Today – Starting an exercise routine can be overwhelming. Here’s how to get started.

In the late fall of 2020, more than six months after the pandemic, Erin Houston, director of customer service in Ashburn, Va., won a month of classes at Row House, a fitness studio that combines low-impact rowing with the floor. Strengthening exercises.

Heston, who was 59 at the time, has had a total hip replacement and back surgery in the past few years, and although she’s been building healthy habits, she’s been struggling to add exercise. “I’ve never been able to exercise for more than a few months at a time, because I’m always bored,” Heston said.

Paddling seemed a good place to start, as the impact was low enough to avoid hurting his joints. Although the classes were challenging at first, the coaches were supportive, and the workouts were organized so that she could practice at her own level.

At the end of the month, I decided to continue. She was feeling much better than she had been in years, and her weight was starting to drop.

Starting a tough fitness routine. Heston, like many others, spent most of her adult life trying one thing after another, only to give up after a few months. Finding the time can be challenging, as can finding an activity you enjoy, along with the support needed to get started in a safe and sustainable way.

Exercise can help manage stress

It’s been nearly two years since the pandemic has left Americans feeling jittery. A recent study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health shows that our eating habits have also changed. We snack more, eat more sweets and heavily processed foods and drink more alcohol.

Experts say getting an exercise routine can help manage stress, improve sleep quality, and help protect against a number of chronic health conditions. Exercise also plays an important role in maintaining weight. “There is no physiological system in our bodies that has not been improved by increased physical activity,” said Cedric Bryant, president and chief scientific officer of the American Council on Exercise.

But where and how to start? If you weren’t physically active before, or if you used to be active, but have since regressed, starting a fitness routine can be intimidating.

Start slow and keep steady

The most important thing in starting an exercise routine is consistency. “Start low and go slow,” Bryant said. “Consider doing half to two-thirds of what you were doing before you went through a long period of inactivity, and see how your body responds to it.”

This doesn’t mean exercising to exhaustion every day, but rather making a consistent effort that helps build your fitness level over time.

“Sometimes you just have to give yourself permission that not every session of exercise has to be an all-out sweat-fest,” said Kristi Ward Ritko, associate professor of kinesiology at the University of Rhode Island.

A good measure of whether you’re working hard, Bryant says, is that you can’t talk during exercise. Several hours after the exercise ends, you should feel as if you can do another exercise. If not, this is a sign that you have worked hard.

It’s also important to get the right support, whether it’s attending a group class with a knowledgeable trainer, asking the staff at your gym for advice or hiring a personal trainer who can provide guidance.

Strive for balance

You want to strive for a balanced fitness routine, which includes aerobic conditioning, strength training and movement work, as this will help you stay healthy and injury-free in the long run.

“If you constantly focus on resistance training and lifting all the time, sooner or later you will get a muscle injury. If you focus only on flexibility, sooner or later you will hurt because you are not strong,” said Femi Petico, physical therapist and coach of the Pilates club in Westchester, New York. enough to make certain movements.”

The important part is targeting a little of each.

For Betiku, one of the reasons he became a Pilates instructor was that many of the exercises he uses as physical therapy originally came from Pilates. He realized that incorporating these exercises into a regular exercise routine can help avoid injuries, especially if you are just starting out.

Find an activity that you enjoy

As beneficial as exercise can be, if you don’t enjoy it, you won’t stick with it. The key is to keep trying until you find something that clicks, which will look different for everyone.

Although finding time to exercise can be difficult, Ward-Ritacco’s advice is to take a good look at your schedule, and think about when it’s right for you, whether it’s a morning workout to wake you up, a midday workout to beat an afternoon slump or Evening exercise to get rid of the stress of the day. “Schedule it into your day, just as you would any other meeting, because once you put it on the calendar, it becomes less negotiable,” Ward Ritko said. “Most people thrive on routine.”