Our Toronto physiotherapists, chiropractors, and other sports medicine specialists treat everyone from professional athletes to 9-to-5 desk jockeys. Many people at the latter end of the scale still enjoy sports and activities, but it’s very easy to get overwhelmed by the demands on your time, and leave that me-time for workouts for free time you never seem to have. Even if you work at a sedentary job, though, it’s still possible to get fit. The question is: where to start?
Here’s a look at some good first steps, and information you should know before you start.
NOTE: If you have a medical condition, or you’d like personalized advice on exercises that would benefit you, our Toronto sports medicine specialists are ready with advice.
When you start out exercising, the general rule of thumb is: start low and go slow.
Warm Ups Are Important
- Warm up stretches get the blood flowing to the muscles you will be exercising.
- Include loose running on the spot or jumping jacks to build up the level of activity.
- They also reduce the risk of lactic acid build up, which causes cramping.
- 5 to 10 minutes is generally recommended to start out.
Other Notes Before You Start
- The right equipment is crucial to getting the most out of any fitness regimen, and it can help reduce injury.
- Be sure you have shoes that adequately support your feet and ankles.
- Wear comfortable clothing made of technical fabric that wicks away moisture so you can work out in comfort.
- Don’t forget to hydrate – about a cup of water for every 20 minutes of exercise.
Three Types Of Exercises
Exercises fall under three general headings.
As the name implies, these exercises are designed to benefit the heart and cardiovascular system.
- 20 to 30 minutes of walking or running, four to five times a week, is a great way to start.
- The test of how fast you should go is, can you still speak? You should be able to talk at a normal level, without getting out of breath.
These exercises work the various muscle groups of your body. Strength conditioning aids balance, and helps to prevent falls and injuries.
- Begin with small dumbbells or resistance bands. Use only the weight that you can move with comfortably to start—you'll build strength as you go along.
- Note: Get advice on how to exercise with weight using correct form, so that you're getting the most benefit, and avoiding injury.
- Start with one set of eight to twelve repetitions for each of the major muscle groups: arms, shoulders, chest, back, abdominals, legs.
Improving flexibility, and maintaining it as you age, has so many benefits – improved balance, posture, reduced risk of back and neck pain, and much more.
- Stretches should include upper and lower body, and back.
- Think slow and sustained – reach the maximum position you can hold for at least 10 seconds to begin with, working up to 30 seconds.
Don't Be Afraid Of The Gym
It's always beneficial to be able to work out at home, especially when the weather is terrible or you're pressed for time. Still, working out at the gym and at home gives you the best of both worlds, and the most options.
- The gym lets you try out different exercises and equipment.
- You can get guidance by a fitness professional on correct form.
- Working out with other people is fun, and can motivate you to work out even more.
If you have any questions about exercise or how to improve your fitness level, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Toronto physiotherapy and sports medicine clinics for a consultation.