Your fitness-savvy friends may have told you to “just start working out.” But it’s a piece of advice that is more easily said than followed. Before you can regularly hit the gym, the pool or whatever location you choose for your workouts, you’re going to need some powerful motivation. And once you choose an activity, you’ll need to learn how to do it properly to lose weight or reach your fitness goals. This optimal women’s workout guide provides the foundation you need to work out effectively and enjoy the benefits of regular exercise.
Let’s Get Started
Motivating yourself to exercise is the first, and often most difficult, step in the process. Here are a few quick tips for finding the motivation to stay on track with your fitness goals.
Work out with friends — Friends hold you accountable for your actions, and you’re much less likely to skip workouts if you know your friends are counting on you. Can’t get together often enough? Share your workouts via social media, texting or fitness app.
Follow your feelings — You’re not going to be motivated for a 5-mile run if you didn’t sleep well last night. However, if you’re feeling high-energy or want to release a lot of stress, it may be a great idea to hit the pavement or engage in other intense cardio training. Follow your mood and choose more relaxed activities — yoga, Pilates, tai chi — for the days you’re not up to a strenuous workout.
Create your goal — Whether you want to run your first 5K, slim down your waistline or boost your upper-body strength, a specific goal will keep you on track when your motivation is flagging.
Make a schedule — One of the best ways to reach a goal is to create a solid plan and track your progress. Be sure to set aside time for exercise when making your weekly schedule, and keep track of large and small achievements to keep motivation levels high.
The Do’s and Don’tsof Exercising
Once you’re motivated and ready to start your new exercise routine, it’s important to learn how to exercise safely and effectively. The following are a few pointers to keep in mind when hitting the gym or wherever else you choose to exercise.
Warm up — Warming up your muscles before exercising is essential to preventing injuries such as torn muscles.
Stay hydrated — Always take a bottle of water with you when you work out, and refill it as much as needed.
Vary your workouts — One of the best ways to stay motivated and on track with your fitness goals is to avoid boredom and challenge your body by varying your workouts. Different workouts target different muscle groups, so you can see progress in more than one area.
Keep track of progress — Whether you’re logging your workouts every day, wearing a fitness tracker or checking your measurements, keeping track of your progress will help you stay motivated by making your achievements visible.
Don’t chug water — Be careful not to drink too quickly while working out, because large amounts of water in a short time can result in stomach cramps that will bring your workout to a painful halt.
Don’t ignore issues — You’ll probably feel some discomfort while working out, but any pain that persists after your cool-down should not be ignored. Listen to your body and allow injuries the time needed to heal.
Don’t stop breathing — Whether you’re weightlifting, doing pushups or holding a plank, it’s easy to forget to breathe during intense exercise. Exhale whenever you lift or push to keep your circulatory system running smoothly.
Don’t do too much — Don’t take an all-or-nothing approach to your fitness goals, because getting burned out can create a poor relationship between you and exercise. Be patient and build the intensity of your workouts over time.
The Benefits of Exercise
While it’s possible that you will lose some weight once you’ve established a regular exercise routine, there are a number of reasons to exercise that don’t involve the scale. In addition to strengthening your muscles, bones and cardiovascular system, exercise can enhance your brain power. Workouts stimulate new growth patterns in the brain and cause it to release certain chemicals that may help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Other benefits of exercise include an improved body image, more confidence and a better mood, especially if you’re exercising outdoors and soaking in vitamin D. Increased metabolism, superior digestion and higher-quality sleep are other benefits that make squeezing more exercise into your weekly routine a no-brainer.
Now is the time to put down your phone, create a fitness goal and start working toward it. Through a regular workout routine, you’ll build stronger bonds with your like-minded friends while enjoying all the mental and physical benefits of hitting the gym, the yoga studio, the mountain or wherever you decide to get your blood pumping.
Author bio: Jaz Jackson is owner and creator of JSCULPT Fitness. Having gone on her own weight-loss journey, Jackson designed the J Sculpt Fitness Belt to assist with her workout goals.