Entering the gym for the first time brings about many questions that often begin with the phrase вЂњhow long does it take toвЂ¦ ?вЂќ You want results, now (maybe even yesterday), yet you quickly begin to realize that they do not occur overnight. But why? The answer is simple: It takes time for your brain and body to adapt to exercise. Therefore, it is important to look at how different aspects of exercise impact your transition to the gym.
Physical Aches and Pains
You walk away from your first few workouts with aches, discomfort and pain, questioning how and why you would ever choose to go back to the gym. This is normal. While you adapt to exercise in your own unique way, those aches and pains often occur anywhere from 24 to 48 hours post-exercise, and then subside after three days, the American Council on Exercise notes. Give your body several days to adapt to those initial, unwanted but normal aftereffects of exercise.
Setting Appropriate Goals
Your first time picking up a dumbbell or getting on a treadmill could be either an exciting or anxiety-inducing experience. It might even be a disappointing reminder of your past failed attempts to exercise. Half of all new exercisers stop their program within six months due to burnout, according to a study published in "Psychology of Sport and Exercise" in 2005. Set realistic, achievable exercise goals that avoid feelings of failure and promote feelings of competence and success.
The Social Factor
Your tendency to compare yourself to others at the gym is normal; yet, be careful when measuring your exercise abilities against those of others -- it could be like comparing apples to oranges. You are an individual -- what is good for one person is not necessarily good for you.
Exercise Can Be Habit-Forming
While it's impossible to break the exercise transition process down into days, weeks, month or years for every individual, an article published in 2010 in the "European Journal of Social Psychology" suggests that it takes approximately 66 days to form a habit. This concept applies to exercise: Each time you enter the gym, your routine relies on the same behavioral patterns that reinforce good exercise habits. Without your realizing it, each return to the gym makes exercise a habit-forming experience.