In one of my previous blogs How to Start Exercising for Beginners, I told you about why it is so important to do physical exercises and I gave you some examples of how you easily can integrate exercises in your daily life.
In this blog, I’m going to talk about two easy exercises for beginners, which don’t require much equipment and which also don’t cost much. It does not take very much of your time either. They are the optimal way of starting your new healthy way of life. That sounds great, doesn’t it?
Go on reading and you’ll get tips on how to get started and how to motivate yourself.
Walking or Jogging
For you who are a beginner, I recommend starting with walking. You who are used to doing exercises now and then can start with combining walking and jogging.
You only need a pair of comfortable shoes. It does neither need to be fancy nor expensive shoes. Important is though, to wear stable shoes to prevent sprained ankles, and that the shoes have got a good fit and shoe soles that are not too hard. An absolutely no go is to have too small shoes. You should have a thumb’s width of space between your longest toe (which isn’t always the big toe) and the end of the shoe. That’s what’s recommended by professional shoe fitters. Why? Because the feet swell and lengthen when we walk or run a longer distance.
For jogging, I do recommend having real jogging shoes. It makes it easier and more comfortable to run. The best thing is to buy your shoes at a sports’ store or in a warehouse with a sports’ department. There you have qualified staff who can assist you while choosing the right shoe. The shoes have to have a good fit and they must not be too small. As explained in the paragraph above, there must be a thumb’s width of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe.
You may ask what clothes should I wear? I think it is comfortable to wear jogging pants. For the upper body, you can choose any T-shirt or long-sleeved shirt and jacket you wish depending on the weather.
Should I consult a doctor before I start walking or jogging regularly?
It’s always recommended to consult your doctor before you start with exercises, especially if:
- you have not done any exercises at all before
- you are overweight
- if you’ve got an illness of any kind
- if you are a smoker
- if you’ve got a high blood pressure
Almost in every case, a doctor will recommend doing walking as it is a very healthy activity. If not, then ask for suggestions about what exercise could be better for you to do.
Can I do walking/jogging when I’ve got a cold?
If you’ve got a slight cold, without a cough, then it won’t hurt much to go for a walk. It’s important to put on clothing according to the weather and to avoid getting sweaty.
If you’ve got a lung infection, which mostly means you have got a cough, then it’s a no-go to do any strenuous exercises at all.
If you are uncertain the best thing is to consult your doctor in case you’ve got a cold or another illness.
When is the best time of the day to do walking/jogging and how often?
Walking or jogging you can do anytime during the day and as often you like to. Try out what is the best time for you. Some people like to do it right away in the morning before breakfast and some people find’s it better in the evening. Important is that you have not eaten a main meal at least two hours before the jogging exercise, otherwise you’ll easily get a stomach ache while jogging.
For beginners, it’s good to start with walking three times a week for about half an hour each time, with at least one days break in between. As soon as you feel fitter you can start walking every second day and extend the walking time as you wish. Later on, you may want to try out jogging as an alternative to walking. I recommend doing at least a half an hour exercise three times per week.
When to eat before the training?
The bigger the meal the more time you’ll need to digest the food.
- For a gentle walk, it won’t hurt to do it rather shortly after having eaten a meal.
- For a fast walk, I recommend not having eaten for at least an hour.
- After the main meal, you should let two or three hours pass before you go jogging.
Otherwise, you may feel uncomfortable and you can more easily get side stitches.
If you feel hungry shortly before you have planned to do an exercise, you can, of course, eat a small snack about half an hour before, for example:
- half a banana,
- nuts or,
- some spoons of cottage cheese.
How to prevent muscle cramps?
Avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of liquids, preferably water, every day. Water helps your muscles contract and relax. Therefore, it is important to keep the muscle cells hydrated. During the activity, replenish fluids at regular intervals, and continue drinking water after you’ve finished the exercise.
Eating some protein, like for example some cottage cheese or half an egg around an hour before the exercise helps to prevent pain in the muscles.
After the exercise, I propose to eat nutrients which contains magnesium like for example nuts, dried figs, dried dates or dried apricots. But be aware of not eating too much of the dried fruit as they have a high sugar content.
It is important to stretch your muscles afterward with a couple of stretching exercises. Stretching before the exercise won’t prevent muscle pains, but generally stretching does prevent the muscles getting shortened and stiff. Once the spasms start, do stretch carefully and help yourself by doing massage on the hurting muscle.
How to make a habit out of walking/jogging?
First, you have to find out at what time of the day it’s easiest for you to do the exercise. For one person, it is in the morning for the other it is in the afternoon or in the evening. It depends very much on your daily life, if you’ve got a family to care for or not, what you’re working schedules are or if you are an early or late riser.
For my part, I have chosen to do my exercises in the morning, when I’ve got a day off from work. On the working days, I do my exercises right after coming home.
I plan my exercises for a week ahead and enter it in my calendar. The evening before I prepare my jogging clothes and place my jogging shoes at the front door. Often, I feel tired and rather don’t want to do any exercises. At these moments, I recall the memory of how good it feels after having done the exercise – my head feels less tired than before and my body feels alive and at the same time more relaxed.
Also, plan a reward for yourself after having done the exercise. See examples in the following paragraph.
A short summary:
How to stay motivated?
When you have decided to start doing exercises regularly, it feels good at the beginning. Soon it can happen, that you do not feel for getting outside walking or jogging because of the bad weather, because of a tight schedule or just because you’re feeling tired. So how can we stay motivated to do exercises even at those moments?
A very good help is to enter the walking/jogging dates on your calendar like I mentioned in the paragraph above. When you do that, it’s an agreement with yourself to do that task. When you have done the exercise, you tick it off on your calendar and write down for how long you were out walking/jogging. It’s quite motivating to see the progress of your training, so I recommend having a special notebook where you write down the dates, the time and how many miles/kilometers you walked or jogged.
Another thing that helps you stay motivated is to decide a reward for yourself after having done the exercise. No, it should NOT be a chocolate bar or a glass of beer. Choose a reward that is good for your health like for example taking a relaxing bath, sit down on a couch listening to your favourite music or reading an exciting book for a short while before going on with your chores.
For staying motivated in the long term, I suggest planning a bigger reward. For example, when having done regular exercises for a month, then your reward could be to visit a nice restaurant. Another reward could be, when having done regular exercises for whole six months, a weekend in a spa, visiting a great sports event or a musical or anything else you are longing for to do.
Keep going, feel alive!
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