Without further ado, here's the list of things you should do and not do when starting an exercise program!
1. DON'T wait for the "perfect" time to start. There will never be a perfect time. Learn a few of the basics and start as soon as you can. Putting it off is a great way to have nothing change.
2. DO take it slow when you begin. Rushing into an intensive training program when you are just starting out is sure to be overwhelming. You'll have a much greater chance of sticking with it if you work into it gradually.
3. DON'T change everything all at once. Think of how traumatic it would be if you suddenly went from relative inactivity and poor eating to a high-powered program and a strict diet. I would recommend you start with an exercise program. Keep at it for 3 weeks consistently then think about gradually modifying your nutritional habits.
4. DO make a committment to exercise. One of the keys to establishing exercise as a habit is to make a committment to it. If you go in with the attitude that you'll do it when it's convenient or when you feel like it, your chances of sticking to your exercise program decrease.
5. DON'T expect infomercial-level results. I'm not going to tell you won't see great results - you will. Just don't expect it to happen in 2 weeks.
6. DO learn as much as you can about training and exercise. Knowledge is very important. If you don't know what to do, take a little time and learn first. The rewards will be huge!
7. DON'T assume you must exercise 2 hours a day to see results. You don't have to exercise nearly that long. You can see results with as little as 20 to 30 minutes done 3 times per week.
8. DO ask questions. If you don't know something, there is no shame in asking. I will readily admit I don't know everything about exercise and fitness (though I do know quite a lot).
9. DON'T work your muscles to absolute failure when you begin weight training. You will most likely make yourself so sore, you won't want to training anymore. Take it fairly easy for the first few session then gradually increase your intensity.
10. DO tell other people your goals. One of the best ways to ensure you keep your promise to exercise is to tell your friends and family what you're doing. This way, you make yourself accountable to people other than just yourself.
11. DON'T feel you need to buy all the latest training equipment in order to start exercising. You can exercise without any equipment at all! Walking doesn't cost a dime and bodyweight exercises such as push-ups are completely free too!
12. DO stretch and warm-up. Stretching during and after your workouts promotes flexibility. Warming up prepares your muscles for more strenuous work to come.
13. DON'T give up all your favorite foods all at once. A great way to make yourself focus on a certain food is quit eating it. For example, if you love chocolate cake and tell yourself you can never have it again, are you going to be thinking about chocolate cake a lot? Chances are, yes. Treat yourself now and again. It will keep you from stressing and bingeing later.
14. DO try to eat more natural-state, unprocessed foods. Processing adds fat, salt and sugar, all of which can contribute to health problems. You don't have to cut them out completely but see if you can shift your focus to more unprocessed foods.
If you are thinking about starting an exercise program or have just started one, these tips should help keep you on the right track.
If you know someone who is considering starting an exercise program, please forward this article along to them. Many people don't start a program because they simply don't know where to begin. By passing along this information to them, you may be giving them the best gift of all: better health and fitness.
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