First Steps to a New Fitness Routine

There is no better time than summer to continue regular exercise, or start a new routine. As little as 30 minutes of any type of physical activity can lower the chances of heart disease, diabetes, cognitive skills (learning and judgment skills), and reduce depression in adults. For children and adolescents, regular exercise can improve bone and heart health. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), only 45% of the Illinois population engages in physical activity on a weekly basis.

Doing warm up exercises is a great way for you to start any fitness routine. By doing a warm up, you begin to prep your joints and muscles for your work out and get your heart pumping. For example, you can kick your legs forward, stretch and reach your toes, and reach for the sky. It’s important to remember that you don’t want to stay in a single set position with your warm up exercises.

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Children and adolescents can mix exercise with friends or community members to make it more enjoyable and fun. Activities like martial arts, gymnastics, yoga, or sports like baseball and volleyball, are great summer activities that bring huge benefits. Not only are they a natural way to let go of stress and have fun with others, it will help you maintain a healthy weight, improve your sleep habits, and keep you in a better mood.

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Ultimately, finding an activity that you enjoy is critical to successfully sticking to your health and wellness goals. Whether alone or with a friend, it’s important to remember that starting a new routine takes time – it’s okay to start off slow and build your way up.  Talk with your doctor to see what exercise is best for you.