Person on Treadmill

     If you’ve never exercised formally in your life but now desire to start, it can be a very confusing and frustrating process if you don’t do your research. So I’m here to help you get organized and get off to the best start possible to create a healthier, happier you.

Step #1: Visit The Doctor

     This step is really only for people who have or suspect they have a health concern, or for people who are above 45 (males) or above 55 (females). Getting checked to make sure you don’t have to worry about heart or bone health or anything else can get you on the right track to becoming healthy. Also, if you do have a health issue such as high blood pressure, your doctor can determine the right ways to work around that issue so exercise is always safe.

Step #2: Get The Right Clothes

Exercise Clothes

     You can’t just exercise wearing anything. The right type of clothing and shoes are designed to keep you looking good as well as keep you safe. Think about the kind of clothes you would feel the best exercising in. Go ahead and spend a little extra if you really like something. That itself can create the extra motivation you need to get started. Also, pay attention to things like the kinds of shoes you can buy. If you plan on trying running, make sure you get shoes designed for running.

Step #3: Get A Gym Membership

     I can practically hear the sighs with this one. While a lot of people love the gym, I know that just as many can’t stand the idea. They picture hardly-clothed, muscled men and women who will intimidate them just by being in the same room as them. But I have yet to be in a gym where people directly intimidate others. If anything, people are generally very supportive of others at the gym, if they pay any attention to others at all. Also, a gym membership signifies a type of commitment that a promise to exercise at home can’t fulfill. If you’re paying for something, you’re going to be more motivated to use it than if it comes for free.

Step #4: Organize Your Day                                  

     It can be very hard in our busy lives to find time to exercise. But if you can find the time to watch TV and check Facebook everyday, you can find time to exercise. Generally, it’s best to exercise in the morning to jumpstart your metabolism for the day. But if you need to exercise later in the day because of work or other responsibilities, it’s certainly still a good idea. Take the time to make a list of everything you do in a typical day. Then work in at least an hour of time for yourself to exercise, three times a week. Think about how long you would like to stay at the gym (an hour is generally a good idea), the time it takes you to drive to the gym and back, the time it takes to clean up afterwards, and if you can combine it with other errands in the area. It may involve taking some things out of your day to make time for it. You may decide that instead of watching two hours of TV a night, you’re going to cut back to one hour and go to bed earlier. This will allow you to get up earlier in the day, which gives you more productive time.

Step #5: Stick With It For Two Weeks To Get Used To It

     It may be hard the first few times, but after that, making exercise a part of your day will get easier. It will start to feel good to exercise, and you’ll feel better about yourself when you feel healthier and start to learn more about the equipment in the gym.

Step #6: Make It Enjoyable

Friends Exercising

     Bring along your iPod when you exercise, read your favorite magazine while you are on the treadmill or bike, or exercise with a friend. Exercise is often miserable because we make it that way. No one wants to go to the gym and exercise to complete silence or work out alone when you have a best friend who will go with you. Make it into something you look forward to, and your motivation will increase.

Step #7: Don’t Try To Be Perfect

     If you only get to the gym twice instead of three times during a week, or if you eat one dessert that you swore you’d cut out of your meals, don’t beat yourself up. Deciding to exercise and do other healthy things like eat right is a major change to make, and you can’t expect yourself to do it perfectly, because you will make a few mistakes. Trying to be perfect will ultimately lead to burnout. Forgive yourself for being human, and do the best you can.

Step #8: Get A Free Consultation With A Personal Trainer

    Most gyms will offer this service upfront. It’s a chance to meet with a certified personal trainer and get your questions answered, and in no way does it mean you will have to sign up for actual personal training. You’ll meet with the trainer, where they’ll ask you about your health status, and then they’ll take you around the gym and show you how to use the equipment, as well as give you general exercise guidelines for your age and health status. Don’t be afraid to ask questions here. I myself am a personal trainer and have heard it all, and there’s never any question to embarrassing to ask. After all, it affects your health, so you need to know all you can.

     Exercising is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It doesn’t just make you look good and feel better, it reduces your chances of getting a chronic disease and can improve or even help to eliminate things like Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. No matter your age or health status, exercise can benefit you, as long as you go about it safely. Remember to get a check up you’re your doctor before exercising!

Person Stretching Up

     And have fun. Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never tried it before. It isn’t the stereotype most people who are unfamiliar with it picture. It can truly become an enjoyable part of your life.