How To Start An Exercise Routine

how to start an exercise routine 1
graphic how to start an exercise routine 1

How To Start An Exercise Routine

You’ve decided it’s time to start exercising. Congratulations! You’ve taken the first step on your way to a new and improved body and mind “Exercise is the magic pill,” says Michael R. Bracko, EdD, FACSM, chairman of the American College of Sports Medicine’s Consumer Information Committee. “Exercise can literally cure diseases like some forms of heart disease. Exercise has been implicated in helping people prevent or recover from some forms of cancer. Exercise helps people with arthritis. Exercise helps people prevent and reverse depression.” And there’s no arguing that exercise can help most people lose weight, as well as look more toned and trim. Of course, there’s a catch. You need to get — and keep — moving if you want to cash in on the benefits. This doesn’t necessarily mean following a strict, time-consuming regimen at the gym — although that can certainly reap benefits. The truth is you can get rewards from many different types and levels of exercise. “Any little increment of physical activity is going to be a great boost to weight loss and feeling better,” says Rita Redberg, MSc, chairwoman of the American Heart Association’s Scientific Advisory Board for the Choose to Move program. Your exercise options are numerous, including walking, dancing, gardening, biking — even doing household chores, says Redberg. The important thing is to choose activities you enjoy, she says. That will increase your chances of making it a habit. And how much exercise should you do? For heart health, the AHA recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, such as walking, on most days of the week. Yet “if you’re getting less than that, you’re still going to see benefits,” says Redberg. “It’s not like if you can’t do 30 minutes, you shouldn’t do anything, because you’re definitely going to see benefits even at 5 or 10 minutes of moving around.” Ready to get started? Health and fitness experts helped WebMD compile this beginner’s guide to exercise, including definitions of some common exercise terms, sample workouts, and recommendations on home exercise equipment. A way to measure the intensity of your exercise is to check you heart rate or pulse during physical activity. These should be within a target range during different levels of intensity. For example, according to the CDC, for moderate-intensity physical activity, a person’s target heart rate should be 50% to 70% of his or her maximum heart rate.
how to start an exercise routine 1

How To Start An Exercise Routine

Busting the biggest exercise excuses Making excuses for not exercising? Whether it’s lack of time, energy, or fear of the gym, there are solutions. “I hate exercising.” Many of us feel the same. If sweating in a gym or pounding a treadmill isn’t your idea of a great time, try to find an activity that you do enjoy—such as dancing—or pair physical activity with something more enjoyable. Take a walk at lunchtime through a scenic park, for example, walk laps of an air-conditioned mall while window shopping, walk, run, or bike with a friend, or listen to your favorite music while you move. “I’m too busy.” Even the busiest of us can find free time in our day for things that are important. It’s your decision to make exercise a priority. And don’t think you need a full hour for a good workout. Short 5-, 10-, or 15-minute bursts of activity can be very effective—so, too, can be squeezing all your exercise into a couple of sessions at the weekend. If you’re too busy during the week, get up and get moving at the weekends when you have more time. “I’m too tired.” It may sound counterintuitive, but physical activity is a powerful pick-me-up that actually reduces fatigue and boosts energy levels in the long run. With regular exercise, you’ll feel much more energized, refreshed, and alert at all times. “I’m too fat,” “I’m too old,” or “My health isn’t good enough.” It’s never too late to start building your strength and physical fitness, even if you’re a senior or a self-confessed couch potato who has never exercised before. Very few health or weight problems make exercise out of the question, so talk to your doctor about a safe routine for you. “Exercise is too difficult and painful.” “No pain, no gain” is an outdated way of thinking about exercise. Exercise shouldn’t hurt. And you don’t have to push yourself until you’re soaked in sweat or every muscle aches to get results. You can build your strength and fitness by walking, swimming, even playing golf, gardening, or cleaning the house. “I’m not athletic.” Still have nightmares from PE? You don’t have to be sporty or ultra-coordinated to get fit. Focus on easy ways to be more active, like walking, swimming, or even working more around the house. Anything that gets you moving will work.

How To Start An Exercise Routine

Continued Get Ready The first step to any workout routine is to evaluate how fit you are for your chosen physical activity. Whenever you begin an exercise program, it’s wise to consult a doctor. Anyone with major health risks, males aged 45 and older, and women aged 55 and older should get medical clearance, says Cedric Bryant, PhD, chief exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise. But no matter what your medical condition, you can usually work out in some way. “I can’t think of any medical issue that would get worse from the right kind of exercise,” says Stephanie Siegrist, MD, an orthopedic surgeon in private practice in Rochester, N.Y. After assessing your fitness, it helps to set workout goals. For example, do you want to prepare to run a 5K? Hit the gym five times a week? Or just walk around the block without getting winded? “Make sure the goals are clear, realistic, and concise,” says Sal Fichera, an exercise physiologist and owner of New York-based Forza Fitness. Whatever your goals and medical condition, approach any new exercise regimen with caution. “Start low and go slow,” advises Bryant. Many beginners make the mistake of starting out too aggressively, only to give up when they end up tired, sore, or injured, he says. Some get discouraged because they think an aggressive workout will produce instant results. “Generally speaking, when people go about it too aggressively early in the program, they tend not to stick with it over the long haul,” says Bryant. “What you really want to do is to develop some new habits that you can stick with for a lifetime.”
how to start an exercise routine 3

How To Start An Exercise Routine

Continued Fitness Definitions Even long-term exercisers may have misconceptions about exactly what some fitness terms mean. Here are some definition of words and phrases you’re likely to encounter: Aerobic/cardiovascular activity. These are exercises that are strenuous enough to temporarily speed up your breathing and heart rate. Running, cycling, walking, swimming, and dancing fall in this category. Maximum Heart Rate is based on the person’s age. An estimate of a person’s maximum age-related heart rate can be obtained by subtracting the person’s age from 220. Flexibility training or stretching. This type of workout enhances the range of motion of joints. Age and inactivity tend to cause muscles, tendons, and ligaments to shorten over time. Contrary to popular belief, however, stretching and warming up are not synonymous. In fact, stretching cold muscles and joints can make them prone to injury. Strength, weight, or resistance training. This type of exercise is aimed at improving the strength and function of muscles. Specific exercises are done to strengthen each muscle group. Weight lifting and exercising with stretchy resistance bands are examples of resistance training activities, as are exercises like pushups in which you work against the weight of your own body. Set. Usually used in discussing strength training exercises, this term refers to repeating the same exercise a certain number of times. For instance, a weight lifter may do 10 biceps curls, rest for a few moments, then perform another “set” of 10 more biceps curls. Repetition or “rep.” This refers to the number of times you perform an exercise during a set. For example, the weight lifter mentioned above performed 10 reps of the bicep curl exercise in each set. Warm up. This is the act of preparing your body for the stress of exercise. The body can be warmed up with light intensity aerobic movements like walking slowly. These movements increase blood flow, which in turn heats up muscles and joints. “Think of it as a lube job for the body,” Bryant explains. At the end of your warm-up, it’s a good idea to do a little light stretching. Cooldown. This is the less-strenuous exercise you do to cool your body down after the more intense part of your workout. For example, after a walk on a treadmill, you might walk at a reduced speed and incline for several minutes until your breathing and heart rate slow down. Stretching is often part of a cooldown. Sample Workouts for Beginners Before beginning any fitness routine, it’s important to warm up, then do some light stretching. Save the bulk of the stretching for after the workout.

How To Start An Exercise Routine

How To Start An Exercise Routine
How To Start An Exercise Routine
How To Start An Exercise Routine

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*