#HealthTipTuesday Start an Exercise Plan

If you’re working from home during the pandemic, there’s never been a better time to start an exercise plan. 

You have more control over your schedule and you can start good habits now that will hopefully become routine by the time you’re back to working outside the home. Don’t just jump in without a plan, however. Here are some tips to help those who are establishing a new exercise regimen find success. As always, discuss your plans with your doctor first.

Assess your fitness level. Both the Mayo Clinic and WebMD recommend conducting a basic assessment of your fitness level before getting started. The Mayo Clinic suggests taking your pulse before and after walking a mile, timing a one-mile walk or 1.5- mile run, noting how many pushups you can do at one time and how far you can reach forward while sitting on the floor with your legs in front of you, as well as measuring your waist and calculating your body mass index.

Set a goal for your exercise plan. What would you like to accomplish? Reduce your BMI? Run a 5K? The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends adults get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week. Set a realistic goal based on your current level of fitness and your commitment to exercising. Set small, measurable benchmarks for yourself, even if it’s just walking for 30 minutes three times a week. Setting unachievable goals or impossible milestone can set you up for defeat quickly. You should start slow and gradually increase the weights you use and the time you spend exercising, but increase by no more than 10% each week.

Choose your exercises. HHS recommends doing strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least two times a week. You can accomplish this with a single set of each exercise, using weights or resistance bands. Choose your weight or resistance band level by determining which one tires your muscles after about 12 to 15 repetitions. Include a variety of activities in your workout so you don’t get bored. For example, you can get your cardio one day by running, and another by biking.

Look for fun, creative ways to exercise, such as an online dance fitness class. In the end, what’s important is making a plan you can stick with. You will likely have setbacks on your fitness journey. Be prepared to keep yourself motivated and keep working toward your goal.