Beginner exercise can be done alone or with a class.
Adding a fitness program to your life is an excellent lifestyle change that can improve your physical and emotional health. If you're a beginner and have been sedentary, it's important to make slow changes that allow you to safely and successfully transition from being inactive to active. Whether your fitness goal is to lose weight, tone muscles or both, you can achieve them by incorporating exercise into your life.
Before you start your fitness program, there are a few things you should do to prepare yourself for a plan that leads to success. A visit to your healthcare provider should be at the top of your list. Your doctor can discuss the types of exercises you can do and give the okay to exercise. Once you're ready to start, begin slowly - no matter what the recommended amounts of exercise are. It's better to get through ten minutes of exercise per day and feel good about your accomplishment than to struggle through one hour of exercise and suffer for days afterward. Wear comfortable clothing and footwear that are appropriate for the exercises you choose. If you plan to start off with something simple like walking or riding your bike, a pair of cross-trainers will be a good choice.
Cardiovascular exercise, or aerobic exercise, is excellent for heart health, weight loss and weight maintenance. This heart-pumping exercise burns calories while strengthening the heart muscle. It's recommended that you engage in 150 to 300 minutes of cardio per week. As a beginner, you may want to start out with a lot less. Aim for 15 minutes or so of daily cardio exercise to start, and add another five minutes to your cardio time each week. In time, you'll find yourself within the recommended range. Effective cardio workouts include the following: swimming, stationary bike and aerobics. Always start and finish your cardio workout with a five- to ten-minute warm up and cooldown.
Strength Training Exercises
You don't need to have a goal of getting big, buff muscles to incorporate strength training into your fitness program. Doing weight-bearing exercises increases your muscle mass, gives you a toned, slender look and helps you maintain bone density. Two to three strength training sessions per week that last about 20 minutes each are sufficient for gaining muscle strength and bone density. You can do these types of exercise with weights or with your body weight. Start out with simple exercises like lunges and squats for the leg, hip and butt muscles. Add trunk rotations for your abdominal muscles, and bicep curls, triceps kickbacks and lateral raises for your arms, chest and back.
Flexibility exercises are a vital part of any fitness program because they help you maintain a full range of motion by keeping your muscles and joints limber. Like strength training exercises, you only need to do flexibility exercises two to three times per week. A ten minute session of stretching is sufficient to help keep your muscles loose and flexible. Tack on stretching exercises to the end of your cardio routine since your body will already be warmed up. Flexibility moves such as reaching for the sky, toe-touchers, and calf and thigh stretches will work wonders to help you avoid tight muscles and a decreased range of motion.