By Shawn McClendon –Blackdoctor.org
By now, you probably know how beneficial exercise can be to your health. Regular exercise strengthens your heart and lungs, decreases body fat, protects against osteoporosis, high blood pressure and diabetes, and generally just makes you feel better.
So what if you’re totally new to the whole exercise thing? Better yet, what if you haven’t even begun an exercise program yet?
Because of the sheer magnitude of health and fitness websites, books and exercise programs, it can be confusing to know what to do or where to start. We see infomercials with trainers pushing people to the absolute limit and promising that ripped abs and toned muscles will be the end result. We hear of new phone apps all of the time that show you how to do everything from strength training to Pilates. What is a beginner to do?
I’ll tell you. If you’re just starting, your main focus should be to just get started and to start small.
I know what some of you might be thinking. “That’s not going to work.” “Don’t I need to do a lot to see results?” “Will I be able to lose all of the weight I want to lose before my reunion or beach trip?”
Here’s the thing, though. Often, when we set out to start a big, complicated exercise program, we get in over our heads and set ourselves up for failure.
Gyms around the country are making big bucks off of memberships that many purchase and don’t use. The popular exercise DVD programs of today are doing extremely well while they sit unused in the homes of many who wanted to do them, but perhaps needed an easier start.
The other thing is, you don’t actually have to start out with a lot of exercise to get results.
A study in the American Journal of Hypertension found that sedentary individuals who participated in only 30-60 minutes per week of exercise experienced “clinically significant” decreases in their blood pressure. That amounts to approximately only 5-10 minutes per day of exercise!
Starting small with exercise will also help you with the next most important concept, which is consistency. As I said before, if you start too big you risk burnout. Starting with just 5-10 minutes per day of exercise like walking increases your likelihood of adherence. Over time, you can increase the amount of walking that you engage in until you reach the amount recommended by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, which is 30 minutes five days per week, or 150 total minutes per week.
If you find yourself wanting to start exercising but not knowing where to start, just start small. Start a walking program today for just five or so minutes every day, stay consistent with it and slowly add more time as your body allows you. Just a little bit of exercise will go a long way toward helping you reach your health goals.