Beginner’s Guide To Exercise
One of the most important things that you need to realize is that exercise is valuable. It can help prevent or delay many conditions, heart disease, cancer and arthritis to name but a few. It has been well documented that depression responds extremely well to exercise.
Many people take on an exercise program because they want or need to lose some excess weight. Just don’t rush headlong into a gym membership until you have thought it through clearly. Exercise means constant movement but that doesn’t mean that you cant get enough exercise from your normal everyday life. Look closely at the way you normally spend a day, chat it through with a friend maybe. What do you enjoy doing? Cycling? Walking? Dancing?
The chances are that there are many things that you enjoy doing that you have never even counted as exercise. If you choose from the list of activities that you enjoy them there is more chance that you will build it into your daily routine. Even thirty minutes housework can be beneficial!
Many of us wonder how much exercise we really need. Well, if we work to the guidelines we should be aiming for thirty minutes exercise every day of the week. If thirty minutes is totally out of the question then do what you can! Any exercise will be better than none.
Are you ready to start? Experts in health and fitness have compiled this guide aimed at any beginner.
The first step is to check that you are fit to carry out any activity that you may be considering doing. Any males above the age of forty five and females over fifty five should check out with their doctor that the proposed plan is suitable. There is something for everyone in the world of fitness and it can be planned to suit individual needs. Take time to think what you really want to achieve; do you want to run marathons? Or spend hours at the gym pumping iron? Or maybe you need something far more gentle and approachable.
No matter what, always start off exercising slowly, ease yourself in gently and the chances are that it will encourage you to stick with your plans. This is far better than jumping in feet first and throwing your heart and soul into the fitness plan for a couple of weeks only to cast it aside when you are worn out.
If you are starting to explore the world of fitness then you may well hear some of these words being used.
- Aerobic Or Cardiovascular Activity – Exercises like swimming, cycling and running make you work hard enough to increase your heart rate and the way in which you breathe. These are referred to as cardiovascular or aerobic activities.
- Maximum Heart Rate – A person’s age will determine their maximum heart rate. This figure can be obtained by deducting the persons age from the figure of 220.
- Stretching Or Flexibility Training – Stretching or flexibility training allows the joints to move better. As we age our ligaments, tendons and muscles shorten. Before we stretch any of our muscles we need to ‘warm them up’.
- Strength, Weight Or Resistance Training – An exercise where you work against the weight of your own body is called resistance training or maybe strength or weight training. This exercise concentrates on improving the way in which the muscles function and also gives the muscles strength.
- Repetition – A repetition refers to the amount of times that you repeat a certain exercise during a set.
- Warm Up – Before you start exercising you will need to ‘warm up’. This is done using light movement which increases the blood flow and warms up the muscles and joints. Often the warm up is rounded off with some light stretching movements.
- Cool Down – After any exercise you will need to ‘cool down’ this is done by reducing the pace at which you are exercising until you eventually stop. This allows quite a few minutes for your heart rate and your breathing to slow down sufficiently. The cooling down period is often followed by a stretching session too.
Ideas For A Beginners Workout
By now you will have realized how important it is to ‘warm’ up properly. Experts divide physical fitness into three sections: Cardiovascular Activity, Strength Conditioning and Flexibility training.
- Cardiovascular Activity
A basic cardiovascular activity is walking or running if you prefer, around 20 minutes three times a week is about the right level. A good test to see if you are working to potential is to try to converse while you are still running. If you can chat away merrily then you know you aren’t working hard enough!
- Strength Conditioning
When you start on the strength conditioning exercise it may be good to start off doing one set of exercises which focus on each muscle group. Use a weight that is comfortable at first, building up more weight as time goes on.
- Flexibility Training
Stretching exercises should be carried out slowly, make each stretch last a few seconds.
Often if you take up a gym membership you might get a couple of free sessions that will give you an insight into some of the exercises used.
Exercise In The Comfort Of Your Own Home
Not everyone chooses to join a gym, some prefer to exercise in the comfort of their own home. There are many very useful exercises that you can do at home including push ups, squats, lunges and sit ups. To boost your strength and aerobic capacity, you may also want to invest in some home exercise equipment.
- Dumbbells are good for any beginner to use for strength training
- If you can enjoy working with an exercise ball and a video then it is another ideal way of exercising at home
- There are many excellent work out DVDs and videos in the shops today
- The home treadmill comes highly recommended, start out slowly and build up on the time and incline as you become used to using it