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A newbie’s guide to starting a fresh workout regimen

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Consistency is key to keeping yourself motivated and active

You’ve heard about the many benefits of exercise. You are motivated to get active, but don’t know where to start. Or maybe you’ve fallen of the exercise wagon and want to get back on track.

Reaping the health benefits of exercise is not as time-consuming and strenuous as many of us have come to assume. According to Mayo Clinic, to gain “big health benefits,” you just need to commit to 2.5-5 hours a week of moderate aerobic activity. This adds up to about 21 minutes a day, nothing too crazy. Here are some guidelines for starting (and sticking to) a new workout regimen:

  1. Determine your motivating factors

Most studies about exercise address the correlation between physical activity and the lowering of health risks. But if this isn’t getting you off the couch, don’t worry you aren’t the only one. It may be easier to stick to a workout regimen when it aligns with your personal drivers. What motives you? Do you want to lower stress levels? Enhance your mobility? Maybe you’re just looking to get a good night of sleep, manage your weight or spend some peaceful alone time. Some people start an activity just simply to feel good. Determine your drivers and motivations, and set your goals accordingly.

  1. Goal-setting should start small and gradually increase

 As you begin your fitness journey, you want to set some goals to keep you motivated. Think about what you want to achieve. Do you want to eventually run a marathon? Do you want to be able to do 10 full pushups? Do you want to be able to do the splits? Any or all of these goals are noteworthy; starting small is often the best way to go.

Short-term and long-term goals can differ greatly, so once you have a long-term goal in mind write down smaller benchmarks that will help you work toward achieving your ultimate fitness goal. Start small and focus on these short-term goals first. Take it one week at a time and once you get through the first week, look back and take it a step further.

For example, if you aspire to run a marathon and don’t remember the last time you’ve ran or jogged, start by walking for 20 minutes and jogging for five minutes. Walk for 15 minutes and jog for 10 minutes the following week. Sign up for a 3 k next month.

 3. Develop a schedule and be flexible

Begin to plan out your schedule and new exercise regimen, and be reasonable.  Don’t commit to a 60 minute workout five days per week if it is not realistic. The goal is to incorporate more physical activity into your life, so you don’t have to block out 30 minutes or more for your workout if you aren’t accustomed to it. (Click here for some work out videos that start at as little as 8 minutes per day!)

According Dr. Edward Laskowski, co-director of Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine, if you are active for five minutes at a time, your activity will count toward your overall exercise for the day. Cater your fitness routine to your schedule, it will make it much easier to commit and succeed in achieving your goals.  

  1. Listen to your body and keep it positive

Don’t exhaust yourself with strenuous exercises that will keep you sore for days. If you try to do too much, too fast, you risk both discouragement and injury. Listen to your body and gauge how you feel. Instead of aggressive out of reach workouts, try to push yourself to be consistent for a lower intensity and shorter workout. Commit to being physically active and ease into your workouts. All of your goals are attainable, it is just a matter of time and consistency.

If you have yet to find a workout you enjoy or just want to work out at home, get on YouTube! Find new ideas to get fit online and try them out before committing to a specific type of training. Whether it be Zumba or Muay Thai, for five minutes or half an hour, give it a shot!


Healthy Living is a frequently updated content section brought to you by the Saudi Sports for All Federation. In the spirit of supporting our #HealthyActiveCommunity, we’re sharing tips around wellness, physical activity and more!

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