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Exercise for Beginners: 5 Simple Steps to Get Started

Follow these 5 simple steps to get you started on your fitness journey.


Photo by: @lindsayrowanphotography

Getting started is, in my opinion, one of the hardest aspects of fitness.


Growing up as a competitive gymnast, I was regularly active and didn’t really need to think about moving my body because I was already doing it. It wasn’t on the top of my 13 year old to do list - if I even had one.


But as I got older, no longer training as a gymnast, more tired, working full time, past my University nap taking years, it became more evident how important it was for me to make it a priority.


But what happens when you work an 8 hour day, go home and eat dinner, and think about heading to the gym or starting a workout. I continuously decided to stay home and be sedentary; de-compressing from my day at work.


When I started to realize that my health was declining, I knew I had to start a fitness routine. It was HARD! But one of the reasons I started was because I really wanted it.


With thoughts of hereditary disease in my future, I knew I had to make a change.

Lucky for me, I already knew how to get started, my way around fitness equipment, with a great and supportive group of co-workers.


Read below for the 5 most important things to help get you started.


Finding an activity that is fun is important because if the thought of something like running makes you nauseous, you’re definitely not going to want to do it.

Start with Why


Start by asking yourself why you want to become more active and start a regular fitness routine. By even thinking about it and devising a plan, or not devising a plan, you’ve already taken the first step.


Jot some notes down on paper, in your smartphone, or fill that imaginary bubble above your head. Here are a few examples of what helped motivate me:

  • To feel more confident.

  • To improve my overall health: decrease my blood pressure and decrease the chance of developing hereditary diseases.

  • To improve the ease of my daily activities like shaking a jug of milk or bending over to tie my laces.

Once you know why you want to become more active, use those reasons to motivate you when you are feeling less inclined to exercise.


Start Small


If exercising 4 times a week makes you feel like forgetting about the entire thing altogether or hiding in a corner, that’s okay, maybe that’s too much to start.


Start with once a week, or start with simple daily tasks such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Start with splitting it up into intervals and spread it out either over one day, two days, or the week.

Just like doing a household chore here and there when you have 10 minutes to spare, you can have a tidy house over a few days instead of overwhelming yourself with 1-2 hours of housework a day, you can spread it out. Do what works for you.


Staying active isn’t just about getting to the gym, there are other ways you can be more proactive in moving your body.


Take the stairs instead of the elevator, open a door yourself instead of walking through automatic doors, or parking further away from your destination so you get a few extra steps in.


Make it FUN


So what exactly are you going to do? Do you like going for a walk, walking your dog, practicing yoga, playing catch? Anything that gets you up and moving and is fun is a simpler way to get in regular physical activity.


Finding an activity that is fun is important because if the thought of something like running makes you nauseous, you’re definitely not going to want to do it.


I personally love playing volleyball recreationally, I’m terrible at it, but it’s something I enjoy and that is a huge motivational factor.

Try attending a group exercise class. It’s nice to get in your exercise without having to think about what you’re going to do.


Think about an exercise class like going out to a restaurant for a meal.


The only decision you need to make is the meal you’re going to have. With group classes, you just have to decide on your genre of exercise.


One of the best ways to get through a workout is to do it with a friend or family member.


Having someone with you is a motivator to get to your exercise routine as well as sharing the experience with them.


Choose a Variety of Exercises


Variety is super important to maintain motivation because doing the same thing over and over gets boring. Imagine doing a bicep curl for every workout? Yikes!


If you really enjoy an exercise or style of exercises, repeating it or doing it regularly is okay, as long as you continue to introduce variety into your routine.


You can also design a routine that already has variety built in. For example, if you really enjoy pilates, I encourage you to continue to do it but what you can do, is try other classes.


Talk to your instructor and see if there are other classes with other varieties of pilates exercises or difficulty levels that you can try. This will create variety in an exercise environment that you already enjoy.


Variety is not just changing from weight training to swimming, but also changing the difficulty, intensity, and movement patterns.


We also need to incorporate variety in our exercise routines because it challenges the body in different ways.


For example, let’s go back to that bicep curl. If you’re doing the same movement consistently in your routine, even if you increase the intensity by weight or speed, eventually the muscle won’t really get any stronger, because you are not challenging it. It’s important to challenge muscles in different directions of movement and with different mediums (ie. free weights, body weight, resistance bands).


That is why it’s important to incorporate variety in multiple ways to challenge that bicep muscle. You may not think it would, but Yoga can actually challenge your bicep muscles, thus adding variety.


Decide on a Location


There are many options for you to get started. Purchasing a gym membership, a class pass, or creating an at home gym are just a few. It will depend on multiple factors such as a budget and location.


When shopping around for a gym membership, these are some things you may want to consider:


  • Cost - Based on your own budget. As long as equipment is maintained properly at the facility.

  • Location - A convenient location for you. Keep in mind your parking options.

  • Equipment - You may want to consider the variety of equipment available at a facility. From my experience, memberships tend to be more expensive at facilities that have a wider variety of equipment.

  • Child Minding - if you need someone to watch your kiddos, this is an important factor.

  • Facilities - change rooms, washroom and shower facilities, towel service. If any of those will help you choose, keep them in mind.


Home exercising is convenient, quiet, and you don’t need to wait for others to finish with equipment. It’s also easier than you think to find different ways to incorporate your home and furniture into your workout.


Remember before you start any new exercise program, it's important to consult your healthcare practitioner first.


Try these 5 ways to get you started on your fitness journey and comment below if you’d like to share your own experiences and ‘What Moves You?’.


Carly :)

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