How Do I Start An Exercise Routine

How to Start an Exercise Routine and Stick to It

Starting an exercise routine can be challenging, especially if you’re not used to being physically active. However, with the right mindset and approach, you can establish a fitness routine that you enjoy and find sustainable. In this article, we will explore the steps to start an exercise routine and provide tips for staying motivated and consistent.

Setting Goals

Before diving into your exercise routine, it’s important to set clear and realistic goals. This will help you stay focused and motivated throughout your fitness journey. Here’s how you can set effective exercise goals:

1. Determine Your Why

Ask yourself why you want to start exercising. Is it for weight loss, improved strength, better overall health, stress reduction, or simply to feel better about yourself? Identifying your why will give you a sense of purpose and help you stay committed.

2. Set SMART Goals

S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. When setting exercise goals, make sure they meet these criteria. For example, instead of aiming to “get fit,” set a goal to “run a 5K race within three months.”

3. Break It Down

Breaking your larger fitness goals into smaller, manageable milestones can make them feel less overwhelming. It can also give you a sense of accomplishment along the way. For example, if your goal is to run a marathon, start by focusing on running a few miles without stopping.

Choosing the Right Exercise

The key to sticking to an exercise routine is finding activities that you enjoy. Experiment with different forms of exercise and discover what works best for you. Here are some options to consider:

1. Cardiovascular Exercises

Cardio exercises are great for heart health and burning calories. They can include activities such as walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, dancing, or using cardio machines at the gym.

2. Strength Training

Strength training exercises help build muscle, increase strength, and improve bone density. You can use weights, resistance bands, or your body weight to perform exercises like squats, lunges, push-ups, and bicep curls.

3. Flexibility and Balance Exercises

Flexibility and balance exercises like yoga or Pilates can help improve your range of motion, prevent injuries, and promote relaxation.

Creating an Exercise Schedule

Once you have chosen the type of exercises you enjoy, it’s time to create a schedule. Here’s how you can go about it:

1. Start Slow

If you’re new to exercise, it’s important to start slow and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. This will allow your body to adapt and prevent injuries.

2. Be Consistent

Consistency is key when it comes to establishing an exercise routine. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio exercises or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercises per week, along with two or more days of strength training.

3. Mix It Up

Include a variety of exercises in your routine to keep things interesting and work different muscle groups. This can help prevent boredom and plateauing.

4. Listen to Your Body

Pay attention to how your body feels during and after exercise. If something doesn’t feel right, modify the exercise or seek advice from a fitness professional.

Staying Motivated

It’s common for motivation to fluctuate, but there are strategies you can use to stay committed to your exercise routine:

1. Find an Accountability Partner

Working out with a friend or joining a group class can provide motivation and make exercising more enjoyable. You can hold each other accountable and celebrate your achievements together.

2. Set Rewards

Reward yourself when you reach your exercise goals. Treat yourself to a massage, buy new workout gear, or enjoy a healthy meal at your favorite restaurant.

3. Track Your Progress

Keep a record of your workouts, measurements, or how you feel after exercising. Seeing your progress can boost motivation and help you stay on track.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How often should I exercise?

It is recommended to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio exercises per week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercises, along with two or more days of strength training.

2. What if I don’t enjoy traditional exercises?

If you don’t enjoy traditional exercises, try different activities such as dancing, hiking, swimming, or joining a sports team. The key is to find something that you enjoy and can sustain in the long run.

3. How long does it take to see results?

The timeframe to see results will vary for each individual depending on factors such as genetics, current fitness level, and consistency. It’s important to focus on progress rather than immediate results.

4. What if I miss a workout?

If you miss a workout, don’t get discouraged. Instead, focus on getting back on track as soon as possible. Consistency over time is more important than occasional missed workouts.

5. How do I prevent injuries during exercise?

To prevent injuries, always warm up before exercise, wear proper workout attire, use proper form and technique, and listen to your body. If you are uncertain about a particular exercise, seek guidance from a qualified fitness professional.

6. Should I consult a doctor before starting an exercise routine?

If you have any underlying health conditions or concerns, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before starting a new exercise routine.

7. Can I exercise if I’m pregnant or have recently given birth?

It is generally safe and beneficial to exercise during pregnancy and after giving birth, but it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider for individualized guidance and recommendations.

8. How can I stay motivated when I feel tired or lacking energy?

On days when you feel tired or lacking energy, try starting with a shorter workout or choose a low-intensity activity like stretching or yoga. Remember that some exercise is better than no exercise, and you may find that moving your body actually boosts your energy levels.

9. Can I exercise if I have a chronic condition or injury?

In many cases, individuals with chronic conditions or injuries can still exercise, but it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional or physical therapist for personalized guidance and modifications.

10. How can I avoid getting bored with my exercise routine?

To avoid getting bored, try incorporating different types of exercise, exploring new workout classes or apps, setting new goals, or working out with a friend or personal trainer who can provide variety and accountability.


Starting and sticking to an exercise routine requires commitment, but the benefits are well worth it. By setting goals, choosing enjoyable exercises, creating a schedule, and staying motivated, you can establish a fitness routine that enhances your physical and mental well-being. Remember to listen to your body, celebrate your progress, and be patient with yourself as you embark on your exercise journey.

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