Now that the new year has arrived, many people are heading back to the gym, which can be intimidating if you haven’t gone in a while. But it doesn’t have to be.
Dr. Marie Schaefer from Cleveland Clinic has some helpful tips on how to ease back into exercise.
“When someone’s starting a new workout regimen, I think it’s really important to set sustainable goals,” Schaefer said. “So you don’t want to immediately go out — if you have never run before — try to go run 30 minutes because you’re not going to be successful, and when you’re not successful, that works against you mentally.
Schaefer recommends working out twice a week in the beginning, and then gradually increasing your activity from there. You don’t want to burn yourself out. It’s also important to get enough rest between workout sessions.
As for which exercises are best for beginners, Schaefer says it really depends on personal preference. She suggests mixing both cardio and strength training.
Be sure not to go too heavy on the weights — that’s a quick way to risk injury. A good alternative is switching to lower weights and higher reps.
And don’t be discouraged if you don’t see results right away. Schaefer says the key is consistency.
“It’s sometimes hard to see the results you are looking for right away, and I think that goes back to the question: what are the results you are looking for? I ultimately think people when they exercise should work toward becoming healthier and achieving a sustainable healthy lifestyle, but a lot of people certainly work out for weight loss and toning and those changes occur with time,” Schaefer said.
Schaefer says if you don’t feel comfortable going to the gym, there are plenty of workout videos online you can do at home instead.