How to start a new exercise routine

by Maarika Arget, Senior Health Management Consultant

So, your normal routines are officially out the window.

Looks like an opportunity for a fresh start – especially when it comes to getting active. Regular exercise has shown to boost immunity, reduce risk of illness, and support mental health.1

Whether you’re a gym rat, or a fitness novice, here’s some tips to help create a new routine.

1. Stay safe

Make sure to practice physical distancing and other safety measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Next, if you haven’t exercised in some time, start off slow and follow the advice of your doctor. Avoid activities that may cause injury. It may be a good idea to seek out a certified fitness professional for online coaching or consultations.

2. Set goals and a schedule

Carve out time for exercise in your daily schedule. Even if you’re not planning to do an intense workout every day, keep that time for anything active, whether you deep clean the house or turn your home into a gym.

Start with activities that are doable for your current fitness level. Remember, do what you can – doing something is better than nothing. If 10 minutes of walking is all you can commit to – do it. Build up gradually to reduce injury risk and celebrate your milestones as you improve your fitness. Don’t forget to be kind to yourself and take a rest day if you need it!

3. Make it enjoyable

Do something you enjoy. Whether it’s a virtual yoga class, jogging or going on long walks with the dog. If you look forward to the activity, it will be that much easier to stick with it. It can be creative and fun – I’m thinking of trying a virtual dance party with some of my friends. 

4. Have an accountability buddy

Share your goals with an accountability buddy – preferably someone who’s also looking for new ways to stay active. Schedule check-ins at least once a week and report on progress. Pick someone you feel like you can be honest with – who’s encouraging and supportive. 

5. Take a virtual fitness class

If you usually go to a gym, spin or yoga studio, check if they’re offering any classes online. There has been an explosion of online streaming options for fitness classes – including on social media. Always make sure the instructor is a certified fitness professional, such as a certified personal trainer or instructor. This could be a perfect time to try something new!

Take care and have fun. The benefits to your mental health are just as important as the physical ones, particularly if you’re in isolation or under a lot of stress.

We’re here to help. Please check our coronavirus (COVID-19) page regularly, for important information and more helpful articles.

Portrait of Maarika Arget

Maarika Arget is a Senior Health Management Consultant for Manulife Group Benefits and has over 10 years of corporate fitness and wellness experience, managing both wellness programs and corporate fitness facilities. Maarika has an Honors Bachelor of Arts in Kinesiology from the University of Western Ontario. She is a certified personal trainer and fitness instructor and she is currently pursuing her designation as a registered holistic nutritionist.