How To Get Started With Home Fitness
Our Current State of Health
Our current state of health in the United States of America is, well, not great. Who am I kidding? It’s awful! In 2018 it was reported that over 42% of Americans are obese. Let me say that again, not just overweight, but obese. Not to mention the number of people suffering from chronic illnesses (which is 45% by the way ).
Benefits of Maintaining a Regular Home Fitness Routine
There are many benefits to maintaining a regular fitness routine. Some of these benefits include; maintaining a healthy weight, better sleep quality, improving mental health, increase energy levels, strengthen muscles and bones, promote healthy skin, and reduce the risk of chronic illness.
Maintain Healthy Weight
Regular exercise boost your metabolism, helps build muscles, and improves cardiovascular health all while expending calories, These things combined not only help us to lose unhealthy weight, but to maintain the weight loss as well.
Better Sleep Quality
In a study done by Dr. Martin, Dr. Copper, Dr. Dolezal, Dr. Neufeld, and Dr. Boland, it was discovered that high levels of physical activity improve sleep quality amongst teens. Teenagers who opt for exercising earlier in the day see better results due to the fact that exercise stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. Children remain relatively unaffected, whereas, middle-aged and elderly adults experience increased sleep efficiency and duration regardless of mode and intensity of exercise.
Although the exact cause of these benefits remains unseen, it does not denote the fact the regular aerobic exercise improves sleep quality for most individuals.
Improve Mental Health
In a study done by Dr. Sharma, Dr. Madaan, and Dr. Petty, it was revealed that exercising is effective in improving mental health in many different ways. The cause of these improvements comes from an “exercise-induced increase in blood circulation to the brain and by an influence on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, and thus, on the physiologic reactivity to stress”.
The HPA communicates with several other areas of the brain, these communications appear to be the catalyst of the influence. For example the hippocampus is vital to mood, motivation, and memory formation. The limbic system controls motivation and mood, and the amygdala is what generates fear in response to stress.
Regular exercise can improve mental health in the following ways;
Increase Energy Levels
There has been a lot of research conducted analyzing the benefit of exercise in relation to improving energy levels. Which, I know sounds ironic, since when you’re fatigued the last thing you want to think about is exercising. However, research has proven that individuals living a sedentary lifestyle who engage in a regular fitness program will see an increase in energy and a decrease in fatigue. Here is a great article that goes further into depth on the benefits of exercise in correlation to boosting energy.
Stronger Bones and Muscles
Building strong muscles and bones is extremely important, and your future self will thank you. As women age, they become more prone to bone and joint conditions like osteoporosis and arthritis. Exercising helps not only increase bone strength but bone size as well. Since our bones deteriorate as we get older making bone health a priority in our 20-50’s is essential to our longevity.
Here is a great article that goes further into depth on the different training methods and how they affect bone health.
Regular exercise is a major component of healthy skin. Exercise benefits the skin because it increases blood flow and circulation. Anything that increases healthy blood circulation promotes healthy, vibrant skin. Blood flow helps to nourish skin cells which carry blood and oxygen throughout the entire body. Exercises role in decreasing stress also aids in the promotion of healthy skin. Stress can not only cause breakouts but can aggravate already existing skin conditions.
Reduce Risk of Chronic Illness
In a study conducted by Dr.Booth, Dr. Roberts, and Dr. Laye, it was concluded that exercise can help to reduce the risk of chronic illness. They put it this way, “In summary, the body rapidly maladapts to insufficient physical activity, and if continued, results in substantial decreases in both total and quality years of life. Taken together, conclusive evidence exists that physical inactivity is one important cause of most chronic diseases. In addition, physical activity primarily prevents, or delays, chronic diseases, implying that chronic disease need not be an inevitable outcome during life.”
Different Types of Home Fitness
Strength training is important for building strong muscles and bones. However, beyond that, strength training also boosts metabolism, improves sleep quality, improves stamina, improves breathing capacity, improves heart health, and promotes overall better fitness. Some examples of strength training exercises include;
Cardiovascular exercise offers many benefits including; improving heart health, improving metabolism improving hormonal balance, and improving muscle recovery. Some examples of cardiovascular exercises include:
Balance is very important in terms of overall health. When you have a posture imbalance or improper balance skills it drastically increases your risk of injuries and broken bones. Balance exercises help to improve balance, improve stability, increase mobility, reduces the risk of injury, and improves proprioception. There are a few exercise disciplines that can help improve your balance. These disciplines include;
Everybody wants to be more flexible, however, few actually take the steps needed to do so. Increasing flexibility comes down to proper form and consistency. The more consistent you are in flexibility training the more flexible you will become. Flexibility training offers a slew of benefits including; improved movement, increased physical and mental relaxation, reduced risk of injury, and releases of muscle tension and soreness. Some example of flexibility training styles are;
How To Get Started With a Fitness Program
1. Determine Your Goals
Before engaging in any new endeavor it is important to first determine your goals. Having a vision and a plan for what you want all but guarantees success. Michigan State conducted a study in regards to achieving goals and found “The results of the study showed that 76 percent of participants who wrote down their goals, actions and provided weekly progress to a friend successfully achieved their goals. This result is 33 percent higher than those participants with unwritten goals, with a success rate of only 43 percent of goals achieved.”
