Starting on the Right Foot

Jog Walk ProgramsYou keep telling yourself that you will start a workout program soon. You'll start right after "this" or as soon as "that" is done. A helpful hint in getting started is to know what to do and how to start. Following are some common guidelines to follow when beginning an exercise program.

Choose an activity you enjoy. Don't do something because you think it's a popular activity. You are more likely to stay with an activity if it's something you enjoy. If having people exercise with you is important, then join a class, club, or form your own group. When working out with a partner, be sure to choose someone with a similar fitness level. As a beginner, you may work too hard if you exercise with an experienced partner.

Starting on the Right Foot

When beginning, ease into a program and have fun. Remember, you should not try to make up for all the years you have not exercised in the first few workouts. Because your body is unaccustomed to exercise, realize that you may be stiff or sore after the first day. This soreness will pass as you continue to work the muscles. If you overdo it the first day, you may be so sore that it turns you off from exercising later.

Choose to participate in more than one activity. Anything can become boring or monotonous day after day. If you like cycling and swimming, then alternate these activities. Don't try to learn a new skill as a way to exercise unless it is very simple. A novice tennis player will burn far less energy than a proficient player. Remember to choose activities that can still be done during inclement weather. You want to exercise year round, not just in the spring or summer. A good program incorporates aerobic, strength, and flexibility components. Try for all-around conditioning, not just one aspect.

When choosing your activity, be sure to consider the availability of facilities and the cost. Some people feel they will attend more regularly if they joined a club or hire a personal trainer. Others choose to buy equipment and workout at home. Besides the equipment needed to exercise, you must wear appropriate attire. Footwear is very important. Check with an athletic shoe store so they may fit you with the proper footwear for your activity.

When possible, exercise at the same time each day. This helps to form a schedule. Once you have a routine it becomes a natural part of your week.

If you are male and older than 35 or female and over 40 or have any preexisting health concerns, please see your doctor to receive medical clearance to participate in exercise. There may be a valid reason why you should limit your participation or not exercise at all.

Everyday activities such as walking the dog, gardening, taking the stairs, and mowing the lawn are good ways of adding to your overall activity. Most important is to enjoy the activities you do. This makes the benefits even more worthwhile. You are improving your health and you're having fun too!

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