Getting started with exercise can be one of the most daunting challenges of weight loss. Gyms full of Lycra-clad athletes and fast-paced dance classes may look daunting, but everyone had to start somewhere. We ask the experts about the best ways to get into fitness and to get you working out like a pro.
Take it slow
When you’re getting started, experts agree that it’s important to pace yourself. Though it may be tempting to approach your new regime with gusto, you need to be careful not to put your body under strain. Trying to do too much too soon can have negative effects, according to health coach and presenter Georgina Burnett. “If you go in too hard you risk being injured,” says Georgina, “and then you could put yourself out of action.”
It’s also important to take into account any long-standing health problems, even if you think they won’t affect your training. Before they start, people with chronic diseases such as a heart condition, arthritis, diabetes or high blood pressure should talk to their doctor about how much physical activity is appropriate for them.
Work the whole body
“If you’re new to exercise and have quite a lot of weight to lose, I would recommend starting out with some basic endurance exercise such as steady pace cardio from brisk walking or by using a cross trainer, alongside weights, and exercises that work the whole body, like squats,” says Kelly Du Buisson, creator of The City Workout.
Personal trainer and fat-loss expert Jamie Houghton also recommends working the entire body with one workout. “The workouts don’t need to be more than 45 minutes in duration,” he says. “Start with body-weight moves, like squats, press-ups and lunges. This will let your body use its own weight to build strength. If you go straight for the machines then your muscles won’t benefit and develop properly.”
Simply moving more will help you when you begin to exercise. The NHS advises that the more movement you can fit into your day the better. Try doing something you enjoy, and take along a friend to keep you motivated.
Join a class
“Classes are a great way of making sure you are exercising in the right way,” says Georgina, “but avoid the temptation to keep up with others in the class.”
Kelly recommends dance, Zumba and aqua-aerobics classes to begin with, as they get you out of breath without putting your body under too much stress. Georgina also recommends Zumba, as long as you find an introductory class and remember to pace yourself. She also suggests trying a Pilates class, as strengthening your core will stand you in good stead with other exercise.
“Once you feel you can get through an hour’s exercise it’s then time to think about stepping up your workout and adding in intervals and metabolic exercises,” says Kelly.