When you’ve decided to embark on a new weight loss or body fitness journey, you tend to want to start right away. However, it’s a good idea to perform a little prep work before you pull on those sneakers and head out to the gym.
Here are 4 tips to help prepare for starting a regular exercise routine.
Get a Sports Physical Before Starting Exercising
Depending on how long a period of inactivity that you’ve had, it’s a good idea to have a sports physical exam. What this helps to do is run through some sensible health checks to verify that you don’t have a physiological reason why you should not begin an exercise program. Getting checked provides some peace of mind, especially if you’re a bit older than you were when you exercised previously, and you wonder about your health. Better to be safe than sorry, we always say!
Stretch & Start Slowly to Avoid Injury
When you’re aiming at losing weight or getting fitter, the most important thing is to avoid an early injury. Besides the obvious pain and discomfort that entails, it will prevent you from many types of physical activities (but likely not all) and you won’t be motivated to exercise when you’re in discomfort anyway.
Just like the doctor’s remit to “first, do no harm,” the same applies to your body when planning to take up exercise. Don’t go backwards before you go forwards by injuring yourself. The best way to avoid an issue is to stretch out well before each exercise session and exercise more slowly. We tend to let our emotions or egos drive us when we see someone walking or jogging faster than us. Remind yourself that you’re pacing yourself and building up your stamina. It’s not a race.
Set Appropriate Goals for Exercise & Weight Loss
Along with exercising slower initially to let your muscles, tendons, and joints adjust to the increased movement. Setting realistic weight loss goals with a timeline is helpful too. Slow and steady weight loss – if that’s your goal – is better than rapid weight loss because it gives your skin more time to adjust to a changing body shape.
You’ll look much better once the weight has come off if you lost it slower. With rapid weight loss, it often leads to remaining skin that didn’t adjust which will be an unpleasant reminder of the weight you had before. Slower weight loss makes this far less likely to happen because you give your body extra time and the skin’s natural elasticity helps things along too.
Mentally Prepare for Slow Initial Weight Loss
Mentally prepare to lose perhaps 1-2 pounds per week. You may get a spike in the first week due to water loss. However, you might not see much movement week to week either, especially if the eating plan isn’t on-point yet. Anticipate it and push through any doubts while this is happening.
Once you’ve done the appropriate prep work and are ready to get moving, don’t let anything stop you other than injury. You need to set an immovable goal and push through until you’ve achieved what you set out to do.