Exercise is essential for maintaining good health, but figuring out how to become more active can be difficult. If you are not accustomed to physical activity, begin with small steps. Make time for 10- to 15-minute walks every day, and work your way up to 30 minutes of brisk walking or jogging every day. Consider including strengthening exercises two or three days a week, as well as yoga or Pilates classes, to help you become stronger and more flexible. When working out, always pay attention to your body’s limits and seek medical advice if you have a history of medical problems or concerns.
Part 1 Creating an Exercise Routine
1. Make your routine specific to your level of experience. If you aren’t used to physical activity and want to establish a regular exercise regimen, start out slowly. As you gain more experience, you can try increasing the intensity of your workouts in small increments.
For example, you could begin by walking for 10 to 15 minutes at a time to get your blood flowing. After 1 to 2 weeks, you should be able to increase your time to 30 minutes. Make an effort to pick up the pace as well. For example, you might start by walking 12 miles (0.80 km) in 15 minutes, then work your way up to 2 to 3 miles (3.2 to 4.8 km) in 30 minutes, and so on.
When doing strengthening exercises, start with two sets of eight repetitions and work your way up (such as 8 push-ups). Then increase your reps by 1 to 2 per week until you can complete a set of 12 to 14 reps.
2. Warming up for 5 to 10 minutes prior to working out is recommended. You should target the muscles that you intend to exercise while using less intense movements during your warm-up period. Consider walking for 5 to 10 minutes before jogging or doing a lower body workout to warm up your muscles.
If you’re swimming, start out slowly and then pick up the pace as you go. Preparing for an upper body workout by walking or jogging and doing light jumping jacks will help to raise your heart rate and blood flow.
3. Every day, try to get in at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise. According to general guidelines, you should get at least 30 minutes of moderately intense aerobic exercise every day. Exercises such as brisk walks and jogs, running, cycling, and swimming are examples of such activities.
You should notice an increase in your heart rate and a deeper breath when you are exercising at a moderate level of intensity. Despite the fact that you should still be able to speak, you should be too exhausted to sing properly.
Recall that you have the option of dividing up your workout time into chunks and spreading them out throughout the day. If you are new to exercise, starting with 5 or 10 minutes of activity at a time can be a good way to ease your way into the habit.
4. Include strength training in your weekly routine at least twice a week. Strength training, also known as resistance training, is a type of exercise that involves strengthening your muscles with free weights, resistance bands, or your own body weight. If you’re just getting started, try doing upper and lower body workouts on separate days once a week. With time, you will be able to gradually increase the number of strength training days you include in your weekly routine to three to four.
A typical intermediate upper body workout might consist of two sets of 30-second planks and two sets of 12 reps each of crunches, push-ups, dumbbell biceps curls, and dumbbell shoulder presses, as well as two sets of 30 seconds planks.
Perform squats, glute bridges, calf raises, and lunges in two sets of 12 reps each to strengthen your legs. Squats are the most effective exercise for strengthening your legs.
In general, 30 to 60 seconds should be allowed between sets. If you want to increase your muscle power and you’re doing high-intensity weight lifting, taking a 3-minute break after each set can help you achieve greater gains in strength.
It is possible to do strength training at home or at a local gym using resistance machines.
5. Keep things interesting by changing up your daily routine. Keeping your activities fresh can help you avoid becoming bored, which can help you stay motivated to maintain your weight loss goals. Additionally, mixing up your workouts will keep your entire body engaged, which will help you avoid injuries.
For example, you could go for a jog on Monday, do upper body strength training on Tuesday, swim laps on Wednesday, do a lower body workout on Thursday, attend a yoga class on Friday, ride your bike on Saturday, and take a light walk on Sunday to get your exercise routine started.
Take advantage of strength training days to get your daily aerobic exercise by taking brisk walks, performing jumping jacks, or jumping rope before and after your workouts. It is possible to squeeze in an additional 5 or 10 minutes of aerobic exercise during your lunch break by climbing stairs and going for a walk during that time period.
It is best not to target the same muscle group on consecutive days. Doing biceps curls and shoulder presses on consecutive days, for example, is not a good idea. Muscles require rest and recovery time, and overworking them can result in injury.
6. After a workout, take a short walk for 5 to 10 minutes and stretch to cool down. Cool down exercises, like warm-up exercises, are gentler forms of exercise that are designed to ease your body into a state of rest after a period of intense activity. Walking for 5 to 10 minutes and stretching the muscles that were targeted during your workout will help you cool down.
