Was your new year’s resolution to hit the gym more often? I try not to make any resolutions (because I never keep them), but I decided that 2015 would be the year I started exercising. Looks like I’m not alone either – staying fit and healthy is the most common resolution, with 37% of us choosing to do this in 2015. Now that we’re almost halfway through the year, I thought I’d look back at a few things I’ve learned along the way and what I wish I knew before I started.
You don’t need to go to the gym. I put exercising off for so long because I hated the thought of joining a gym. Too many people, the machines looked complicated, and it’s pretty expensive. I found activities I could do at home, and started walking and cycling to work. I walk about 5 miles daily and can easily fit in 10,000 steps every day! I might join a gym in the future, but I’m pretty happy with walking, cycling, and yoga for the time being.
Always stretch before and after a workout. When I started walking to work, I couldn’t figure out why my shins and knees were sore after the first few days. Was I really that unfit? Maybe I wasn’t walking properly? Surely not! I didn’t think walking was that intense, but after doing a few simple stretches before leaving the house, my sore knees and shins were a thing of the past. Always do your stretches – never jump into an activity without doing them.
Ask for help. There’s only so much we can learn from guides and videos on the internet. Most activities are pretty easy to pick up, but for something like yoga or weight training, you should seek advice or training from a professional. You don’t want to end up seriously hurting yourself.
Remember to take a break. You don’t need to hit the gym for 3 hours a day, 7 days a week! You’re new to exercise so your body will need a little longer to recover. You might be keen to workout every day because you want to see results quickly, but if you don’t let your body recover, you’ll end up doing more harm than good.
Stay hydrated. The best way to do this is sip water throughout the day – there’s nothing worse than drinking before a workout and feeling water sloshing around in your stomach. I prefer to stick to plain old water instead of sports drinks because I’m not sweating like crazy and sports drinks are often full of sugar and calories. Go for H2O!
Remember, there’s lots of advice and resources out there on how to stay active and healthy, so don’t be afraid to branch out and find what works for you. It’s best to keep it simple, so by following these five tips, you should be able to keep up the good progress you’ve already made so far.