6 Tips to Start a Fitness Routine

Get moving and enjoy the health benefits of exercise

Photo: Smiling mature woman in swimming pool, taking a water exercise class.

Staying active is one of the best ways to lower your risk for disease, protect your body from injury, and boost your mood. Plus, it’s not too late to get started. Get moving today with these tips from Josie Dutil, Senior Program Director of Health and Wellness at Kent County YMCA.

Get Cleared for Takeoff
Almost anyone at any age can safely do some kind of exercise. This is true even if you’re a beginner or managing a health condition. Before trying any new exercise, talk to your doctor about safely increasing your level of activity.

Start Slow, Go Steady
You don’t have to jump into a high-intensity fitness class if you’re not ready for it. Pushing yourself too hard or fast is a common mistake, and you can wind up injured or burned out. Try easy-does-it activities, such as walking, swimming, or seated aerobics. As you get stronger and gain confidence, you can try new activities. 

Take Advantage of Technology
Cardio machines at the gym offer a lot of exercise options. The recumbent bike is a great starting point because it’s easy on the joints. With the treadmill, you can walk or jog without worrying about uneven terrain or bad weather. Ask gym staff for help before trying any equipment. And make your workout more fun by bringing your favorite tunes on your smartphone or portable music player.

Make Exercise a Habit
Do you do certain things at certain times, such as eating breakfast or checking the mail? Treat exercise the same way. Find the best time for your workout, and make it part of your everyday routine. Think of it as an important appointment for your health.

Stick with the Program
Aim to do moderate-intensity physical activity at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. If you can’t do 30 minutes in one session, break it up into three 10-minute sessions. Add time gradually until you can do a full 30 minutes at once.

Find Workout Buddies
Support from people with similar goals keeps you on track. Join a walking group, try a fitness class, or make exercise dates with a pal.