When beginning a new workout or exercise routine, you may be tempted to jump in headfirst. It can be exhilarating to push your body to its limit, and rest days can feel like wasted time. Experienced athletes know that this approach is counterproductive. Instead of getting in shape faster, you risk injury and burnout.
There are several reasons you should always ease into new workouts, not the least of which is to minimize these risks.
Learn Proper Form
In workouts as diverse as running, weightlifting, and yoga, proper form is paramount. When you first begin a new type of exercise, learning and maintaining correct form should be your primary goals. If you perform the activities improperly during your first few workout sessions, you will build bad habits.
These habits can cause headaches when you try to correct them down the road. Additionally, if you exercise with incorrect form, there are two significant detriments: first, you won't receive the full health benefits of the exercise, and second, you risk injury.
To learn proper form, you must ease into new workouts. If you exercise to the point of exhaustion every time, you will not be able to focus on maintaining the correct postures or executing the correct movements. Light workout sessions allow you to concentrate on these issues and correct your mistakes as they arise. By the time you transition to more strenuous workouts, you will have developed the techniques you need to minimize the chance of injury.
Let Your Muscles Recover
It's also essential when beginning a new exercise routine to allow your muscles time to recover between sessions. You'll likely be working out muscles that haven't received regular exercise. These muscles will need time to develop in strength gradually so that your workouts can improve. Much of the muscle development occurs during the rest sessions between workouts, not during the workouts themselves. By working out too often, you can counterintuitively limit your muscle growth.
A final reason to ease into new exercise regimens is to avoid mental burnout. When you begin a new workout, it's easy to get excited and want to devote all your available free time to it. Unfortunately, this type of excitement will only last for a few weeks. To build an exercise habit, you need to take a disciplined approach that you can realistically continue long-term.
When you begin a new workout routine, think about how much time you will be able to devote to it on a regular basis. You'll get much better results for your health through frequent, short, moderate-intensity workouts than through occasional, prolonged, high-intensity exercise. Set yourself up for long-term success by moderating your early enthusiasm.
Starting a new workout routine can be exciting, but don't allow your excitement to sabotage your progress. Remember to always ease into your new exercises so that you give your body time to adjust. By taking it easy early on, you'll set yourself up to see significant progress down the road.