Establishing new routines can be very difficult. Especially as we age. If we keep an open mind, changing routines can be easier than we think.
It makes it easier to establish new routines if there is a plan to follow. Knowing what to do makes the entire process easier and less stressful. Unless you have formal training in the exercise and nutrition industries, it can be very hard to know how to incorporate exercise and eating right into your lifestyle.
Exercising in a new gym surrounded by new people can be intimidating enough. Not knowing what to do makes this experience even more uncomfortable. Many people won’t go to any gym because they are intimidated by the entire experience. Not knowing how to exercise or what body part to exercise or even which exercise to do can make the gym experience very intimidating.
Even if you once were really into exercise and haven’t exercised for over 4 to 6 months, you have to ease your way back into exercise. If you are 40 and haven’t exercised in over 4 months, then you can’t expect to jump back into an exercise routine you were doing 4 to 6 months ago, let alone when you were 20 and in shape. You will kill yourself if you try to jump into an old workout routine after having not exercised for a while.
If you haven’t exercised in over 6 months, then don’t try to do an extreme exercise routine. Those extreme exercise programs are good for a small percentage of people who are already in shape, exercising consistently and want to get into better shape. From what I have observed clinically, 20% of our population can do an extreme exercise system. Of those 20%, only a quarter of them will be able to do the complete workout routine consistently and without injury.
A study out of Sweden said that 90% of all people who start a new exercise routine, will stop it due to pain. If you know what body parts to strengthen and which to stretch, and which exercises and stretches to avoid and which ones are right for you, it will make it much easier to stick with exercise and to do it consistently, and without injury. If you know how hard to go, and how easy to go, then you won’t wake up the day following a workout so sore you can’t get out of bed.
That is why it is so important to go easy at the beginning. The easiest way to establish new habits is to slowly incorporate small changes that are easy to stick with. If you go from not exercising at all to exercising an hour a day, 5 days a week, then you will kill yourself.
You have to get yourself in shape to exercise. If you aren’t in shape and haven’t exercised in a while, new motions will make you very sore, very easily. Especially if you are in pain, it will take even less activity to irritate and flair up that pain.
That is why you have to start out too easy when beginning a new exercise routine. I like to start people out with low impact, low intensity, cardio- vascular exercise lasting 20 minutes and doing it 3 times a week. This aerobic exercise can take the form of walking, riding a bike, elliptical machine, riding a stationary bike, walking on a tread mill, recumbent bike, rowing machine, stair master, etc. This can be as simple as walking out your front door for 10 easy minutes and then turning around and walking back. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it does not hurt to do it. Make sure it is low impact. If 20 minutes is too much, then cut it back to 15 or even 10 minutes total.
Start out with what is manageable and sustainable for you. When beginning a new exercise routine don’t go hard- go easy to allow your body to get used to the new motion. You want to be able to continue doing this exercise for years to come. Exercise only works if you do it consistently. You only get the health benefits from exercise once you are doing it consistently, and while you are doing it consistently. There is no rush to get there. Taking your time will give you the best chance possible of getting into a new exercise routine and sticking with it to get into shape.
Pick an exercise you can stick with.
Stretching will not get you into shape, but it will keep you exercising. Every day we all have repetitive motions that slowly cause our muscles to tighten up over time. I call this our daily accumulation of tightness. This is what causes most of our aches, pains and injuries over time. Exercise also causes our muscles to tighten up. Stretching regularly will prevent these muscles from getting so tight that they tear and become sprained or strained. Stretching regularly will prevent injury.
If you never progress past aerobic exercise times a week for 20 minutes, that is fine. If you can stick with that exercise and include stretching, you will still be doing more than you were doing before, and you will see and feel a difference in your body.
With exercise, you don’t have to go hard. You just have to be consistent. Most of us are not going to be professional athletes. Even if we had a chance at some point to be a professional athlete, if you are over 30 then chances are you will never be one. So there is no reason to train like one. Go easy. Just move, and move consistently. It will give you the best chance of being able to stick with exercise for the rest of your life.
The Pain Free Lifestyle exercise program lays out step by step how to ease your way into an exercise routine. Even if you are out of shape and in pain, and have been for years, then you will still get something out of the Pain Free Lifestyle program.
The exercises I included in the program are easy on your body. They hit the major muscle groups that will stabilize the most easily and commonly injured parts of your body. The stretches I picked out target the areas that usually get overused, tight and irritated. Exercising and stretching in this manner will reduce pain and prevent injury. Exercising and stretching like this will keep you moving comfortably for the rest of your life.
I am a Doctor of Chiropractic who specializes in trigger points, muscles and muscle injuries. The Pain Free Lifestyle program is an exercise prescription customized for you. When you sign up for the program, you will go through an interview process in which you will be asked about your previous medical history. You will then be sent a customized exercise and stretching routine for you based on that interview.
Pain Free Lifestyle takes the guess work out of exercising. For those who can’t afford a personal trainer, it can be a good alternative. It won’t replace a good personal trainer who can watch every move you make, count your reps and critique your form. But it will set you up with an easy to follow, step by step program personally designed to ease your way into physical fitness and getting into shape.
Get into shape the easy way. Exercise smarter, not harder. It is the Pain Free Way.