HOW TO: START WORKING OUT

Fitness routine at the end of this post!

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There are many people who start going to the gym, love it, and the rest is history. But there are others who get pushed to try the gym, get excited about a new trainer only to realize that the goals both you and this trainer set for yourself do not consider your current situation: being out of shape. This stage comes in all shapes and sizes but the common situation is you need to give your body a chance to warm up to the idea of running or weight training 3-4 times a week. I have seen so many friends get excited about a new workout plan only to drop it by week 2. If it's not manageable or the workout makes you so unbearably sore that you are not able to do the next one, there is an issue and more often than not, you will feel extremely unmotivated to continue. This is not to undermine the great work many trainers do for their clients because I do know that they are out there but I also know that there are others who do not consider how out of shape a person is before putting them onto a plan. I'd rather take longer, manage 3 or more walks a week for at least 2 weeks, changing speeds and intervals and making sure there are no underlying injuries before committing to a more streneous workout such as running.


This may not be for everyone. I understand that. But if you know that you would benefit from a warm up to get used to a routine in a manageable way, try it out before you commit to a new plan. This is something I am currently doing for more than 2 weeks because I didn't listen to my body before starting soccer this summer and now have been nursing knee pain for 6 weeks. I went from studying 10 hours a day during finals to sprinting on a field twice a week for 90 minutes. I have definitely learnt my lesson and walking and stretching have been the sole reason I was able to minimize the pain completely.


If you are still not convinced, the following are great benefits of walking:

- Low-impact on your joints and muscles
- It promotes relaxation and lowers stress levels
- Can serve to both catch up with a friend and exercise during a busy week
- Does not require a gym

Here is a basic routine to get your started:

3 workouts per week for 2 weeks
Remember to engage your abs, keep a good posture, wear appropriate running shoes, and to stretch after the cool down.
1. MY HEALTHY TEMPO
This walk is to focus on moving at a brisk pace for the main duration of the workout.
5 mins warm up pace (3 mph)
30 mins brisk pace (4 mph)
5 mins cool down pace (3- mph)

2. MY HEALTHY INTERVAL
This walk is to focus on changing your walking speeds throughout the workout.
5 mins warm up pace (3 mph)
5 mins moderate pace (3.5 mph)
5 mins brisk pace (4 mph)
5 mins moderate pace (3.5 mph)
...keep interchanging for 30 mins
5 mins cool down pace (3 mph)

3. MY HEALTHY TERRAIN
This walk is all about choosing a terrain that is not a flat road and that has some form of incline. Examples include your neighborhood park, a soccer field where you walk around the field and incorporate 5 bleacher climbs after each lap, Mount Royal (for my Downtown Montrealers!), etc. If you do not have access to any of these, you could incorporate the different inclines on a treadmill but only do this as a last resort!
5 mins warm up pace (3 mph)
30 mins brisk pace (4 mph) incorporating at least 6-10 mins of incline (3 mph) in total
5 mins cool down pace (3 mph)

The point of this post is to remind you to have fun, be healthy, be safe and listen to your body when you get started on a new health journey!

Disclaimer: This has been a routine that has worked for me in my own personal fitness journey. But, since I am not a certified personal trainer and no routine is one-size-fits-all, please use this as a guideline and tweak the speeds, intervals or length of this plan to suit your personal needs.

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