We requested our fitness experts to put together a compact list of do’s and don’ts for every beginner to follow. So for those of you who have taken that healthy decision to get off the couch and start exercising, we say, Bravo! You have taken the first step towards a healthier mind, body and spirit.
A number of questions, doubts will creep into your head… How long should I workout? Do I need to workout every day? So we have put together this basic list to set you on the right track. Just apply these basic do’s and don’ts in your workout regimen, and enjoy a great beginning to this new way of life.
1. Easy Does It
Most experts say that for beginners, it’s good to start with 2/3 days per week, and for at least 30 minutes per session. You can then gradually crank it up from there. Don’t start with a tough daily regimen – Easy Does It! Start with 30 minutes of cardio 2/3 times a week and strength training once a week. Continue this for two to three months until this regimen becomes an integral part of your daily routine.
2. Warm Up and Stretch
Always, always, warm up first. Take your body through basic movements that will loosen and stretch your muscles. This will ensure that your body performs at an optimum level and more important, you avoid injury issues.
3. Don’t Follow the Same Set of Exercises
This is a common mistake made by many beginners. Do not stick to the same set of exercises every day. Mix it up. Alternate between the 3 main types of exercise – aerobic, anaerobic and flexibility
Aerobic exercise is exercise which requires the use of oxygen to fuel the body for exercise demands. This form of exercise is traditionally thought of as cardiovascular exercise, such as running on a treadmill or cycling. Anaerobic exercise is a form of exercise that requires glucose for short intense workloads. Strength training and sprinting are forms of anaerobic exercise.
4. Weight Training
The great thing about basic bodyweight training for beginners is that, you can, as a beginner, train from anywhere – even from home. You can even start working out at home with just a basic exercise band. There are excellent YouTube videos with basic exercise band workouts. All you have to do is choose and follow one of the better rated videos.
Dumbbells are another great way of starting basic weight training. Compared to barbells, dumbbells look far less intimidating for beginners. Dumbbells also have an added stabilization challenge, and point out muscle imbalances pretty easily. for those who wish to start weight training with a little more intensity, barbells is certainly the way forward. If your goal is strength above all else, this is the option that we recommend. Barbells allow you to progress clearly and quickly, allowing you to add small increments of weight each week.
5. Give your body adequate recovery time
Take a break, periodically. No pain, no gain. So if you find your body hurting during the initial stages after you start working out, well, that’s a good sign – you are on the right track. But, don’t make the mistake of pushing yourself to the limit and not giving your body adequate time to heal and recover. Also avoid taking painkillers, as they only mask the pain. The best way forward is to let your body recover naturally
If you do not give your body time to heal and repair itself, your performance will go down and you will get into a vicious cycle where you never fully recover. And if you are sore after a workout, that’s good (unless it hurts too much). Do not run to take a painkiller, because that can mask pain and cause you to do real damage to your body. Let yourself recover naturally.