7 Tips: How to Start an Exercise Program the Right Way

May 26, 2022

Jason Sweet

by Jason Sweet
PT, DPT Marana

CrossFit, yoga, pilates, weight-lifting, running, biking, kickboxing, and many other activities have significant benefits for the body, allow for socialization, and can be a lot of fun too. However, all physical activity has a risk of injury, but there are ways to prepare and help decrease the chances of injury as you start an exercise program or new sport. The lower back, knees, ankles, wrists, shoulder, and elbows are common areas of injury.

As you embark on a new fitness program, here are seven considerations to keep in mind:

1. Write down your goals.

Work towards making achievable fitness goals and create a realistic timeline for accomplishing these goals. Remember to make small daily goals that progress towards the long-term goal.

2. Focus on form, not perfection.

Start off respecting your body’s limits and focus on proper technique and form for each exercise. Perform with minimal weight and resistance for 2-4 weeks to focus on learning the appropriate form and method of the movement rather than trying to set a personal record in the first week. As your body remembers the proper process for each exercise/activity, finding your initial fitness level is appropriate. Man lifting weights.

3. Ask questions and do your research.

There are no stupid questions. It is better to ask a professional and get the answer than guess and have the wrong answer.  Asking questions and doing your research can prevent injuries if an activity is performed incorrectly for an extended period.

4. Enjoy your exercise of choice.

If you do not enjoy what form of exercise you are doing, it is easy not to do it. Instead, choose a fun activity, and you will want to make progress every day. Try different types of exercise if you have not found “your” routine yet.

5. Take the time to rest and recover.

Rest and recovery of 1-2 days is not a bad thing. As you add a new activity or exercise program to your regime, there will be muscle soreness, which is normal. This soreness should resolve in 1-2 days. Having multiple activities available will allow you to work for different muscle groups if you are very sore.

Women on blue hammock.

6. Choose a motivating environment.

Try different gym locations, parks, or places to exercise. You must find a site that suits you and your needs for your activity of choice.

7. Know your target heart rate.

Do you know how to find your age-determined max heart rate? It is your current age minus (-) 220 = age-specific max heart rate.

Should you find yourself with an injury or a nagging pain that will not subside, seek a medical professional’s advice. ProActive Physical Therapy is committed to working to the recovery and progression of your goals. If bumps, bruises, pain, or weakness do not improve over a 1-week time frame, contact one of our clinics to assess the condition to prevent a minor injury or irritation from becoming a more significant problem.

Go out, enjoy what makes you happy and have fun with whatever endeavor you choose.

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