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It’s a new year: Time to get up and get active!

It’s a new year: Time to get up and get active!

If improving your health is on your list of resolutions for 2024, taking steps to get active is a good place to begin.

You probably know that physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Exercising regularly and simply moving your body more often can help you become more physically fit and lower your risk of developing many different health issues.

Whether you’re just starting out or are diving back into an exercise routine after you tabled your workouts during the holiday season, making it a priority to fit in physical activity every day can help you reach a healthy weight and live your healthiest life. LCMC Health is here to help.

When you’re trying to get active for the first time …

Decided to make physical activity part of your life? Congratulations! You’re making a good move for your health. (Pun intended.)

Here are some tips for establishing an exercise habit:

  • Break your activity into chunks. Experts recommend getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week. That seems like a lot, but you aren’t doing it all at once! The recommended amount averages out to slightly more than 20 minutes of physical activity every day. If that seems like too much to fit into your busy day, break it down into even smaller bursts of activity.
  • Find an activity you enjoy. For optimal health, you want to include both aerobic activity, such as brisk walking or cycling, and muscle strengthening exercises in your routine. The specific activities you do, though, are up to you! Choose types of exercise that interest you and keep you engaged, and mix things up as needed.
  • Start slow and build up. It can be tempting to jump into exercise and challenge your body quickly, but that’s not the best idea. Grabbing a heavy weight or running at a fast speed when you aren’t accustomed to exercise can burn you out and lead to injuries. Start slower (and lighter, in the case of weights) and add on as your body strengthens.

When you’re ready to get active after sitting it out for a while …

You’ll want to take careful steps when working your way back into physical activity. Start here:

  • Consider why you paused in the first place. As you start back, take a different approach. Mix up your routine and vary the length of your workouts to avoid burnout and make injury less likely. Try different workouts until you find some you enjoy.
  • Go slow and build up. This tip was included above for those who are new to exercising, but it’s important for you, too! Whether you sat out workouts for a few weeks or years, you will need to give your body time to regain strength and endurance. Start at a pace, weight or intensity that’s lower than you think you need, then increase as you’re able.
  • Make a commitment to your workouts. It’s easy to talk yourself out of a workout, especially when you’re just getting started. Here’s a tip to help you get your routine locked in: Schedule your workouts on your calendar, like you would any other appointment, and don’t cancel on yourself. Consider it a hefty dose of self-care. If you need a boost in your “want-to,” make plans with a friend to exercise together. You’ll be more likely to follow through.

Listen to your body

Expect to experience soreness after working out, including what’s called delayed-onset muscle soreness.

There’s a difference between soreness and pain related to an injury or overuse. If your discomfort lingers or is severe, it’s a good idea to check in with a medical provider. A quick and easy virtual care visit can help identify the source of your pain and provide suggestions for finding relief.

A visit with your primary care provider is a good place to begin a journey toward better health. Need a primary care provider? Find one at LCMC Health.