While it is a no-brainer that one should do some kind of physical activity to maintain basic fitness, not everyone might have the time, means, or motivation to do so. Sometimes, just plain discomfort in a gym setting can be the reason people stop. And that is okay. Being in the right setting and space, physically and mentally, can contribute to the decision of getting into a committed workout pattern.
It is often the starting point that can be a big challenge. Should you start running or lifting? Should you start with HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) or are Zumba and yoga enough? There are so many questions, so many various styles of workout. If there is ever a day that the slightest motivation to work out turns into action, then the key is to start slower than slow.
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“You’ll feel so much better getting through your workout comfortably, rather than pushing yourself to the point of fatigue and feeling discouraged. When you start out slow, you’ll feel that you have more energy than when you began, and this will help motivate you to keep going,” states an article titled 5 Way To Overcome Barriers As You Begin Your Fitness Journey, published by fitness studio chain True40. The studio believes in hour-long low-impact workouts which people of any age and fitness level can do.
Which brings us to the other big question: how long should you workout for? Let this not be an issue when you are starting out. The key is to perform in as many important exercises as possible. Done consistently, these will give you the results to make you want to work harder. And if you don’t want to ramp up the intensity of your workouts, the exercises listed below will give you enough to maintain basic fitness…and it will hardly take more than 15 minutes to do them. You can either cycle them through the week, or consistently do a couple of them.The key is to involve glute bridges, dead bugs, some rotation moves, squats, and planks and pushups at a later stage.
Tone and Tighten’s basic five exercise routine: Done in three sets of just 10 reps for each exercise, this video will get you started on the basic strengthening of your hips, shoulders, and lower body. It also adds a plank at the end, to train the core. No pushups, no pull-ups, and nothing crazy, this is the best starter’s video for the first couple of weeks until you grow out of it.
5-minute mobility & stretch routine with TappBrothers: This one kicks off with glute bridges as well, but involves a lot more stretching-based work, which also makes it good as the first routine you do before trying anything else. The video is different from others for its energetic rotation and reach exercises. It also includes an optional bonus move at the end. Start with this if you’re feeling tight and restricted, before moving to other videos.
10-minute resistance band workout for beginners: As you build your strength, but still don’t want to advance into pushups and pullups, then this is the video for you. Add any kind of resistance band and give 10 minutes of your day to this one, because it hits every muscle that will make functional life easy. Many of the moves will act as prehab and activation for your muscles to get through the day. It also adds a few squats and quad work to make it a full body set.
10-minute pushup progression workout with Juice & Toya: A YouTube favourite, Juice & Toya have a pushup programme that is built for those who have mastered their first few pushups and are looking for a challenge. This is also good for those who are returning to a fitness regimen after a while. With a fast enough warm-up and a slow tempo system through the video, finishing this workout will take you a level above basic.
Gentle Pilates workout for beginners: You can work up a very good sweat with Pilates, but if you are just starting out, I’d recommend that you start with this video. With basic hip openers and mobility training, you will feel like your muscles have worked just enough to energise you through the day. Just one set of hamstring mobility can help your back and knee health, so it is totally worth it. It might also help you figure whether this is the kind of workout you like: a mix of yoga and strengthening moves.
Pulasta Dhar is a football commentator and writer.