Your Fitness Journey - Balance Chicago Physical Therapy

Your Fitness Journey

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Where to Start

So, you’ve decided to embark on a fitness journey; however, it is hard to know where to start. At a time where social media influencers, products, and gadgets seem to overpower the fitness world, starting your fitness journey can feel overwhelming and complicated. It is hard to know who to listen to and some people make their “programs” so intense they end up giving up, which leads to further frustration. Fitness should not be complicated. In fact, it should be an escape.

A Helpful Guide to Start: 

  1. Start moving your body. Your body is like a car and when you do not fuel it (i.e. move it), your car will break down. Start with walking 20-30 minutes a day. Walking is the best form of exercise. Try to walk daily. It is not only good for your physical health, but for your mental health as well.
  2. Be consistent. Consistency is key (you will see this word many times in this blog).
  3. Start experimenting with different forms of exercise, as there are a plethora of different exercises to try. A few examples include HIIT training, Pilates, yoga, kickboxing, dancing/Zumba, strength training, cardio, and bootcamps. You can take classes at a facility, use an app, or find YouTube videos (YouTube has thousands of great videos, and I used them throughout the pandemic). The key is to find what type of exercise is fun for you. If the exercise is fun, the more consistent you will be in doing it.
  4. Muscular strength training. Once you get into the habit of working out, I would then start with muscular training. Adding muscular strength training (ex: squats, bicep curls) into your fitness journey is of utmost importance. Strength training is what makes your muscles grow, you become stronger, and it prevents your joints and bones from injury. Start with doing your training 3x/week with each day dedicated to a different body region (legs, arms+core, back) and then progress as tolerated. 
  5. Strength+cardio=the perfect duo. You need strength for your muscles and cardio for your heart. 
  6. The goal with fitness is to be so consistent you make it into a habit and part of your daily life.

My Exercise Routine

As a physical therapist, I feel it is important to be transparent with my exercise routine.

I strive to workout 4-6x/week for 40-60 minutes a session. I always give myself 1-2 days of “active rest” where I will do a leisurely walk or a fun workout that makes me happy, but nothing too strenuous. When I workout, I will spend about 70% of my time with strength training (weights) and 30% on cardio. I like to start with strength training as I have the most energy then and I do my cardio at the end of my session. I prefer working out in the mornings, as working out gives me energy for the rest of the day, though I know many people who work out at night because it helps them sleep better.  I currently follow an app for strength training, as it keeps me accountable for targeting certain body parts. It has taken me years to work up to this point. 

An Example Workout

I like to do this workout at home, and this workout is great because you can do it anywhere. 

  1. Squat Jumps – 3 sets of 10 reps
  2. Forward / Lateral / Backward Lunges – 3 sets of 10 on each leg
  3. Lateral Walks (resistance band optional) – 45 seconds x 3 
  4. Plank Walk Outs – 3 sets of 10 reps 
  5. Ab Bikes – 45 seconds x 3

No matter what workout you choose, the most important thing is to stay consistent. Have fun with your workouts and enjoy your fitness journey!

The Balance Chicago Team is here to help you! For more information, or to schedule your appointment, give us a call or click the link above. We look forward to working with you soon!

Blog Written By: Dr. Isabella Badalament, PT, DPT

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