We know how important it is to exercise. After all, our bodies are built to move. There are some easy ways to overcome the initial challenges — by starting small (because inch-by-inch, wellness is a cinch!) and by setting smart goals.
But often, we get to this point, we know we want to add exercise, we know why we want to add it, and we feel ready to start, but we still feel lost with what exactly we should be doing. Sometimes the hard part is deciding what to do, so we’ve put together some simple ways to start exercising to guide you at this stage of your journey.
What did you love when you were a kid?
People have so many different answers to the question “what activities did you love to do as a kid?” Some people loved to dance, some loved to play soccer, some loved to rollerblade, some loved to swim. Think back to what you loved to do when you were 10 years old that got you moving and active. Those are the same things that will keep you active now and will make exercising fun for you.
Find a way to incorporate those activities now. If you loved to dance, you can start in your living room with a one-song dance party. Make a quick playlist of favorite songs, and each day pick a new one to dance to for the duration of the song. When one song feels easy, move up to two. And when your body feels ready, look for a dance class near you. The YMCA of Greater Kansas City offers Barre classes, Cardio Dance, MixxedFit, Pound, and three different Zumba classes. There’s a huge variety of dance classes to keep you excited and engaged in exercise.
Dance classes look easy to incorporate, but there are also adult soccer leagues, you can buy a pair of rollerblades, or get a pool membership. Most of the activities that you loved as a kid can be continued as an adult.
Walking is the easiest exercise to start with because it doesn’t require you to have a high fitness level, you don’t need special equipment, or a dedicated space. All you need is a pair of shoes. It’s cheap, you can do it anywhere, and it is effective.
One of the challenges of sticking with walking for exercise is it can get boring if you are just on a treadmill staring at a wall or watching the seconds tick by on the timer. One suggestion to overcome this boredom is to walk outside instead of on a treadmill. There are additional benefits to getting outdoors and getting some Vitamin D from the sunshine. A second suggestion would be to use music, a podcast, or an audiobook that you love to keep you motivated to continue. If you know you have the next chapter of the popular thriller to listen to, or the next episode of your favorite podcast, it can motivate you to lace up your shoes and start walking.
Stretching is a great way to move your body that often doesn’t feel too taxing when you are starting a new exercise routine. It can help your flexibility and expand your range of motion.
You can start stretching in your living room with this simple yoga routine by Heidi Powell. When that feels comfortable, you can search YouTube for more yoga routines. Try searching “yoga for beginners” or “gentle yoga for beginners” and trying any of the videos that look interesting to you.
Play with your kids or your pets
When your kids get home from school, burn off a little energy with them. Play whatever they want to play with them. If this is a whole new idea for all of you, you could play freeze tag, red rover, basketball, or frisbee. You could ride scooters or bikes. Your kids will love having you join them in any activity.
You can also get your pets involved. Throw a frisbee for your dog, take them for a walk, or run around the yard with them. They’ll love the attention just as much as your kids.
The key to beginning exercise is to start where you are and choose something that is fun for you so you can stick with it. Moving your body is a small change that will lead to a big shift.