In the last body blog post, we learned about renewing our bodies with spring greens. In part two of this three-part series, we will look at how to renew ourselves through exercise–focusing on working out for beginners.
We’re happy to welcome fitness expert Sarah Lewis to our blog. Sarah is an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer with a bachelor’s degree in community health education.
Working Out for Beginners Tips Wondering how a beginner should start working out? I was too. Here’s Sarah’s advice.
- Give yourself grace. “One thing I like to keep in mind,” Sarah said, “especially if I’ve been sedentary (or even just more sedentary than normal in the winter) is grace.” She recommends being kind to ourselves as we begin exercising and cultivating a mindset that is realistic and gentle with ourselves.
- Pick an exercise you like. She encourages each person to find something they enjoy doing. “Moving your body shouldn’t be punishment,” she said, “and it doesn’t all have to be no fun either.” Some good exercises for out-of-shape beginners to start with are walking, jogging, swimming, and cycling. Of course, she recommends always checking with your doctor to make sure you’re healthy enough to begin exercising before starting a beginner workout plan.
- Pick a time of day that works for you to exercise. “Some people find exercise easier to do in short bursts throughout the day; others like getting it done all at once,” she said. For people who want to do it all at once, Sarah recommends trying late mornings or late afternoons before the sun sets. She likes the energy boost she gets from late-morning workouts that help her power through midday sleepiness. Keep in mind that some people have a hard time sleeping if they work out during the last few hours before going to bed. “Find what works for your body,” she said.
- Start slowly. Sarah recommends a slow workout for beginners as they transition to exercising. See her suggested easy workout below.
- Don’t overdo it. “Jumping into working out too fast or doing too much right away can be painful, and it’s less likely that you’ll stick with it,” she said. Sarah says one key to working out for beginners is to listen to your body. As you listen, your body will help dictate how many days a beginner should work out. Sarah recommends between two to five days, depending on soreness. If you’re going for five days, do lighter workouts at first.
- Rest days are important. Take a break from exercise. Or try an active rest day if you’re feeling drained and exhausted. An example of an active rest day would be activities like light yoga and stretching.
- Seasonal struggles. Lastly, Sarah recognizes exercising becomes more of a struggle if you live in an area where winter brings extended darkness. Darkness means our bodies produce more melatonin, which makes us tired or sleepy. Likewise, seasonal depression may be an issue too and can make us feel unmotivated to work out. What to do? “Moving your body more, even little by little, can help,” Sarah suggests. “Your body releases endorphins when you exercise. That means working out can make you feel better.”
Sarah's Easy Workout Plan for Beginners
- Start with a 30-minute walk.
- Add in three to four heart-rate-raising intervals that last one to four minutes over the course of the walk.
- Intervals could be jumping jacks, high knees, unweighted squats, jogging in place, and so on. It depends on your fitness level. It’s perfectly fine to just start with the walk and wait to add intervals until you’ve had a week or two of consistent walking.
How Long Does It Take to Get in Shape?
We all want to know the answer to this question, but it’s not an easy answer. According to Sarah, all of these conditions factor in:
- Intensity of the workout
- Body type
- Fitness level when starting
Overall, when working out for beginners, Sarah suggests waiting at least three months and then evaluating your progress as a baseline for comparison. Want more health tips? See our Fab 15-Minute Healthy Habits post.
Ready to renew your body this spring and summer? Leave us a comment and let us know your favorite exercise and how you plan to fit it into your life!
Coming up: Part 3 of the series, Renewing your Body with Skin Care with licensed esthetician Linda Fryer.