STARTING AN EXERCISE PROGRAM
Top three tips for beginners to start an exercise program
You want to get fitter and stronger, but how do you take the first step. The typical approach is all or nothing which never lasts. Sometimes this leads to injury so unfortunately you do not achieve the results you desire.
What are the first steps in starting a new exercise program?
Here are my top three tips to get your exercise program started correctly:
1. START WITH STRENGTH EXERCISES:
No matter what your goal is the best way to commence is with exercises, such as running, cycling or walking that will make your body stronger. Lack of strength in the major postural muscles is a main limiting factor to better performance.
The five important muscle areas are:
i). The core stabilisers, are deep stabilising muscles that support the spine and pelvis. The main deep stabilising muscles are the transversus abdominis, pelvic floor, deep multifidus and diaphragm.
ii). The gluteal muscles, which are a group of three muscles that make up the buttocks.
iii). The quadriceps, which are the muscle group that includes the four muscles on the front of the thigh.
iv). The shoulder blade stabilisers, or scapular stabilisers help your shoulder’s rotator cuff muscles to stabilise the shoulder joint while in motion.
v). The calf muscles, are a muscle group consisting of two muscles at the back of the leg and lower back leg.
These are very important muscle groups to start to strengthen. Weakness in these areas can lead to injury if not strengthened.
This should be the focus of the first six to seven weeks of your exercise program. Your plan should consist of five strengthening exercises per session focussing on the main postural muscles listed above.
2. ADD CARDIO EXERCISE GRADUALLY:
Once you have developed basic strength start your cardio gradually. Work at moderate intensity and build up to a higher intensity as your body adapts. At the start of your new exercise program you may be able to jog for only ten minutes. That’s okay, as you get used to the activity you will be able to do more with less effort. Be patient, it will happen. Continue your strength training 2-3 times a week to maintain strength and continue to achieve the most from your cardio training.
3. REMEMBER TO ADD REST:
Rest is one of the most important parts of your program. Your muscles grow and adapt when you rest, not when you exercise. Lack of rest means that you slow your progress down and are more likely to sustain an injury. But, active rest is okay. You can walk
on your rest days but do not exercise at a high-intensity training level.
My best recommendation is to carry out strengthening exercises 2-3 times a week, cardio training twice a week with resting on the remaining couple of days for a great outcome. You’ll be surprised how fast the time flies. This routine will become a regular part of your life.
The great news is that when you put the work in the results will come and you’ll be surprised how fast you will achieve your results and how much easier everyday life can be.
Michael Dermansky is a Senior Physiotherapist and Managing Director of MD Health Pilates, with 17 years’ experience of treating clients from all walks of life, from six-year-old children all the way to the age of 92. He can be contacted through his website.
WHEN YOU PUT THE WORK IN THE RESULTS WILL COME.