How to start exercising if you never have before

March 2020

Exercise can be intimidating, especially if you have little or no experience with regular physical activity. But with the right goals and a plan that allows you to ease into your new workout routine, anyone can make exercise a part of his or her life. Here are a few simple tips to help you find success with your workout program and avoid injuries risks due to an unsuitable routina.

Walk, Don’t Run

While regular jogging can be a healthy habit, many people assume that running is the only way to “get in shape.” But walking is an equally healthy exercise behavior—and in many ways may even be better for you than a vigorous run. Especially if you’re overweight or obese, running may be hard on your legs and joints. For these reasons, adding one or two 30-minute walks to your week may be one of the best, easiest ways to launch a new exercise regimen.

Start Slow

Many people adopt an intense “all or nothing” approach when it comes to exercise. But if you’ve gone years (or a lifetime) without incorporating workouts into your weekly routine, it’s often better to start slow. Adopting very modest exercise targets—say, one gym visit or outdoor hike each week—will improve the chances you’ll stick with exercise in the long-term.

Focus On Health, Not Appearance

It’s common to think of exercise as something that improves your physical appearance by helping you lose weight. But even if you don’t slim down, physical activity is still great for you. Studies have found overweight and obese people who eat right and exercise are at no greater risk of death than slimmer, more athletic-looking individuals. When it comes to working out, focusing on the health benefits of exercise and how great it feels to move your body are great ways to stay motivated.

Pick Up Some Weights

While aerobic exercises like walking or swimming are excellent for you, research shows strength training—stuff like lifting weights, or body-weight exercises like push-ups—offer some big benefits. From heart health to body composition, strength training is a great way to work out.

Do What You Like

If you’re not accustomed to physical activity, staying with a new workout program can be very difficult. One thing that helps: Choosing exercises you actually enjoy. Whether you like hiking, cycling, yoga, or mountain climbing, do what’s fun rather than one you’ve heard is best for your health or figure. You’ll be more likely to stay with it.

A little exercise is better than no exercise. By taking things slow and incorporating fun exercises into your weekly routine, you can make physical activity a part of your life.


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