If you are very out of shape and looking to get healthier you should consider starting an exercise program. However, as a beginner you will need to be extra careful with your workouts so as not to hurt yourself or lose motivation by attempting exercises that are too difficult for beginners. Here’s how to set up a rock solid program that is suitable for you.
Step one is to see your doctor and make sure you get clearance to begin an exercise program. Tell your doctor you plan to start slowly and gradually increase the difficulty as your stamina and strength improves. Once you get the go-ahead from your doctor, it’s time to start down the path to better fitness.
The basic components of a sound fitness routine are cardiovascular exercise, strength training and flexibility exercise. You need all three to take your body to the next level, no matter what your condition is at the beginning.
In order to build cardiovascular strength you will need to work up to 30 minutes per day of aerobic activity, five days per week. Examples include running, biking, speed walking, swimming or any activity or sport that gets your heart rate up for an extended period. As a beginner, you won’t do 30 minutes all at once. That would be too much of a strain for someone who hasn’t exercised in a while. So, the plan should be to start with 10 minutes, five days per week. After a week at that pace increase the duration to 15 and continue to increase by five minutes every week until you reach your goal of 30 minutes, five days per week. It doesn’t sound like much but within two weeks you should begin to notice that you can do things like walk long distances or up stairways much easier.
Flexibility exercises are important to keep your muscles and connective tissues supple so that your movement is fluid and painless. The best time to stretch is after a cardiovascular workout or strength training session. It is also a good idea to stretch a little throughout the day to avoid stiffness. Stretches can be done while standing, in a seated position or on the floor. Exercise bands made of elastic material can be of great assistance. All major muscle groups should be stretched. Research beginning stretches for pictures or videos that illustrate each exercise. One important point is to hold each stretch for several seconds. Around 15 seconds is ideal. Go slow and ease into the stretch. Stop if you feel pain and never bounce as that can cause injury.
To begin a strength training program you will need to workout three days per week, skipping a day in-between each workout. Again, you will want to do some research to find pictures, descriptions or videos of exercises that work all the major muscle groups. Divide the exercises up between the three strength training days so that you work different muscle groups at each workout with a day of rest in between each workout day. As a beginner, you should start with lighter weights and do two sets of 10-15 repetitions of each exercise. As you build strength, perhaps every two weeks or so, you will want to increase the weight and reduce the repetitions. It is a good idea, as a beginning weight lifter, to workout at a gym so that you can get advice and support from the trainers. There are many plans and some experimentation may be needed to find out what works best for you after you have reached a basic level of fitness.
So, there you have it. Combine cardiovascular, flexibility and strength training and in just a few weeks you will be well on your way to the fitter body you have been wanting. Proceed slowly and gently as you gradually increase the duration and intensity of your workouts for maximum effectiveness in all three areas of fitness.