The Four C’s for New Exercisers
Remember, you are building a foundation of healthy lifestyle choices. Approach this new journey as an experience that grows with momentum and success as you progress. It is important to set a solid foundation both mentally (by progressively building your confidence) and physically (by establishing the necessary core and joint strength as well as postural awareness). Understanding what you’re getting into and taking a progressive approach in the beginning will promote sustained results by increasing the risk of injury and ensuring your routine is not overwhelming.
Endurance is a key attribute to any successful weight loss program. Remember that endurance can have a dramatic effect on you’re your results. Your ability to stay consistent with your exercise routine and ensure that you continue to challenge your heart safely will allow for better calorie utilization, increased energy and numerous physiological adaptations to your health. Using a heart rate monitor can not only ensure that you are operating in the most effective heart rate zone, but can also allow you to track your progression as your level of conditioning increases.
Tips for Exercising while pregnant:
For those who are beginning an exercise program while you are pregnant, remember that your level of conditioning before your pregnancy should in part reflect the level of your program while you are pregnant. If your previous goals have been weight loss, it is important to realize that you should have a shift in your perspective as your baby begins to grow. This new outlook towards your exercise routine should begin to reflect the concept of exercising to keep and maintain a strong foundation and enhance the health of yourself and your baby. It is advised that women beginning a new exercise program who were previously inactive should receive clearance from their health practitioner first, however here are some general rules to keep in mind:
- Start slow and listen to your body - if you are feeling fatigued or uncomfortable do not persist.
- Ensure you are not overheating your body (particularly in the 1st trimester). Drink lots of water and exercise in a cool environment
- Start slowly and progressively. As a general rule try to keep your heart rate below 140bpm.
- Lift lighter weights vs. heavier weights, which could cause over exertion.
- 2nd and 3rd trimester – avoid exercising on your back as it can reduce uterine blood flow.
Over 60% of weight loss success can be attributed to what you consume, however; also consider that starting and maintaining a physical exercise program is 80% mental. What you consume yourself with mentally can be just as important as your nutritional intake. As a new exerciser it is important to evaluate your current mind-set. Taking the time to write down specific goals, interests and any areas of concern or obstacles you may have can set a great foundation on how to begin an exercise program that keeps ‘YOU’ in mind. Experiment with new exercise activities to continue to keep your mind in the game and your exercise journey interest-driven.
As a new exerciser, beginning a program may be challenging enough at the start; however, remember consistent challenge is essential to avoid long plateaus and increase program adherence. If you have a competitive edge, try working out with others or trying out a new class regularly to use this attribute to your advantage. You may find this may not only keep you inspired to push yourself but also motivates others around you. Learn to look for ways you can challenge yourself regularly – one effective way to keep yourself focused and maintain the element of challenge is to commit to an event (like a 5K race) once every quarter. This ensures that you not only have a tangible event destination to train for, but also keeps your fitness program varying in order to get you prepared for your events.