Steps to starting a new exercise routine

To start a routine, you first need to know your baseline. You can do this by scheduling an appointment with a personal trainer or doing a few tests on your own. For example, experts recommend gathering the following information:

  • What is your pulse rate before and immediately after walking 1 mile (1.6 kilometers)?
  • How long does it take you to walk 1 mile or 400 meters or run 1.5 miles (2.41 kilometers)?
  • How many half sit-ups, standard pushups or modified pushups you can do at a time?
  • How far you can reach forward while seated on the floor with your legs in front of you?
  • What is your waist circumference (just above your hipbones)?
  • What is your body mass index?

Set your goals

What aspect of your fitness would you like to improve? When you assessed your fitness, did you find your muscles were weaker than expected or was your heart rate higher than you wanted during your walking test? Knowing those things will help you set more specific goals. Make sure when setting your goals, you consider the time you can commit to them.

Here’s a few tips for success with setting goals:

  • Start low and progress slowly
  • Make sure you have the equipment available for the type of exercise you want to include.
  • Build activity into your daily routine.
  • Plan to include different activities.
  • Allow time for recovery.

Create a schedule

Schedule exercise into your life just like you would any other important appointment, meeting or event. As suggested above, allow time for recovery while still working toward 30 minutes of activity five days per week. Make sure to vary the type of exercise to decrease boredom and risk of injury.

Get started, but make sure to monitor!

You’ve put time, effort and maybe even some money into planning your exercise routine and now is the time to get started! You may find that your workout routine works perfectly and is exactly what you needed. On the other hand, you will likely notice areas that you need to change to tailor the routine to better fit your goals. Do you need to increase intensity or difficulty? Was six days per week too lofty of a goal? It’s OK to adjust your original plan to better fit your needs. One word of advice — give your program at least a week before making changes.

Make sure to monitor your progress. Track the amount of weight you can lift for each exercise or your pulse and times for your aerobic activity. This way you have concrete information that proves your progress.

Alyssa Monson, Registered Dietitian
CentraCare Weight Management