It seems that every month there is a new “national awareness of something” month happening. I came across a good article saying that May is National Breathe Easy Month. BeyondBarre is a program in which anyone can participate, and when the article talks about exercise for the “newbies” I felt that this is something that rings true for the fitness field. The article emphasizes that when getting back into exercising that you should keep it simple and have fun. These are words I say to all of our instructors getting trained to instruct BeyondBarre. When new clients come into the door, it is not about the crazy choreography we thought of last night but keeping it simple so everyone can participate and get the most work out of the exercises. Remember, BeyondBarre works the muscles to fatigue before stretching. While the sweat is dripping to the floor, encourage your clients to smile and have fun! Here is the article below (courteous of ). TIPS FOR THE “EXERCISE NEWBIE” By Ross K. Goo It is okay to admit the following statements are true: “The last workout clothes I wore was my grade-school leotard,” or “The last exercise I did was called calisthenics,” or “My gym socks are knee high,” or “I still call sneakers tennis shoes.” If you identified in a small way with these sentiments, you could be called an “exercise newbie.” Regardless of whether you fit the definition of an exercise newbie or have kept current with today’s exercise trends, you may benefit from some basic advice on how to get started, how to create an exercise plan that is best for you, how to keep it realistic, and how to stay motivated. As a caregiver, you surely are juggling many different roles, while simultaneously experiencing more stress and less time off. For these reasons, it is important to keep your initial foray into fitness as simple as possible. How to Get Started You only need time, a place, and inexpensive, comfortable gym clothes to get started. One might think desire should be included, but sometimes the desire comes AFTER the first time working out, not before. What comes before putting those tennis shoes on may be obligation or guilt, instead. So, just pick a time. It could be as early as 15 minutes after reading this article! Next, find a place for your workout. For caregivers, this should be a place that is immediately accessible and distraction free. It need not be the fitness club or recreation center. The living room, the backyard, the neighborhood sidewalk, or a nearby park or schoolyard are some possible exercise spaces. Now, dress the part. Dressing as a newbie exerciser may take a little more work. Comfortable clothing and fitness shoes with good support are essentials that you may not own…or rather, you may own them but they are collecting dust in the back of a closet somewhere. It is important to consider shopping for new shoes, as the right pair of shoes can save a foot, ankle, knee, or hip from injury. Be sure to choose shoes that are made for weight-bearing exercise, such as sneakers with support. How to Create a Plan Your exercise plan should be simple and easy to implement. Start with an activity you LIKE to do. Would you enjoy strolling along a park path? Swimming at the local pool? Working out to the latest exercise DVD in the comfort of your own home? Dancing to favorite music? Identify an activity that you enjoy and start scheduling it into your week as an official “exercise workout.” Map out certain days in the week to tackle your new activity. Aim for at least twice weekly and try to work up to three or four times a week within a few months. I know this seems overwhelming, but it is a good goal. Expect to workout for 30 minutes or more for each session. You deserve the break! If you don’t know what it is you like to do, that’s okay. There are plenty of resources online, at the bookstore, and library. However, your best resource may be a friend you know who likes exercising. Ask your friend if she or he can help you set up an exercise plan, or better yet, exercise with you. Having a workout buddy sets a fun anticipation and can get you through any grueling, sweaty parts of the workout. If you can’t join them, cull as much information as you can from them on how they exercise, how they got started, and how exercise has helped them in their life. Hearing it from a friend might just inspire you to create a plan of your own. Keep it Realistic As a caregiver, you are sure to have limitations in time, and perhaps you have let your physical ability slip as you put so much energy into another person. Be sure to know yourself and your limitations. You may be tempted to hit the ground running as fast as you can, but be aware that the time when you first start exercising is the time when you are most likely to over-exert your body and cause yourself injury. The exercise plan you have in mind must be reasonable and realistic. Start slow. A friend who loves running marathons should not be the person you join for your first jog in ten years, but finding out that they began exercising with just a walk on a nearby trail may be just the story you need to hear. Remember that the rule of exercise newbies is PROGRESSION. Begin easy, and as time goes by add additional challenges. As you progress, and get comfortable exercising, you will find that your skill level will rise. What was once difficult will become easy, and you can then add new challenges to your workout. A practical limitation that you will have to work with and around is the unpredictable start-and-stop nature of caregiving. This will make it difficult to find continuity in your exercise schedule, and may frustrate you if you find that just as you seem to be progressing you may be forced to miss some of your scheduled workouts. Your plan should allow for any unexpected interruptions, and therefore have pick-up times in it. Once your exercise plan is underway, and you’re benefiting from the workouts, then it will be easier restarting the routine. As time goes on, exercise will become second nature to you, and you will find that you will make the time to exercise even when it seems that you don’t have a spare moment, never mind 30 whole minutes. After the first few tough months, you will also find that your recovery time will shorten. This means you may not feel as tired or sore after doing the same kinds of activities. The Recap So the ultimate rules for the exercise newbie are: 1) Keep it simple and fun 2) Start easy and progress slowly 3) Add variety and focus on some goals Since you made it this far in the article, you’ve got one week to begin your first workout!Have fun!]]>