Monday, July 11, 2011

Fitness Tips for Beginners

Adding exercise to your daily routine is one of the best things you can do to improve your quality of life. Physical activity can assist in the prevention of disease, depression and of course, weight gain. The easy part is to decide that you are going to begin an exercise program. The hard part is figuring out where to begin.
A good fitness routine is a balanced one. It should include workouts that include some form of aerobics, strength conditioning, and flexibility training.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends performing moderately- intense cardio, 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week; or 20 minutes of high intensity cardio 3 days a week. It recommends strength training 2 days a week, doing eight – ten different exercises, for 8-12 repetitions each.
Now, what does that mean for you? As a beginner, you will want to start slow so that you do not overwhelm yourself and get discouraged. Below is a guide that will help you design a fitness routine that fits your lifestyle.

·         Plan cardiovascular activities that you enjoy. It needs to be strenuous enough to temporarily speed up your breathing and heart rate. Walking, jogging, dancing, swimming, biking, or tennis are good examples. Gyms usually offer a variety of cardio equipment. Start with 20 minutes a day and build up from there.
·         Decide whether you will you work out at home or at a gym, or both.
·         Decide how many days you will perform cardio activity and strength conditioning. You may want to do 20 minutes of strength conditioning and follow with 20 minutes of cardio, and plan to do that every other day. Alternatively, you may decide to do strength conditioning one day and cardio the next. Write down your plan at the beginning of each week so that you will have a schedule to follow.
·         Remember to warm up your body before strength training. You can do this by performing 5-10 min. on of cardio, jumping jacks, arm circles, bodyweight squats, etc.
·         You must wait 48 hours to work the same body part. For example, if you train back and legs on Monday, you need to wait until at least Wednesday before you work them again.
·         If you work out at home, find exercises that you can perform with bodyweight only, dumbbells, resistance bands, or a stability ball. Invest in some inexpensive DVDs.
·         If you decide to join a gym, make sure that you are shown how each piece of equipment operates. If you can afford it, hire a trainer to plan a routine specifically for you. Never be afraid to ask the gym employees for help, they are there to help you.
·         Perform exercises in front of a mirror, without weights, to learn proper form.
·         Begin your strength training with light to moderate weight, for 8-12 repetitions, performing the exercise slowly at first to learn proper form and technique.
·         Do not lift a weight that is too heavy that it compromises form because you will risk injury. In addition, lifting a weight that is too heavy in the beginning will leave you sore the next day and may discourage you from continuing your program.
·         Remember to stretch at the end of your strength training routine. It will help reduce post workout soreness and improve flexibility.
·         Once or twice a week, join a Yoga or Pilates class, or use a DVD at home to improve your flexibility. It will also help strengthen your muscles for and improve your weight-training regimen.

·         Most important – begin with a schedule you can live with. Whether it’s two days or five, something is better than nothing. Start low and slow and build from there. This week you may fit in two day, next week it may be four, just don’t give up!

Remember, I am always here to help, comment or write me at any time.
Now - get moving and good luck!

After just a couple of weeks performing a physical fitness routine, you will begin to see and feel the benefits of exercise. You will have more energy, you will be eating healthier, and you will be moving better than you have in a long time.

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