Easing into an Exercise Routine
November 7, 2017
The key to regular, effective exercise is to start with a short, light routine and build upon that. Exercise regimens vary greatly from person to person, and the cardio portion of that is no exception. Pick what works for you.
Over time, you can incorporate small weights or add repetitions as your fitness level improves. If one long session isn’t doable, opt for shorter routines multiple times a day. Movement is the perfect antidote for fatigue, boredom, restlessness or anxiety. It can also combat hunger.
Starting With Gentle, Low Impact
You may be surprised just how much you can achieve from simple movements. The key is that you keep moving smoothly from one activity to the next, with consistent sets of repetitions. It’s something you can do while watching TV or waiting on hold on the phone. Start with two sets of 5 to 10 repetitions each, and work from the top down:
A good starting point is 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity three days a week. When you first begin—especially if you’re not used to exercising—very basic movements can get your heart pumping.
As your body heals and you feel more confident, you can try more challenging exercises that raise your heart rate and get your body moving for more extended periods of time. Some activities to try include:
- Moderate, stationary cycling
- Walking on a treadmill or outside
- Lap swimming
- Water aerobics
You can also substitute a walk around the neighborhood or a loop around the park. Is the library, school or post office a 10- or 15-minute walk away? If you have to stay for a child’s soccer practice, walk the perimeters of the fields. Exercise can happen at any time and just about anywhere, so don’t be afraid to use the time and space you have.
Adding Elements of Strength
As your endurance improves, you may find yourself contemplating ways to continue improving. Some people like adding small weights or intervals of strength training to aerobic exercise. If you opt for weights, use light, handheld ones—just a pound or so—to avoid injury. Some activities to try include:
Granted, weights don’t always appeal to everyone. Other activities that build strength could include bodyweight activities like yoga or walking up stairs.
Maintaining a Daily Regimen for Your Fitness Lifestyle
Most people who maintain their hard-won weight loss credit using a variety of exercises and incorporating vigor and movement into an active lifestyle. Inside or out, the options are endless. Set your timer for 20 minutes, and you can fit in a session of just about any activity, from jogging and dancing to kickboxing or Zumba.
Once you become accustomed to working out, finding a gym may be your next step, offering extended exercise options and equipment variety. Just start with what you can do. The trick is to find the activity you like, set time aside to do it and enjoy the benefits of a great workout.