Getting started is often the hardest part of starting an exercise plan.
- Find an activity you like (and are good at) – No rule says exercise has to be a drudge! If you do something you enjoy, it increases your chance that you’ll stick with it. And, chances are that if you’re good at something, you’ll enjoy it more.
- Set SMART goals
- Specific – Instead of saying, “I want to lose weight,” pick a particular measurement. Say, “I want to lose 20 pounds.” If your goal is to get a better aerobic workout, say, “I want to be able to run/bike for X minutes and cover Y distance.
- Measurable – Setting specific goals automatically gives you numbers to measure and track. The numbers help you see your progress.
- Achievable – Lofty goals are inspiring, but nothing is more defeating than setting a goal that can’t be reached. Know yourself, talk to your doctor, and understand the limits of the human body.
- Reasonable – How do your exercise goals fit into your broader life picture? How would your spouse or child feel about you spending all your spare time working out or training? What about cost? What’s an appropriate amount to spend each month on club fees or sports equipment?
- Time-bound – Give your goals a time frame.
- Set large and small goals – Whatever your large goals are, set small goals and milestones to keep you motivated along the way. For example, large goals may be to reach a specific healthier weight or to run a 5k. Smaller goals might include losing your first five pounds or walking one of the 3.1 miles.
- Start where you are – Just start moving. If that means a short walk down the block or some bodyweight exercises by your desk, that’s an excellent start. Give yourself permission to be a beginner. You’ll feel better about your workouts and possibly avoid injury from trying to do too much at once.
- Find your tribe – Find the people who make you feel happy and encouraged while you work out. Do you like team sports? Group fitness classes? Are you a serious athlete, or do you like a casual atmosphere? No matter your preference, opportunities abound. There are even live workout classes you can take with a group online, and can do from your own home!
The Nerdist has found some apps that are free for a limited time and can help you exercise correctly without going to a gym.
- Learn How – Learning how to move correctly while exercising will keep you safer from injuries. Plus, proper form will help you maximize your workout. Hit up an instructor, coach, or personal trainer for a training session.
- Plan for schedule and habit changes – Aside from the workout itself, will you need to factor in drive time or shower time? Will you need to get up earlier? Will you want to eat healthier or drink more water? Also, expect plan adjustments, especially when you first start your new routine.
- Check with your doctor – If it has been a while since you were active, it may pay to check with your physician before you start a new exercise plan. This is especially important for children and older adults. Also, speak with your doctor if you have a chronic disease, high blood pressure, or take medications that may make you dizzy. (See more details about when you should talk to your doctor about exercise).