5 Tips for Exercise Beginners

Exercise: A word that could be daunting for many, especially if you haven’t been intentionally moving your body to improve or maintain your physical fitness. But it doesn’t need to be something to be scared of. In fact, it has many benefits including improvement in mood, brain power, and concentration, which are crucial for our busy brains.

If you’re new to fitness, or you’re trying to get back on your fitness journey after the holidays, we have 5 tips to help you get started:

1. Think of Your “Why”

What is your reason for wanting to exercise? Maybe you want to just find an outlet to relieve some stress, challenge yourself, or finally feel confident in your own skin. Whatever your reason is, this could help fuel and motivate you to begin. It’s important to note that this is about what you want to achieve and your interests and preferences, which could look different than other people’s.

2. Figure Out What Fits You

Photo by Jonathan Borba

It is important to find physical activity that you enjoy and can fit into your week if it is going to be sustainable. The UBC Move U Crew offer’s Physical Activity Peer Coaching sessions for free! You could also hire a personal trainer or try out different workouts that are of interest to you. There are plenty of free fitness plans and virtual fitness classes you can easily do at home by searching online or by visiting UBC Rec’s Get Active at Home page. Be patient with yourself as you go through this step. When you’re ready, you can focus on your workout routine, either at home or at the gym, at a time that suits your lifestyle and energy level.

3. Plan and Prepare Ahead of Time

Photo by Eric Rothermel

When you’re still getting used to consistently working out, it can be difficult to keep exercising as often as you hoped to, and that’s okay. It will help to start small and progress slowly. Whether it be 15 minutes of walking around campus or trying out different classes and activities everyday, will help reinforce the habit while building momentum.

It’s not everyday that you wake up filled with motivation to exercise, but you can mentally and physically prepare yourself by preparing your workout clothes and food to fuel with, the night before. Plus, scheduling your workout in your calendar, like you would any appointment, can help keep you on track, so you can cross it off post-workout.

Finally, find a workout or accountability buddy! You can help keep each other keep accountable by communicating your fitness goals and plans and letting each other know when you reach your daily goal.

4. Get Moving and Keep Going

Photo by Brett Jordan

This can easily be one of the hardest steps in exercising, especially with our busy schedules. Sometimes, all you need is to get into your workout clothes and think, “just 10”. Just 10 minutes of exercise and if you still don’t feel like it, consider lowering the intensity of your workout, or going for a walk instead.

5. Track Your Progress

Tracking your progress is another way to help keep you motivated to continue your workout routine. This could be done by keeping track of your progress such as being able to run 500 more metres or adding 5lbs to your workout routine. Don’t forget to keep track of the small wins too! These often add up to more than you think over time!

All in all, it is important to not be so hard on yourself and make sure to listen to your body and take a break when your body needs it. If you miss a day or two of working out, give yourself some grace because life happens. Fitness is a life-long journey, and the most important thing is you get up and keep going.