Starting an Exercise Plan: Answers to Common Questions

Your Weight Matters

Disclaimer: To develop an exercise plan that bet suits your needs, consult with your physician. It is important to talk with a healthcare provider for your health and safety. 

We all know exercise is good for us. It’s also essential to weight management, but figuring out the right exercise plan can be challenging.

  • How often should you exercise?
  • What types of activities should you do?
  • With what intensity should you exercise?

Know Your Goals for Your Exercise Plan

To get started with developing an exercise plan, ask yourself why you want to in the first place. If you don’t have a goal in mind, you won’t make exercise part of your routine.

For most people, the goal is weight-loss. But if your only focus is moving the number on the scale, you’re putting yourself in jeopardy of giving up. The scale doesn’t always respond the way you want it to or expect.

Challenge yourself to think of other goals beyond weight-loss. Maybe you want more energy or the improvement of health conditions. If you focus on your overall wellbeing, weight-loss will likely be a bi-product of your hard work.

How Do I Exercise?

The answer isn’t as complicated as you might think. Simply get started by doing an activity that moves your body and makes it stronger. Do it wherever and whenever you can.

To exercise efficiently, you don’t need a gym or any exercise equipment. The most important thing is that whatever you are doing is sustainable and enjoyable. If you are just beginning to exercise, start simple: For example:

  • Take the stairs whenever you can
  • Go on a walk during your lunch break
  • Do standing squats while cooking dinner

Over time, you may want to start doing more structured exercise like yoga, weight lifting or running. Progressing is great, but don’t feel like you have to rush. Doing something you aren’t ready for will only leave you overwhelmed and frustrated.

Where Can You Exercise?

Remember that you don’t need a gym or special exercise equipment to get started. These things are fine, but what is most important is making exercise a habit. That can be hard to do if your schedule doesn’t permit regular gym time or if you don’t have equipment on-hand.

Be realistic. Maybe you only go to the gym once or twice a week. Other times, you can follow a workout tape in your garage or living room. After dinner, consider going for a walk around the neighborhood. You can even try bringing workout shoes to the office to squeeze-in a power walk during lunch or while you’re on a conference call.

When Should You Exercise?

The answer to this question is simple: find a time you can commit to. You have to MAKE time to exercise. If you’re not a morning person, it’s unrealistic to say that you will fit in a workout after just waking up. Maybe it’s better to work out during lunch or in the evening hours when work is over and dinner is done.

After you figure out a time that fits your schedule, determine your exercise frequency. This will depend on your specific health goals. Here are some factors to keep in mind:

  • Stress management
  • Improved heart health
  • Weight-loss
  • Muscle gain

Final Advice on Starting an Exercise Plan

If you’re new to exercise or getting back into the swing of things, remember not to over-complicate things. Your exercise plan has to be realistic and meet you where you are.

Focus on finding activities you enjoy that fit into your schedule. Once you’ve made exercise a habit, you’ll find it easier to stick to. This is when you’ll notice changes and be able to progress with your fitness goals. So don’t think too much — just move!

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