Exercise boasts beacoup benefits for your body and mind, but working out can feel intimidating AF for fitness newbies or for those who haven’t exercised in a while.

If that’s you, fear not! This detailed guide can help you kick off a new exercise routine that fits your unique needs.

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So, you want to get back into exercise? We gotchu. Here are 9 tips to help you get started.

1. Make a list

First things first: Make a list of activities you like. Do you dig trainer-based workouts? Then Peloton or a guided group class might be your best bet. If you love being outside, you might like walking, jogging, hiking, or biking.

Oh, and you should make a list of activities you don’t like too. For example, if being crammed into a studio with 20 sweaty strangers makes you cringe, then a cycling class probs won’t be your jam.

But it’s also important to try new things — you might be surprised by how much you like something new!

Keep in mind that you don’t have to stick to one workout or activity. You can create an active lifestyle by participating in lots of different activities.

2. Be realistic and start slowly

Set realistic goals. Don’t leap into intermediate or advanced workouts your first week (or even your first month). This is especially important if you’re new to fitness or if you’re rusty. Pushing past your limits is a one-way ticket to Ouch Town and can also muck up your motivation.

Instead, stick to beginner-friendly workouts 2 or 3 times a week. You also need to give your body plenty of time to recover in between workouts.

Psst… Don’t worry if you’re not where you want to be just yet. You can work your way up to more intense workouts over time.

3. Get into a good groove

Making time for fitness can be tricky at first. But as the months march on, you can get into a groove and make exercise part of your regular routine.

You can keep it chill by adding a couple of workouts to your week. Then decide what times worked best for you and try to make a habit out of it.

Reminder: Working out doesn’t have to be a major time commitment. A 20-minute brisk walk on your lunch break or an at-home strength training sesh can do the trick.

4. Figure out your fitness level

Before setting off on a fitness journey, it’s important to be realistic about where you’re at. You also need to consider health conditions, injuries, and other lifestyle factors when creating a new activity plan. Meet yourself where you are!

FYI: We all have to start somewhere, so don’t be discouraged if your fitness level isn’t where you expected it to be. Again, you can totes increase your strength and stamina over time.

5. Surround yourself with positive people

It can be hard to start an exercise routine solo, especially if you’re a social butterfly. So try to find a workout buddy or even a crew.

You can meet up for walks, hikes, or exercise classes as a pair or group. There’s a good chance one of your friends or family members wants to get more active too.

6. Do it for the right reasons

Becoming more physically active can totally help you lose weight. But weight loss shouldn’t be the only reason for working out. Think about how physical activity impacts your mental health, mood, confidence, heart health, and more!

7. Understand that it may get tough at times

Starting a new exercise routine isn’t all butterflies and rainbows. In fact, it can be seriously difficult sometimes. But try to remember that it can also be rewarding AF.

PSA: Even though working out may feel uncomfortable, it should never be 10/10 painful. And it shouldn’t make you feel bad about yourself. If a gym, class, or trainer makes you feel self-conscious, that’s a hard pass. There are plenty of activities that can help you feel strong, empowered, and good about yourself.

8. Treat yo’self to set yo’self up for exercise success

Treat yourself to some new sneaks, hiking boots, or workout clothes — within your budget, of course.

This may help you feel more confident and excited to start working out. However, you do not have to spend tons of money on workout gear to be more active.

A pair of sneaks and some workout clothes you feel comfortable in will work well for almost any activity.

9. Make it fun!

Working out can be a BLAST! Listen to music, work out with a friend, or go hiking with your dog. If you find yourself actually looking forward to your workouts, there’s a solid chance you’ll want to make them a consistent part of your life.

So why is starting an exercise routine or becoming more physically active so hard? Well, because it is hard! A big reason it’s so intimidating is that there’s a learning curve. Figuring out which workouts are best for your unique style can take time.

Working out is also tough because it can make you feel physically uncomfortable. That’s why it’s important to remember that working out isn’t a punishment. It’s supposed to make you feel good and increase your overall health.

So be patient with the process and keep at it. It should get easier over time.

If you’re an exercise newbie, it’s important to start slowly with simple activities.

Just keep in mind that where you start will depend on your current activity level. For some peeps, a beginner-friendly workout is a 30-minute walk 3 times a week. For others, it’s hitting up a yoga class twice a week. Again, it’s all about your unique needs.

Pro tip: You can use a smartwatch or fitness tracker to count your steps. Once you know what your average step count is, try adding 500 to 1,000 steps a day. Then, increase your step goals over time.

Working out can be super fun and good for you. But it’s uber-important to follow some basic tips to keep your exercise routine safe and effective:

  • Don’t push past your limits. Studies show that overexerting yourself can increase your risk of various injuries.
  • Use proper form. Keep your form on fleek. Poor form can make your workouts less effective and increase your risk of getting hurt.
  • Set realistic goals. While we love a good challenge, it’s a good idea to increase your goals one workout at a time. You won’t go from 0 to marathon runner overnight, and that’s OK!
  • Ask questions. There’s no shame in asking for help! Ask a trainer or workout pro for tips on how to make the most of your workouts.

Becoming more physically active is a great way to boost your overall health. But if you’re an exercise newbie or you haven’t exercised in a while, it’s best to start slow and pick activities and exercises that you enjoy.

The key to creating a sustainable exercise routine that you can keep up long-term is picking the right types of activities and doing them for the right reasons. Any increase in physical activity, no matter how small, can go a long way when it comes to your health.