How to Begin Working Out

Three Parts:Finding the Right Frame of MindCreating Your Individual ProgramAdopting New Habits

Starting a new exercise routine can be an intimidating and difficult experience. You not only have to start a new routine, which is hard on its own, but one that causes you physical discomfort. With some mental preparation and a realistic assessment of your physical fitness, you can craft a workout routine that is manageable and enjoyable.

Part 1
Finding the Right Frame of Mind

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    Write down your long term goals. Before you begin exercising it is important to establish objectives that you would like to achieve. These can be concrete goals like losing a specific amount of weight or being able to run a certain distance. They can also be more abstract goals like feeling better about yourself or being healthy generally. Setting goals early will help you stay motivated once you begin exercising.[1]
    • Make sure that this is a realistic goal and one that you can achieve. Creating unrealistic goals is an easy way to sabotage your ability to stick with an exercise program.
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    List your motivations. A good way to get started working out is to list your motivations for improving your health. You may want to lose some weight or get healthy for your kids. Write down these motivations and look at them whenever you feel discouraged.
    • If you are overweight, write down how much weight you want to lose and your reasons for losing it. You might emphasize your improving your overall health or limiting something specific like joint pain.
    • You might consider writing down things about your family, like how you want to be able to meet your grandkids or be more active with your children.
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    Create short term goals. Before you begin working out, create a series of short term benchmarks to clear along the way. These can be things like joining a gym or buying exercise equipment. You can also set small goals like exercising three times a week or running for one mile. Keep it small and simple. Meeting these goals will get you excited to start working out.
    • Create a start date and list this benchmarks on a calendar.
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    Take it easy on yourself. Before you begin your new exercise program, it is important to understand that you will have setbacks along the way. There are going to be days when you are unable to exercise or meet your goals. This does not mean that you are a failure. You are just human. Understand that it is going to be hard and do not beat yourself up when you stumble. [2]
    • Setting realistic goals is a good way to ensure that you do not get to down on yourself.
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    Quit procrastinating. The hardest part or beginning any new endeavor is getting started. We tend to find things to distract us from certain tasks that we find unpleasant or intimidating for some reason. However, if you simply start the activity, you quickly get invested in it. This tends to apply to exercise as well. [3]
    • A trick to get started is create a small goal that you can achieve in a short amount of time. For example, tell yourself that you will only go for a quick 15 minute walk. This is a small manageable goal, and it might lead to you walking for a longer period of time.

Part 2
Creating Your Individual Program

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    Do a self-assessment. Before you begin working out, you will want to get an idea of your current fitness level. Depending on the type of exercise you are considering, there are different assessments that you can do. These will help you build benchmarks so that you can track your development. [4]
    • Check your heart rate after a one-mile walk.
    • See how many pushups you can do.
    • See how long it takes you to walk a mile.
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    Visit your doctor. Before you begin working out, consult with your doctor. Your physician may have suggestions for areas that you should focus on. For example, if you have back pain they may suggest exercises that strengthen your core.
    • Ask your doctor what exercises you should be doing and how intense your workouts should be.
    • Inquire about the pros and cons of different equipment.
    • Your doctor may direct you to a Physical Therapist or a Nutritionist for further help.
    • Your doctor may also tell you to avoid certain exercises because of a medical condition.
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    Consult a trainer. Find a trainer and talk with them about your long and short term health goals. A trainer will help you determine how realistic or unrealistic your objectives are and what types of activities will best meet your goals.
    • Ask your trainer about specific exercise routines that will help you reach your short term and long term goals.
    • Let your trainer know about any concerns raised by your doctor. It is important they know so that they can help you create a workout program that is healthy and safe.
    • Check your local gym of fitness center for trainers.
    • Trainers can also be found online.
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    Join a gym. Become a member of a gym or a fitness center and try out different activities. The easiest way to start and keep returning to an exercise is to find something that you really enjoy doing. This will put you in the right mindset and help create a positive feedback loop. If you like playing basketball, find a local pickup league to join or go shoot hoops. Find something that you like and do it.[5]
    • If you like swimming, go to your local pool and swim laps.
    • Weightlifting is a great way to strengthen your muscles and improve their health.
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    Try new activities. Look for new and exciting ways to stay fit. Go for hikes or climb some rocks if you like to be outdoors. If you like soccer, try another team sport like volleyball or basketball. Once you find a few things that you enjoy, try varying your workout to help keep you from getting burned out. .[6]
    • Cross-training is a great way to keep you from getting bored with your routine. It helps you avoid injuring or overusing certain muscles or joints. Throughout the week try at least two different activities that emphasize different parts of your body.[7]
    • For example, try running, swimming and strength training to get aerobic, endurance and strength training.

Part 3
Adopting New Habits

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    Schedule your workouts. If you are beginning a new exercise regimen it is important to being with small increments and build up gradually. This will prevent you from getting injured or burning out too quickly. Find a pace that works for you and gradually work up from there.[8]
    • Try not to exercise every day at first. Instead, go for every other day or only a few times a week and build up from there.
    • Work your way up to longer exercise sessions. Start with 10 to 15 minute workouts and then gradually increase to 30 to 60 minutes.
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    Find someone to help you exercise. Having someone to support you, and hold you accountable on days when you do not want to exercise, is a great way to begin and maintain a workout routine. Find a friend or family member who is at the same level as you and willing to work towards the same goals.[9]
    • If you do not have a friend or family member available, join a gym or some other type of community fitness center.[10]
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    Reward yourself. The best way to maintain a good exercise routine is to develop a positive feedback loop in which you are rewarded for your exercise. Give yourself a treat of something that you enjoy after you have completed your workout. This will help you create a positive association in your mind and help you look forward to exercising. [11]
    • If your goal is to lose weight, avoid rewarding yourself with tasty treat. Instead indulge in playing some video games, watching TV, or some other stimulating activity.
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    Measure your progress. Use a diary or a fitness tracking devise to keep a record of your exercise routine. Track your routine, paying attention to your incremental improvements. This will help you stay motivated and engaged with your activities. [12]
    • You can also retake your personal fitness assessments six weeks after you begin to see where you are at.
    • Fitbit, Nike, Garmin, and other companies have great products that track your exercise and help you improve your health.
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    Stay positive. It is easy to get demoralized when exercising, particularly if you have set ambitious long-term goals. If you feel the weight of that long-term objective wearing you down, try to concentrate what you can do in the here and now. Doing something now will make you feel better, plus, it is still a positive step in the right direction.[13]
    • For example, you might not be losing weight as quickly as you would like, but you can still go for a walk right now.

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Categories: Motivation to Exercise