The Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Fitness Routine

Whether you’re totally new to exercise or just getting back in the game, these steps will make it easy to get started and stay on track.

Woman outdoors with water bottle

Staying active is one of the best ways to boost your physical and mental health. Exercise helps lower your risk for disease, prevent injury, keep a healthy body weight, and improve your mood. If you don’t already have a regular fitness routine, don’t worry. It’s never too late to find one that works for you. 

Whether you’re new to exercise or you haven’t exercised in a while, get moving today with these tips from Josie Dutil. Dutil is an experienced health and wellness program manager and the executive director of the Council on Aging in Bellingham, Massachusetts.

Get cleared for takeoff. 

Almost anyone of any size and age can safely do some kind of physical activity. This is true even if you’re a total beginner, you haven’t done any activities in years, or you’re managing a health condition. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor about safely trying new activities, especially if you:

  • Have health concerns, such as diabetes or heart disease.
  • Feel pain in your joints when you try to exercise.
  • Aren’t sure of your fitness level.

Have questions about what kind of exercise is best for you? Ask your care manager through the BlueForMe app. This digital health management tool is included at no additional cost with your health plan. To learn more, call 844-730-2583 to see if you're eligible for BlueForMe today.

Start slow and go steady. 

You don’t have to jump into a high-intensity fitness class if you’re not ready for it. Pushing yourself too hard or fast is a common mistake. You can wind up injured or burned out. Instead, try lower-impact activities that don’t put as much pressure on your joints. Some examples:

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • A beginner’s yoga class
  • Stationary cycling
  • An elliptical machine workout
  • Pilates
  • Tai chi

As you get stronger and gain confidence with these activities, you can try new ones. 

Use your body weight.

Building strength doesn’t require fancy machines, kettlebells, or a pricey gym membership. Simple exercises that use your body weight such as squats, pushups, and planks can add up to a full-body workout. They build muscle, get your heart pumping, burn fat, and support bone health. All you need is yourself and gravity.

Take advantage of cardio equipment when you can.

Cardio machines at the gym offer a lot of exercise options. The bike is a great starting point. It’s a familiar activity that’s easy on the joints. With the treadmill, you can walk or jog without worrying about uneven terrain or bad weather. Ask the gym staff for help before trying any equipment.

Make exercise a doable habit. 

You find time for the important things in life, whether it’s eating breakfast, taking a work call, or picking up the kids. Treat exercise the same way. Find the right time for your workout by being realistic. Think about when it fits into your schedule and when you actually want to do it. Are you an early riser? Set the alarm a little earlier for a morning walk. Does family time take up your evenings? Maybe a midday sweat session is the way to go. Think of it as an important appointment with yourself for your health.

You have access to programs for physical activity and weight loss through your health plan. To learn more, call 844-730-2583 to see if you're eligible for BlueForMe today.

Work up to it.

Aim to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. If you can’t do 30 minutes all at once, break it up into 3 10-minute sessions. Add time slowly until you can do a full 30 minutes. When getting started, listen to your body. Take a breather if you’re feeling pain. Again, if you have medical concerns, be sure to talk about your activity level and frequency with your doctor.

Find workout classes or buddies. 

Exercising in a group can make workouts more fun. Many people find that joining others who have similar goals helps keep them on track. When people exercise with 1 or more friends, they push themselves harder and get better results.

Making plans to exercise makes you more accountable. Telling someone you’ll meet for a morning jog makes you get out of bed instead of hitting the snooze button. And paying for an online Pilates class ahead of time is great motivation for logging on.

Need help finding online classes? Sites such as Mindbody and ClassPass can help you find and book in-person or streaming exercise classes. And YouTube and Instagram are full of free and low-cost options. Be mindful to look for workouts at your level. And choose something you enjoy: You’re more likely to stick with it if you’re having fun too!


DISCLAIMER: Florida Blue has entered into an arrangement with Wellframe to provide members with care decision support services, information and other services. This article is provided by Linkwell Health through their arrangement with Wellframe. Please remember that all decisions that require or pertain to independent professional medical/clinical judgment or training, or the need for medical services, are solely your responsibility and the responsibility of your physicians and other healthcare providers. Wellframe is an independent company that provides online services to Florida Blue members through the Blue for Me app.