How to Get Started on an Exercise Routine

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Want to start exercising but are not sure how to get it going? These six steps will set you off in the right direction.

Step 1: Assess Health
Before starting any workout routine, run it past your doctor. It’s vitally important to consider any health issues or orthopedic injuries (old or new). There’s no point getting started if you’re just going to end up putting yourself at risk. Once you get the medical green light, start slow – you’re less likely to get hurt that way.

Step 2: Select Exercise

Folks tend to rack their brains to find the “best” type of exercise when the answer is really quite simple. Find something you like! Instead of forcing something that doesn’t interest you, partake in an activity you enjoy — you’re more likely to stick to it. Once you settle on your favorite forms of activity, change things up monthly or seasonally to keep your routine fun and exciting.

Step 3: Set Goals
When embarking on any new exercise endeavor, set realistic goals. Start modestly and slowly work your way into it. Instead of beating yourself up for not hitting the gym seven days a week, commit to two or three days and proudly increase your frequency.

Step 4: Gear Up
Don’t try to get away with using 10-year-old sneakers and gym socks with holes in them. Avoid injury and get the right gear. Invest in good footwear and some basic lightweight clothing. You don’t have to go for broke – shop around to find the best deals. Most of the major name brands like Nike, New Balance and Champion have great products at reasonable prices. Basic equipment like a pedometer or a heart-rate monitor may also come in handy to track progress.

Step 5: Evaluate Expert Advice

There are all kinds of fitness experts out there – all with varying levels of education. Whether you’re working with a trainer or following tips from a fitness-focused media source, beware of anything that promises unrealistic results in a short period of time. If you decide to work with a trainer, check their credentials (look for certifications from NSCA or ACSM). When working with a trainer or fitness instructor, put your safety first. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you aren’t comfortable doing something.

Step 6: Have Fun!
The physical benefits of exercise are extensive but so are the psychological ones. Exercise helps with focus, stress relief and even time management. So what are you waiting for? Listen to that little voice inside your head and get moving.