 60% of your maximum heart rate. In this zone, 85% of calories burned is from fat.
- Always start with a warm-up and end with a cool-down and stretching for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Stay hydrated: To stay energized, keep a bottle of water handy and drink from it regularly.
Don’t overdo it when you first start getting active. Talk to your health care provider, start slowly and work up gradually. You can easily work physical activity into your daily life – taking a walk, doing an exercise video at home, or just dancing to your favourite music. Every step counts! Focus on 3 key activities: endurance (cardio) activities, flexibility exercises, and strength training. Do a variety from each group, and you’ll soon be in good shape.
Tips for starting a new workout routine:
- Buy a pair of walking shoes, then find out if your nearby mall has a regular walking program. There may also be walking paths and walking groups in your community.
- Call the YMCA or Parks and Recreation Department in your community to learn about their fitness classes, swimming facilities, or gym.
- Get advice from a physical activity expert – or even a fit friend!
Do what you enjoy!
Whatever you do – walk, swim, hike, skate, bike – choose activities you enjoy, so you can easily make staying active part of your daily routine. No matter what you choose:
- Keep it simple: If the gym isn’t your style, walking is one of the simplest activities to get started. Try a lunchtime stroll or a brisk walk after dinner. Or how about gardening, a round of golf or tennis, yoga, or if you’re at home, housework or walking up and down stairs?
- Make it a family affair: Make up a list of activities that everyone can enjoy once or twice a week. Softball, biking, Frisbee – it beats watching TV!
- Get sporty: Participating in sports, such as baseball, tennis, soccer, cycling, swimming, or running, can quickly increase your fitness level.
Pump it up
Strength-building activities help your muscles and bones stay strong. Choose resistance activities like push-ups and sit-ups, lifting weights, climbing stairs, running, walking and yoga. No matter what strengthening exercises you choose:
- Start with light weights: The tendency to use too much weight increases your risk of injury.
- Keep movements slow and controlled: Count to 2 when lifting, and 3 when lowering the weight.
- Change your routine every 6 to 8 weeks to continuously challenge your body.
- Avoid training the same muscle group 2 days in a row. If you ever feel weak or sore, stop.
Keep at it
Make physical activity a normal part of each day. Aim for moderate-intensity aerobic activity – something that makes your heart beat faster and quickens your breathing. Keep at it, and within a few months, you’ll feel stronger, have more energy, sleep better, and reduce your stress.
For more on this topic, visit:
- Tips to get active (Public Health Agency of Canada)
- Tips to get physically active
- Physical activity tips for adults
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The information and advice in this article are provided for informational purposes only. The Personal shall not be liable for any damages arising from any reliance upon such information or advice. The Personal recommends using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, expert advice.