Individual muscles should be stretched for a total of 30 to 60 seconds. For example, you might perform three to four quad stretches per leg, holding each stretch for ten seconds at a time.
Avoid stretching before you exercise because it increases your risk of injury. Stretching after exercise, while your muscles are still warm, can aid in the recovery of your muscles and the improvement of your flexibility.
Part 2 Getting Aerobic Exercise
1. Every day, take a brisk walk or jog around the block. Walking and jogging are excellent ways to stay active, especially if you’re just getting started with physical activity. You could take a 15-minute brisk walk during your lunch break, and then walk or jog around your neighbourhood for 15 minutes after dinner to burn some calories.
If you’re over the age of 50 or have a history of joint problems, jogging may be too strenuous on your knees, hips, and ankles for you. Remember to be mindful of your body’s limitations, and if necessary, stick to walking.
2. For 5 to 15 minutes, jump rope vigorously. Jumping rope is more than just a harmless game for children; it is also an excellent cardio workout. Grab a rope and attempt to jump for a total of 5 minutes straight. Even if you can only jump for a minute or two because you are not used to exercising, it is acceptable.
If you feel the need to stop, take a moment to catch your breath and regroup. Jumping rope for gradually longer periods of time is a good exercise. You could try to improve your time by 30 seconds or a minute each week until you are able to jump for at least 5 minutes without stopping.
3. Jumping jacks for 5 to 15 minutes is recommended. Begin by assuming a standing position with your legs together and arms at your sides. Then jump straight up while extending your legs outward and raising your arms together above your head to complete the movement. Return to your starting position and then repeat the process.
The same as with jumping rope, you should take frequent breaks if you start to feel fatigued. You should also try to gradually increase the length of time you can hold your jumping jacks for.
4. Embark on bicycle excursions. For starters, take short, easy bike rides around your neighbourhood, on a nearby bike trail, or in a park to get a feel for cycling. For starters, try cycling for approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) in 30 minutes, and then slowly increasing both your speed and distance.
As you become more accustomed to being physically active, try to increase your distance to 5 miles (8.0 km) in 30 minutes. Eventually, you should be able to run 4 miles (6.4 km) in 15 minutes or less.
5. Swimming laps at your local pool or fitness centre is a good exercise. Swimming is a great full-body workout that can help you mix up your workout routine by adding variety. Make a 20-minute swim session out of laps, or swim for as long as you can without getting too exhausted. It’s perfectly acceptable to need to take a break from exercising, especially if you’re just getting started.
In addition to swimming laps, you could participate in water aerobics or simply walk around in a pool to get some exercise. These are excellent choices for people who suffer from joint problems or who are significantly overweight, among other things.
6. Once you’ve gotten used to being physically active, you can try running. Take walks around your neighbourhood or look for an indoor or outdoor track in your area to run on. When running, try to maintain a steady pace for 15 to 30 minutes at a time. However, if you’re just getting started, don’t push yourself too hard.
Every week, try to increase your running time by one minute or more. Eventually, see if you can run 1 mile (1.6 km) in a straight line, keeping track of your time and attempting to reduce your time with each run.
If you’re over the age of 50 or have a history of bone or joint problems, running may be difficult on your legs. Keep in mind that your body has its own set of limitations.
7. Interval training is a great way to keep yourself motivated. Interval training is a type of exercise that involves alternating between high-intensity and low-intensity exercises. It is an excellent way to burn calories. It’s best to incorporate interval training into your routine if you’re already accustomed to regular exercise because it involves high-intensity activities such as running or sprinting. Try doing a sprint-walk routine for a good, basic interval session for your fitness.
Starting with 5 to 10 minutes of brisk walking, then 5 to 10 minutes of jogging, you’ll be ready to go! After jogging for 5 minutes, sprint for 30 to 60 seconds and then jog for another 5 minutes after that. Replace 30 to 60 seconds of jogging with 5 minutes of running at least twice or three times, and then cool down by walking for 5 to 10 minutes after each run.
Part 3 Learning Strengthening Exercises
1. Push-ups will help you to build muscle in your arms and chest. Position yourself in a face-down position with your palms flat on the floor by your shoulders. Then, while keeping your head, neck, back, and legs in alignment, take a deep breath and lift your body by extending your arms above your head. The weight of your body should be supported by your hands and toes.
