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What you need to know before beginning an exercise routine

Establish a lasting exercise routine by setting one goal at a time
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Exercise is a key component in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If you are new to exercise or looking to ramp up your existing routine, there are a few things you should consider to achieve success.

Stephanie Dupuis, National Director of Personal Training with GoodLife Fitness says, “Two of the most important things when you begin exercising are to set yourself one realistic goal and establish a plan to achieve that goal.”

A realistic goal is something that fits within your current lifestyle but is also going to make a positive impact on your overall health.

When getting started on a fitness program, don’t overdo it, tackle one lifestyle change at a time. “If you haven’t been involved in exercise, your first lifestyle change can be as simple as exercising two to three times per week. Once you’ve been exercising for a month incorporate another change into your routine. Your next lifestyle change can be as simple as taking one group fitness class per week,” suggests Dupuis. She emphasizes that changes should be gradual. “Changing your health and fitness is a life long journey and you have time to make changes.”

Regardless of your exercise experience, incorporating a warm up into your routine is vital. Dupuis says, “Your warm up and cool down are important for safety. A warm up doesn’t have to be long—it can be five to 10 minutes. That short warm up will increase blood flow to your muscles and help reduce risk of injury.”

After your workout, a proper cool down is equally important. Dupuis recommends, “Gradually reducing the intensity and speed of your activity in preparation to stop your workout.” A proper cool down allows your heart rate to return to normal and can help prevent you from feeling dizzy or fainting.

It’s normal to feel some soreness 24- 48 hours after exercising – it will go away. To sooth sore muscles Dupuis suggests that you keep moving the day after because remaining still will cause soreness to set in.

The most important thing is to get started with an exercise routine. Dupuis says these principles apply to newbies as well as people that are getting back into a fitness program. If you need help, don’t be afraid to reach out to a professional. Dupuis says, “Work at your own level and incorporate things you like into your workout. Exercise should be fun!”

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