By Linda Mrkic
Linda Mrkic is a personal trainer and a registered exercise scientist with Exercise & Sports Science Australia. She holds bachelor and master’s degrees in physical education.
Looking for a new workout, but don’t know where to start? These three options are a fantastic way to boost your fitness and can be modified to suit almost anyone. Pick one and aim to do it at least twice a week – you should start to see results within three to six months.
We’re all designed to walk and even run, so if you don’t have any restrictive injuries or joint problems, it’s open to everyone. Running is great for cardiovascular health and increased energy and red blood cell count. It may help with weight management because it burns lots of calories and also enhances stamina and fitness levels.
Typically when you start running, you may experience some soreness in the legs – or even cramping if you’ve gone too hard, too soon. On the plus side, you’ll feel euphoric energy and your body “switching on” muscles that you may have never felt before.
If you’re not ready to run straightaway, use walking as a stepping stone and progress towards running. Start with five- or 10-minute sessions, adding five to 10 per cent to your time or distance each week. Let your body guide you!
If you need to strengthen your core, have lower back pain or are rehabbing an injury, Pilates is very good – and everyone can do it. It’s low-impact exercise, so it’s a great way to stimulate muscles without any jarring or high-intensity movements.
Pilates helps to strengthen our inner and outer core muscles, which means you might be a little sore in that area afterwards. But you will feel core strength immediately and notice postural improvements. It also helps with breathing techniques, encouraging deeper breathing from your diaphragm. This may translate to decreased stress levels and blood pressure.
Resistance training is about challenging muscles through weight-bearing exercise, whether that’s free weights, machine weights or even your own body weight. I’d recommend easing in with two sessions per week, but you can build up to as many as five or six a week, working different muscle groups each time.
Some people worry that they’ll bulk up from doing weights, but this is a misconception. It’s healthy to build a base strength – to be able to carry a child or pick up grocery bags, for example – and increase bone density.
Weight training also encourages neural activity in the brain, so you’ll feel more alert and confident. When people start lifting weights, I often see their strength improve and, as a result, they develop self-confidence that transfers to work and family. There’s something about getting stronger that’s just so powerful!
Support yourself with the right supplements
These supplements can support your body when you’re starting a new workout routine.