Don’t lock your elbows, but instead straighten your arms. Hold yourself up for a second, then take a deep breath and slowly lower yourself back down until your nose is almost touching the ground. Continue in this manner until you have completed two sets of 12 reps.
Push-ups should be performed with your palms separated by a wider distance to add variety to your routine. As you do push-ups, you could also keep your arms close to your body in order to shift the work from your chest to your triceps.
2. Try to maintain a plank position for 30 to 45 seconds. As if you were about to perform a push-up, begin by lying face-down on the floor and focusing on your breathing. Raise your body and place your weight on your forearms and toes to support yourself. Make an effort to hold the pose for at least 30 seconds before lowering yourself to the floor and resting for 30 to 60 seconds before repeating the process.
Maintain a straight line between your head, neck, and back while holding the pose. You should avoid looking up; instead, maintain a neutral position with your head facing the floor.
If holding the plank for 30 seconds isn’t difficult enough, try holding it for 1 minute or longer.
Keep in mind to keep your breathing regular while you’re holding the plank.
3. Crunches are a great way to tone your abdominal muscles. Laying down on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor is a good place to start. Lie down on the floor with your hands crossed across your chest or behind your head. Contract your abdominal muscles and exhale as you slowly raise your upper torso off of the floor.
Lift your torso until your shoulder blades are off the floor, hold for 1 to 2 seconds, and then slowly lower yourself back to the ground while taking a deep breath to do so. Continue in this manner until you have completed two sets of 12 reps.
Slow, controlled motions should be used to avoid injury and to make your muscles work more efficiently.
If you place your hands behind your head, do not use them to pull your head and neck up with your hands. To avoid injury, simply rest your fingertips on the back of your head or cross your hands over your chest while you walk down the street.
4. Bridges are a great way to work your glutes and core muscles. Lie down on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, your arms by your sides, and your arms by your sides. Slowly raise your hips and lower back off the floor while taking a deep breath in and out. Engage your core muscles as you do this. To keep your balance, lift yourself up until your shoulders and knees form a straight line, and keep your arms flat on the floor.
Remember to hold the lifted position for 1 to 2 seconds before taking a deep breath and slowly lowering yourself back to the starting position. Repeat the procedure until you have completed two sets of 12 bridges.
To make it more difficult, try holding yourself in the raised position while raising and extending one leg straight from the ground. Lower the leg back to the floor, then repeat the process on the other side. Finally, lower yourself to the ground.
5. Squats are a great way to build leg strength. Maintain a balanced posture by keeping your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing slightly outward. Your back should be straight and your arms by your sides or crossed across your chest. Slowly bend your knees and lower your hips as if you were going to sit in a chair, keeping your torso aligned and core muscles engaged throughout the movement.
As you lower your hips and bring your weight back to your heels, stick your rear end out. Maintain alignment between your knees and toes, and avoid bending your knees past your toes.
Continue lowering yourself until your thighs are roughly parallel to the floor, and then push your feet into the floor through your heels to raise yourself back to the starting position, repeating the procedure.
As you lower yourself, take a deep breath in and exhale as you exert your legs and raise yourself. Repeat the procedure for a total of two sets of 12 squats.
6. Burpees are a great full-body exercise that can be done anywhere. Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, then jumping and dropping to a crouched position is a good idea. Place your palms flat on the floor and thrust your legs back to get into the push-up position, then perform one push-up rep after the other.
Following the push-up, return your legs to the crouching position and then jump straight up with your hands raised to return to the standing position, as shown in the video. Continue until you have completed two sets of 12 burpees.
7. Invest in free weights or a gym membership to help you get in shape. While you can perform a variety of strengthening exercises without the use of weights, dumbbells, barbells, and resistance machines can help you get more out of your workouts by increasing the intensity. To avoid injury, begin with lighter weights and avoid pushing your body beyond its natural limits during your workout.
Choosing weights that are difficult for you while still allowing you to maintain proper form is important. Examine yourself in the mirror to ensure that your reps are smooth, steady, and controlled throughout the set. Using lighter weights will help you maintain your balance and keep you from falling off during a set of exercises.
