A good fitness plan will help you kick start your medical weight loss program, but where do you begin? Is it time for new sneakers and sweat pants? Do you head out for a walk? Should you shell out cash for an expensive new gym membership?
Figuring out where to start is one of the most difficult aspects of any exercise routine. Once you get the ball rolling and understand what you need to do, all you need to do is put in the physical effort. But when you first decide to start working out more, it isn’t always clear in what direction that physical exertion is supposed to go.
Step 1: Learn the Lingo
Like anything else, the world of fitness has its own vocabulary. To learn your way around the gym or to get through some basic instructions online, it will help to know what these terms mean:
- Aerobic activity: Also known as cardiovascular activity, or just cardio. This is exercise that increases your heart rate and breathing. Examples include running, biking, swimming and walking.
- Weight training: Also known as weight lifting or strength training. This form of activity focuses on building muscles and often uses hand weights, machines or body movements like push-ups.
- Core: Your core is the center of your body. This includes your abdominal muscles and obliques—your stomach and hips. Strengthening your core helps to build strength throughout your whole body. Crunches are a good core workout.
- Repetitions and sets: One repetition is full motion of a particular exercise. A set is how many repetitions you do at once. Most fitness routines recommend three sets of a specified number of repetitions. For example, if you do three sets of 10, you’ll do 30 repetitions.
Step 2: Learn the Motions
Once you have a better grasp of what people are talking about, it is time to get to work. When you head to the gym you can do a mixture of cardio and strength training activities. Get on a treadmill right away and walk for 20 minutes while watching how other people use the strength training machines. Start out small. Don’t exert yourself too quickly or you might end up with an injury that sets you back for days.
Here are a few suggestions to help you learn your way around the gym:
- Get a buddy: Do you have a friend who is a fitness buff? Let them know you are just starting out and ask them to show you the ropes.
- Take a class: Aerobic classes are great for beginners, and many gyms offer them free with membership. In class your teacher will give you specific instructions and help you get a great workout.
Exercising every day can boost your energy levels, help you sleep better and enhance your weight loss efforts. These are benefits that you will likely start to feel once you get in the swing of a fitness routine, so don’t hold yourself back. If you still have questions, consider meeting with a personal trainer to develop a workout routine that works for you.