Obligations from work and family can make it tough to get to the gym, but making the effort may be well worth your time. A regular exercise program can improve your health in a number of ways, including helping you lose body fat, increasing lean muscle mass, combating poor health conditions, improving your mood and boosting your energy. Most gyms offer numerous methods for working out; finding an activity that you like can help you to establish a fitness routine. The hardest part is usually getting started.
Assess your fitness level. Many gyms offer a free fitness evaluation with a new membership. Your starting point can help determine the most effective and safest exercises for you to do. A personal trainer or fitness specialist can test your pulse, cardiovascular ability, speed, strength, flexibility, body fat percentage and body mass index.
Start slow and gradually build your way up to longer workouts that include more complex exercises. It is easy to let enthusiasm take over, but over doing it when you first start working out can cause burnout. Doing too much too soon can also cause injuries to muscles and tendons, such as pulls and tears.
Workout with a personal trainer. Take advantage of the free sessions that often come with a new gym membership. If your gym does not offer any complimentary sessions then you might purchase one or two to help you learn how to properly execute various exercises. A personal trainer can also assist you in establishing a workout program so that you are on the right path toward achieving your fitness goals.
Develop a workout schedule. It’s easy to forego your gym session when you are tired at the end of the day or if friends invite you out for drinks. Having an established schedule can get you into the gym no matter what; even when other temptations try to lure you away. Think of your workout sessions as appointments and arrange to meet your friends after you are finished.
Set short and long-term goals to keep you centered and interested. The payoff for all of your hard work is a sense of accomplishment when your goals are actually in reach. Short term goals may be as simple as going to the gym three to four days per week for an entire month. Long-term goals may be more ambitious, such as being able to run for five miles straight in three months.
- Try different workout methods. Having a variety of activities that you enjoy can help you to stay interested in working out. Check out the various types of cardiovascular equipment, along with strength training and group fitness classes.
- Perform gentle stretches before and after working out to help prevent injuries.
- Always check with a physician before starting a new exercise program.
Beth Rifkin has been writing health- and fitness-related articles since 2005. Her bylines include "Tennis Life," "Ms. Fitness," "Triathlon Magazine," "Inside Tennis" and others. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Temple University.