How to Make the Right Workout Routine for You
You’re fresh out of a long shift. Odds are it was filled with prolonged silences or endless noise. Maybe you were sitting all day or didn’t have a moment to catch your breath. We’ve all had those days where a “typical” workday takes more out of us than usual.
This makes your free time all the more important. There are several ways to make that seemingly narrow window of freedom worthwhile, such as gardening, meditating, and working out or exercising.
Full work days can be taxing on our physical, mental, and emotional well-being, gradually taking a toll on us if not properly addressed. Moving our bodies through exercise gives our bodies and minds a much-needed kind of freedom and bliss.
It’s one of the most effective ways to maintain a healthy work-life balance so those long work days can be much more manageable.
Here are some steps you can take in starting a workout plan that will help both body and soul.
Just with any hobby, we usually fall flat on our faces in the beginning stages. Learning the fundamentals of a certain craft can feel tedious and frustrating at first. The same applies to starting a workout routine.
That first workout is like an endless gauntlet that makes your body feel like it’s on fire. The day after is even worse. It hurts to stretch, sit down, and stand up. It even hurts to laugh if you worked on your abdominals, so even experiencing joy can be painful.
Soreness is your body’s way of responding to the experience you just put it through. It’s adjusting to the new norm, preparing itself for future workouts.
In a way, soreness ought to be looked at as a badge of honor. Though it’s physically painful to reach for that coffee mug now, take comfort knowing it’s the start of the path to self-improvement.
Working out doesn’t always require a gym membership. No need to fret if you don’t have a gym in your immediate area. There are plenty of at-home workout plans on the internet, as well as apps that give you a personalized regimen so you can work towards your personal progress your way.
Some of the best workout apps include:
Note: Most of these apps put their more advanced plans behind a paywall.
And, of course, there’s always the great outdoors. Starting and developing a running habit can do wonders for your physical and mental health. See if there’s a trail nearby your home. Odds are the trail’s path will have you run through anything from green forests to grasslands, allowing you to be fully immersed in nature.
Some of the best hiking apps include:
Spending time in nature will create a calm divide between yourself and the hectic pace of everyday work. Not to mention, running is one of the best forms of exercise that doesn’t require a gym membership or weights.
And if you can’t make it outdoors, a treadmill can be a great alternative. Although you miss the visual appeal of trails and the outdoors, treadmills let you dictate the pace and elevation of your run. This is a huge plus if you’re tired of running on flat surfaces.
What matters is that you show up. You just need yourself, a pair of good running shoes, and a water bottle, preferably filled up with water.
In his book Atomic Habits, author James Clear argues that the best way to truly stick with a habit is to make it as simple and easy to do as possible.
Focus the routine on one, singular action that will spur the rest of the activity: you put your shoes on. Now you have to go for a run or to the gym.
Adopting this mindset creates affirmations that are easy to follow and fulfill. It simplifies the habit to a very doable action and makes the process of working out less daunting and intimidating.
Our brain also plays a vital role in helping us follow through with our habits.
Once it associates putting on shoes as a precursor to working out, it will then associate that activity with the workout itself: it’ll remember that workouts can help you feel better and less stressed than how you felt before.
It silently encourages you to see the workout through because it knows what the final result will be: a sore but refreshed and better version of yourself.
All it takes is putting those shoes on. The rest, as they say, is history.
Starting a workout routine or gym membership usually comes with a sort of honeymoon period.
You’re excited about the idea of working out, to be a better and healthier person. You might even take the initial rough patches and soreness in stride and use it as fuel to make the first month of the routine a qualified success.
The thing is, that energy boost — that second wind — is bound to go away.
That’s why discipline is so important to starting and sticking with a workout routine.
Though motivation is a powerful and potent element, it works best in brief spurts. Discipline, however, is a less potent yet much more sustainable way to ensure consistency and effective productivity.
While it doesn’t have the “fun” factor that motivation has in spades, discipline is more dependable to help you see through rough mornings or midyear sluggishness.
Discipline will help you see tough runs, workouts, and even tough days at work through to the end. It’ll push you through self-imposed roadblocks and make daunting workouts more approachable.
A way to stick with a habit is to look beyond the surface level. Yes, working out will undoubtedly have its physical benefits. You might even look and feel better after a while.
But working out has its perks beyond the physical. It can improve your brain health, reduce the risk of heart disease, and reduce your risk of depression and anxiety, according to the CDC.
Putting your body in motion goes a long way in decompressing after a stressful day, putting you in a healthy and relaxed headspace (exercise can decrease sleep problems and insomnia) that’ll make you more able to handle whatever comes your way next.
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is essential, regardless of the field you're in.
Letting past indiscretions gnaw at you beyond the workplace prevents you from effectively focusing on what’s in front of you. Knowing this makes starting a workout routine not only a nice escape from that hectic work environment but also a necessity in spending your off-time wisely.
Lifting weights, swimming laps, biking, and running through trails or on a treadmill are all effective ways to move your body.
To get the most out of working out, however, is to maintain a consistent routine. We’re all creatures of habit and are more inclined to develop habits that require as little effort as possible.
Don’t look at going to the gym as the routine — the true call to action is putting those shoes on.
Making it that simple and easy to do makes the rest feel effortless and natural. Before you know it, your pharmacy will be running at peak performance while you’re prepping for a marathon.
And, once you get your routine up and running, don’t forget to swing by your local pharmacy for workout supplements, supplies, and accessories.