So you’ve finally convinced yourself that you’re going to step up your game and get smart about your health by starting a fitness or exercise regimen. However, the actual steps towards starting an exercise regimen are easier said than done. As with anything new, it helps to know what you’re getting yourself into and doing some homework to make sure you’re taking the right steps that will benefit you.

You may be thinking there isn’t much to starting a new fitness routine. You do a couple of exercises for a certain period of time, right? Well, that’s pretty accurate but there are ways to customize your routine so that it actually works for you and not against you. There are such things as injuries, lacking motivation and doing the wrong exercises that don’t meet your goals. For these reasons alone, it helps to learn some tips that will allow you to plan accordingly.

The first thing you should do is evaluate yourself prior to starting a new exercise regimen. If you are suffering from health conditions and/or are taking any prescription meds, you may want to take the extra precaution of seeing a doctor. Getting an overall checkup can help you figure out what fitness goals you can pursue and which ones could potentially cause more harm than good. Once you’ve got the doctor’s thumbs up, you can progress in your fitness plan with no worries.

Another important step for first timers to heed is to take a realistic approach. Realize that when it comes to fitness, it takes time for results to appear. Never push yourself to the limits in an effort to see results faster. It won’t happen and chances are you could not only exhaust yourself, you’ll lose motivation and could possibly injure yourself. Set realistic goals and find the right exercises to do. Then estimate how long you think it will take and start off slow. This applies to first timers whether you plan on going to a gym or staying fit at home. Don’t pressure yourself by trying to work out everyday. Moderation is key so start out with a good fitness routine every other day or 2-3 days a week.

Warming up is a must for both avid exercisers and those attempting a fitness regimen for the first time. Pace yourself and listen to your body. It will give you clear signs when it has had enough. Never go longer than your set period of exercise and keep yourself hydrated by having a bottle of water nearby at all times. Plan on joining a gym? Take your time choosing the right one and make sure the staff is friendly and accommodating. When you enjoy where you workout, that helps with motivation. Try signing up for an exercise class if you feel you may not know how to exercise on your own. You can choose from aerobics to yoga or pilates.

Once you give your new fitness schedule a shot, see how you feel. You may want to change a few exercises or the days you do them on. Don’t feel pressured and cater your fitness routine to your needs and ideal exercise goals.

More tips can be found here.