Try doing two sets of 12 biceps curls to see how it goes. Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold a dumbbell weight in each hand by your sides, and repeat the process. Lifting the dumbbells to your shoulders requires you to bend your elbows while keeping them close to your side. Inhale as you return to the starting position, and exhale as you contract your biceps to the maximum extent possible.
Exercises for the shoulders are performed by raising the dumbbells by your shoulders and keeping your elbows bent. Exhale as you raise your arms straight above your head, bringing the dumbbells back to your shoulders, and repeat for a total of two sets of twelve repetitions.
Consult with a trainer or a knowledgeable friend to ensure that you are using proper form. If you plan to use resistance machines at the gym, you should have a trainer show you how to use them properly.
Part 4 Boosting Your Balance and Flexibility
1. After you’ve warmed up your muscles, it’s time to stretch. Only those muscles should be stretched after they have been actively used and have received increased blood flow. Stretching muscles that are cold and inactive increases the risk of injury. Holding the pose steadily instead of bouncing in and out of it is important whenever you are stretching. While moving into a stretch, take a deep breath in and exhale while holding the pose.
In order to stretch your hamstrings, you should sit on the floor with your legs crossed in front of you. Reach as far as you possibly can toward your toes until you feel a stretch in the backs of your legs, and then hold the stretch for 15 to 20 seconds.
Stand up and lean against a chair or a wall for support to stretch your quads. Gently pull your right foot toward your rear end, grabbing your toes with your right hand, and bringing your right foot toward your rear end. You should feel a stretch in the front of your thigh. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds, then switch to your left leg and repeat the process.
The most basic shoulder stretch involves pulling your right elbow across the front of your body and toward the opposite shoulder until you notice a stretch in your right shoulder and back. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds, then switch to the other arm and repeat the process.
Standing next to a wall and placing your palms flat against it at shoulder height will help you to stretch your calf muscles. While keeping your arms straight and your feet firmly planted on the floor, extend your right leg back and slightly bend your left knee. Press your right calf into the wall until you feel a stretch, then hold the pose for 15 to 20 seconds before repeating on the other side.
2. Start a yoga practise right away. Yoga, in addition to improving balance and flexibility, can also help you maintain a healthy level of concentration while managing your stress. You could enrol in classes at a local gym, community centre, or yoga studio, or you could practise at home with the help of online or DVD guides and resources.
Taking a group exercise class, whether it’s yoga or tai chi, is a great way to stay on track with your fitness goals. It is possible that adding a social component to your exercise routine will make it more enjoyable, and you will feel a greater need to hold yourself accountable.
3. Consider taking up Pilates as a form of exercise. Pilates is a series of movements inspired by yoga and dance that combines aerobic, balance, and flexibility training in a fun and effective manner. Pilates is similar to yoga in that you can join a local group to practise with or enrol in a Pilates class at a local gym or studio.
While group classes may be a good way to spice up your routine, Pilates DVDs and online video guides are also excellent options.
4. Dancing is a great way to stay active. Dancing, whether it is ballet or flamenco, can be a strenuous form of exercise. This exercise can increase your flexibility, provide aerobic or endurance training, and improve your coordination. Find a local group to practise with, or enrol in a class at a local gym or community centre to learn more about the sport.
Learn to line dance or take a dance fitness class can be entertaining, but you can also put on your favourite music and dance around the house.
5. Incorporate tai chi into your daily exercise routine. Tai chi is a Chinese martial art that consists of a series of slow movements performed in succession. It can assist you in improving your balance, flexibility, and concentration, and it is a good stress-management technique. Because it is a low-impact form of exercise, it is a good choice if you are elderly, have a history of medical issues, or have recently suffered an injury, among other reasons.
Look for tai chi classes at a local gym or studio, or look for video guides on the internet.
Part 5 Fitting Exercise into a Busy Schedule
1. Find small pockets of time throughout the day to be physically active. You are not required to devote hours of your day to physical activity. Find ways to squeeze in physical activity into short periods of time when you would otherwise be sedentary.
As an example, while waiting for the water to boil or for your coffee to be ready, perform squats on the floor.
Planks should be performed for one minute when you first wake up in the morning.
Every hour at work, take a 5-minute break to walk around the office and stretch your muscles.
2. Reduce the amount of time you spend sitting. Spending the majority of your day seated in a desk chair is taxing on your physical health. Make use of a standing desk, or even a standing desk in conjunction with a treadmill, to improve your posture. If that is not an option for you, simply make an effort to get up and walk around on a regular basis as much as possible.