After you know what your goals are the next step would be to assess where you currently are in terms of your physical fitness.
2. Assess Current Fitness Level
Performing your own fitness assessment may seem like a daunting task but it is not as hard as one might think. There are a couple of options available to you. We will go over a few.
3. Determine Your Desired Workout Schedule (what times, days, duration)
Determining your ideal workout schedule is essential to ensuring you stick with your exercise program. The best program is the one that you will actually follow, so ensuring you are creating a schedule you will keep is necessary. To determine the most ideal schedule for you, you’ll want to consider your work schedule and family time. Also, take into account your fitness assessment. If your fitness levels are currently on the lower side then beginning an exercise program by doing 60 minutes workouts is not recommended. You will likely fatigue out and lose the motivation to continue rather quickly.
This is why consulting with an expert is so beneficial. We’ll talk more about that next.
4. Consult An Expert
A fitness expert has the knowledge and wisdom to design a fitness program suited to your current fitness level and schedule that will help you to reach your goals and sustain the results.
5. Start Slow
When beginning a new fitness program it is important to take things slow. You want to let your body get accustomed to engaging in regular physical activity. Starting off to fast and seriously increase your risk of injury.
Tips for Getting Started In-Home Fitness
It’s very important to stay hydrated during workouts. While exercising you lose water and electrolytes through sweating so you want to be sure you are replenishing these essential nutrients.
You always want to do some kind of warm-up prior to exercising. This can be anything from walking, stretching, jogging, and even light weight lifting all suffice as a proper warm-up.
The important thing is to get the body moving so you can increase body temperature, blood flow, flexibility, and prepare your muscles and mind for the workout. An important thing to note is that Warm-ups decrease your chance of injury.
Cool-downs help to start the recovery process after a workout. After finishing a workout doing a cool-down helps to gradually decrease your heart rate, allowing blood to flow back to the heart instead of pooling in the muscles.
Cool-downs also help reduces the build-up of lactic acid by circulating blood and oxygen to the muscles.
Listen to your body! If something feels off, stop. There is no shame in taking breaks when needed, it will help to prevent injuries and passing out.
Just like your phone needs to rest and recharge to reset all its programs and functions, your body operates the same way. Rest is essential to proper recovery.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get 7-9 hours of sleep daily.
“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine by thy food” – Hippocrates
Our nutrition plays the most significant role in our health and longevity. Improper nutrition, along with lack of physical exercise are major causes of the obesity epidemic, and the steady rise in chronic illness and disease rates.
Research has shown time and time again that implementing simple healthy lifestyle choices will drastically improve these numbers. When I say healthy lifestyle choices I mean eating a whole foods diet rich in different variations of fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein sources, maintaining a regular fitness regime, and taking care of our mental health.
Starter Workout Examples
Strength: womensprogram.pdf (muscleandstrength.com)
Cardio: Beginner Running Program – Best Walk/Run Plan for Beginners (runnersworld.com)
Balance: 7 Easy Exercises for Better Balance | SELF
Flexibility: Sample Flexibility Plan for Beginners | Personal Fitness Training (lumenlearning.com)
In inclusion maintaining a regular fitness routine offers an immense amount of benefits whereas, not exercising can lead to a slew of medical issues. When designing your exercise program, it is important to establish your goals, assess your current fitness level, ensure your program fits into your schedule while making allowances for the unexpectant, consult with an expert, get an accountability partner and start slow. After you have your exercise program you can begin implementing it and making it a part of your regular routine.
You want to be surer that you also take into account proper nutrition to fuel your body, as well as getting proper rest for recovery. Hydration, hydration, hydration! It really can’t be said enough. It is so important to make sure that we stay hydrated throughout the day, especially when we are engaging in physical activity. It is so important that we ensure we are getting regular exercise and proper nutrition. The percentage of Americans suffering from some sort of chronic illness is a staggering 45%. These numbers can be improved by implementing healthier lifestyle choices. I urge you to take your health more seriously and commit to following a regular fitness routine and eating a proper diet for the sake of you, your family, and the world. There is only one you, and we need you to be the best you possible to fulfill whatever purpose God created you to do.
5 Tips to Stay Motivated On Your Fitness Journey
Interrelationship between Sleep and Exercise: A Systematic Review (nih.gov)
Exercise for Mental Health (nih.gov)
How does exercise increase energy? | Exercise.com
Best Weight Bearing Exercises for Bone Strength and Osteoporosis – Women’s Health Network (womenshealthnetwork.com)
Skin Benefits From Exercise: Tone Skin, Collagen, and More (webmd.com)
Exercise and chronic disease: Get the facts – Mayo Clinic
Beginner Running Program – Best Walk/Run Plan for Beginners (runnersworld.com)
7 Easy Exercises for Better Balance | SELF
Sample Flexibility Plan for Beginners | Personal Fitness Training (lumenlearning.com)