Did you know that May is Exercise is Medicine Month? That, along with the warmer weather and sunnier skies, means it’s a perfect time to think about your physical fitness routine (or lack thereof) and how you can make movement a part of your everyday routine.
Why Exercise Matters
Before we dive into how to start your exercise journey this month and beyond, let’s begin with understanding why physical activity is so important. The mental, emotional, and physical benefits of exercise are numerous, but here are just a few:
- Performing moderate-intensity physical activity on a regular basis can help you live longer and reduce health problems such as obesity, high blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. It may even lower the risk of developing serious diseases such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and some cancers.
- Exercise strengthens your bones and muscles, which can help reduce your chance of developing osteoporosis as you age.
- Regular physical activity can improve sleep, increase energy levels, and help manage stress better.
- Exercise can even improve your mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative moods and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function.
Needless to say, exercise is one of the best things you can do to stay stronger, healthier, and maybe even happier. But that doesn’t mean you have to start training for a marathon to reap the benefits of physical activity. You can start small and with activities that you enjoy.
How to Get Started
Before embarking on a new physical routine, it’s important to talk with your doctor about any health concerns or implications that could impact your ability to exercise. They may even be able to offer some programming recommendations based on your health and physical needs.
From there, consider what your exercise goals are. Do you want to improve your cardio health, drop a few pounds, improve your flexibility, or get buff? Your exercise routine will depend on what you want to get out of it. Plus, customizing your training program and not just picking something “off-the-shelf,” will help ensure that you stick with it. However, no matter your goals, start slow and low-impact, especially if you’re new to exercise or it’s been a while. You don’t want to risk an injury or overtiring yourself when you’ve only just begun!
Low-impact activities such as walking, cycling, or water exercises are all great ways to start, as well as fitness classes geared toward beginners. If you’re already fairly active but want to spruce up your routine, consider trying a new sport like tennis or basketball or signing up for a boot camp class. Again, the key is finding something you enjoy and will stay with over time.
If you’re just starting your physical fitness journey, try shorter periods of activity rather than a full hour-long class. A 15-minute walk or cardio session will still be effective, and you can work your way up to longer blocks of time, and more intense workouts, as you get stronger. One of the most important things to keep in mind is consistency. If you work out 10 minutes a day, doing that almost every day will impact your health and help you reap the benefits.
And remember, a sweaty workout session isn’t your only option. Consider taking yoga, pilates, or tai chi classes to help improve your strength, mobility, flexibility, and mind-body connection. These disciplines can also help prevent injury when doing more intense exercise.
Remember that making exercise a part of your life is a journey. You may not see or feel results immediately, or you may miss a few days at the gym. The important thing is to keep going and trust that, over time, it will all pay off for your physical, mental, and emotional health.
And if you’re unsure what kind of exercise routine is right for you or how best to incorporate one into your daily routine, reach out to Forge. Our team of certified trainers can create customized workouts that fit your life and goals. Chat with us today to see how you can take Exercise is Medicine® beyond the month of May!