Alternatively, you could try sitting on an exercise ball instead of a desk chair for a while. Because you’ll need to engage your core muscles in order to maintain your balance on the ball, it’ll feel a little bit like you’re doing a workout even though you’re sitting.
3. Instead of taking the elevator, take the stairwell. Instead of taking the elevator to get to your apartment or office, you should use the stairwell instead. If you are unable to make it up a five-story walk-up, start with one or two sets of stairs and work your way up one floor at a time.
The act of climbing stairs can result in a calorie burn that is up to twice that of walking for the same amount of time.
4. Instead of driving, take a walk or ride your bike. Whenever possible, walk or ride your bike to nearby destinations rather than driving to those destinations. For example, by walking to the grocery store a few times a week, you can turn grocery shopping into a workout.
If your place of employment is too far away to travel by bicycle, you could take the bus and get off a few stops early to walk the rest of the way to your destination.
Some buses have bike racks or allow folding bikes to be brought on board, so you could alternate between cycling and taking the bus for part of your commute.
Try parking a few blocks away from your destination, or at the far end of a shopping center’s parking lot, if you have to drive.
Part 6 Exercising Safely
1. Make an appointment with your doctor before beginning a new exercise regiment. If you have a family history of heart disease, bone, muscle, or joint disease, or if you have any other medical conditions, it is especially important to see a doctor. Inquire with your doctor for guidance on how to begin exercising safely and for recommendations on exercises that are beneficial for your specific condition.
It is important to seek medical attention if you experience pain, dizziness, difficulty breathing, or any other troubling symptoms while exercising.
2. Ensure that you drink plenty of water prior to, during, and after exercising. Drink about 2 cups (470 mL) of water before you exercise, and 1 cup (240 mL) every 15 to 20 minutes during your workout to keep your body hydrated. Your body will require additional water to assist in the functioning of your muscles and to replenish the fluids lost through perspiration.
Sports drinks can also aid in the replacement of salts and minerals lost through perspiration. If you’re trying to lose weight, however, you should limit your intake of sports drinks because they contain a lot of sugar and can add extra calories to your diet.
It’s also a good idea to consume a nutritious source of protein or complex carbohydrates after exercising. Fruit, nuts, a peanut butter sandwich, lean meat, cheese, whole grain crackers, or a protein bar are all examples of healthy snacks.
3. Dress in clothes that are appropriate for your activity. Generally speaking, dress in clothing that will not restrict your movement or blood flow. Some forms of exercise, such as biking, may necessitate the wearing of form-fitting clothing, but these should not be too tight. Stronger workout clothes, brisk walking, and sports such as basketball or soccer are all better suited for looser workout attire.
Make certain that your clothing is appropriate for the weather. Wearing short sleeves and light, breathable fabrics in hot weather is recommended, while wearing layers in cold weather is recommended.
4. If you experience pain while exercising, you should stop. The adage “no pain, no gain” should not be taken to heart. If you experience any soreness or sharp pain, you should discontinue the activity. As much as possible, try to keep the affected area as still as possible until the pain subsides.
If you believe you’ve injured yourself, you may be able to treat yourself at home if you follow these steps. Rest, apply ice for 20 minutes every 3 to 4 hours, compress the injured area with athletic tape, and try to keep the injured area elevated around the level of the heart (if possible). Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen to help manage your discomfort.
If you hear a popping sound, are experiencing severe pain, have uncontrolled bleeding, are unable to move or bear weight on a joint, or if mild to moderate symptoms do not improve within 1 to 2 weeks, seek medical attention right away.
5. Wearing athletic shoes that provide support and cushioning is recommended. When you’re out shoe shopping, look for athletic shoes with rubber soles that are both durable and comfortable. A good pair of shoes should not be able to be bent in half, so take a shoe by the toe and heel and gently press down on the soles to see if they resist pressure.
Shoes should be comfortable to wear; they should not be too tight, and your toes should be able to reach the tips of the shoes without feeling restricted. When determining the fit of a pair of shoes, it is always a good idea to try them on both feet.
Shoes that are appropriate for the activity you are participating in, such as running shoes or basketball shoes, should be worn. Different activities place different amounts of strain on your feet in different ways. Running shoes, for example, provide the flexibility necessary for a proper running step, but they do not provide the ankle support required for sports such as tennis or basketball.
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