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Getting Started with a Basic Workout Routine

If you need motivation to get off the couch, try to incorporate a basic workout routine and build momentum

Getting in shape might be the last thing on your mind, but if you start with a basic workout routine and build momentum, your fitness habits will drastically improve. Of course, it would be redundant for me to sit here and explain the health benefits of exercise. We’ve all heard it before. My goal is to suggest an easy plan of action to get you moving, especially if you haven’t been to the gym in a while.

Proof From Scientific Studies:

A more recent study in eye health highlights the importance of regular exercise and how it affects vision. Researchers studied a group 70 year-old (and up) patients who were likely to have vision complaints based on their age alone. An interesting finding was that the patients who regularly exercised were measured to have better vision than those who didn’t. This particular study shows that exercise is an extremely important factor not only in disease prevention and overall health, but also in maximizing our vision.

Exercise is also our best ally in maintaining our weight, and there are several diseases that can be intensified by obesity. A recent post from the New York Times – Well Blog notes a study from the Annals of Internal Medicine. The study suggests that individuals who are out of shape at eighteen years old are at high risk for Type 2 diabetes in the future. On the contrary, many patients with Type 2 diabetes have been able to fend off certain symptoms of the disease by eating healthier and losing weight.

If you’re starting to show early signs of Type 2 diabetes, chances are your primary care doctor will recommend nutrition and weight management counseling to slow the process.

Keep It Simple:

It’s important to note that it’s impossible to get into shape in one day, or one week, or even a month. The process takes consistency over a long period of time. That said, it’s best to start with a basic workout routine that’s challenging, but won’t scare you away from doing it over and over. For example, you’ll last longer if you do 10 push-ups every day for a week, rather than doing 70 push-ups in a day. Most people who try 70 push-ups in a day will fade out quickly. But the person who does 10 push-ups every day for a week is already practicing consistency. Moreover, adding one push-up a day (to the previous days total) makes 91 push-ups in a week, as opposed to the original idea of 70. And that’s not bad at all, especially for someone who’s just starting out.

Just remember, success is a result of consistency. The key to making any new habit stick is to start with simple, short-term, reachable goals. As for myself, if I miss even a couple days at the gym, it becomes very difficult to get back into my routine. However, I choose not to set myself up for failure by setting unreasonable goals. Ideally, I’d like to get to the gym four days a week, but sometimes my schedule is hectic and I can only make it three. Therefore, I make it my goal to work out 3-4 times a week. It’s a personal victory if I workout 3 OR 4 times over a seven day period. If I keep a rigid goal of 4 gym days a week, I’ll beat myself up for only making 3. If I keep beating myself up, I’ll eventually quit.

Getting Started:

If you’re in fantastic shape, or even if you’ve shown consistency, the following workout doesn’t pertain to you. However, you can never workout hard enough. I repeat, YOU CAN NEVER WORKOUT HARD ENOUGH. If you’ve become complacent in your workout routine, you should find a way to challenge yourself again. Unless you’re an Olympic athlete, or a certain outfielder for the Yankees (Brett Gardner), you can always get better. If you need motivation to get off the couch, try to incorporate a simple routine.

First off, find a place where the air is clean. Your local high school track is a great place to start, but be mindful of the student-athletes. Their practices always take precedence so do your best not to get in the way. If the track is clear, then you’ll have more space to yourself.

Remember, every workout begins and ends with breathing. In fact, breathing is the most important part of every workout. The goal is to get your body and mind on the same page, and breathing properly is the link between to the two. Start every workout by taking control of your breath.

Simply become aware of your breathing and focus on it. Breath in through the nose and out through the mouth. When you’re ready, start an active breath count. This means you count every breath you take all the way to ten. Your first breath in is one, your first breath out is two. Your next breath in is three, your next breath out is four. Go all the way up to ten, then start over at one. Do this two or three times. Be sure to keep this process in mind because you should be doing it throughout the entire routine (ideally).

Next, move on to a simple stretching routine. Keeping with your active breath count, try the following. Start with your hands and knees on the ground in a table top position. Make sure you’re on the grass or a yoga mat so you don’t hurt your knees. Take a deep breath in and slowly lower your chest to the ground with your head in a neutral position. Take a deep breath out and push your upper body into a cobra position. Take a deep breath in and lift yourself into downward dog position. Breath out back into table top position. Repeat this five times. Do your best to stay with your breath count. This stretching workout mimics a simple yoga routine. Plus, it’ll activate most of the major muscles in your body.

When you’re done stretching, you’ve now become a runner. Make your way onto the track, keeping your active breath count in mind. Walk one lap around the track. When you get to lap two, pick one of the straights and run it, walking the rest of the lap. On your third lap, run both of the straights, and walk the curves. On your fourth lap, run the whole thing.

After your run, go back to the stretching routine (5x). After stretching, finish off with your active breath count from one to ten. Do this two or three times. When your finished, you’ll be able to say you ran a mile, and did yoga all in the same day.

Not bad for someone who hasn’t worked out in a while.

The Rundown:

Breathe:

  • Focus on your breathing
  • In through the nose, out through the mouth
  • Active breath count – one to ten (repeat two or three times)

Stretch:

  • Table top
  • Lower chest to the ground
  • Cobra position
  • Downward facing dog

Run:

  • Walk one lap
  • Run one straight (on the second lap)
  • Run both straights (on the third lap)
  • Run the fourth lap

Stretch:

  • Table top
  • Lower chest to the ground
  • Cobra position
  • Downward facing dog

Breathe:

  • Focus on your breathing
  • In through the nose, out through the mouth
  • Active breath count – (one to ten – repeat two or three times)

Remember, this workout is designed to get you off the couch. Nothing more, nothing less. If done right, it shouldn’t take more than a half hour to finish.

As you continue to follow this blog, the workouts will get much more intense. But for now, try to build momentum by keeping it simple.