Advice about The proper way to exercise can be about as fleeting as the newest fad diet. Do I have to work out every day, or three times a week? For hours or minutes? Should I run or walk or do aerobics? That can depend on who you ask . Part of the reason the recommendations keep changing is because there are lots of good quality studies being done on what is best for us and we are learning more accurate information all the time. For now what is consistent in all of the new accurate information we are gaining is that exercise is important and you should be doing it.

Make a Plan

The first thing you are going to need is a plan. We already know that exercising is AWESOME for you. If you want to know why, check out my

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article here. Now is the time to do it. But first you need to narrow down on what you are trying to accomplish. Do you want to be stronger? Have more energy? Maintain your weight? Run a race? Different types of workouts will stand a better chance of getting you to success. (1) It will also be more likely that you will stick with your plan if you have a goal in mind that you really want to reach.

 

Now that you have figured out where you and your body are headed chances are it will take some sacrifice and/or creativity on your part to get your plan started. It is important, especially in the beginning to be realistic about your current fitness level and kind to yourself. If you start out full speed you will likely end up work out and discouraged. (2) Keeping your goal in the back of your mind may help you find that 10 minute space and be able to grab your weights for a quick toning video. At first, if the couch is still warm from where you left your cozy spot you will probably want to make sure your workouts are not overwhelming. It is far more important for you to be able to exercise regularly than to do mammoth sessions that test you to the core. If you know you can set aside 30 minutes on the weekend for a walk or run, write it down, set your alarm, whatever you need, then try to add to that. Maybe a 20 minute video from a great app would work for Wednesday evening, and another on Friday evening. That is a good start. Succeed, first, and then you can start upping the dosage as you get more confident. (3)

 

There are different categories of exercise that may suit your goals and abilities. The most broad categories are aerobic exercise, strength training, balance training and flexibility. (4) Ideally you should be trying to find time to fit in each of these types regularly. (5) To help you understand what each of these accomplishes and looks like I think it would be best to deal with each kind individually.

 

Aerobic Exercise

 

I bet you are imagining rows of legging-clad women jumping and punching their way to fitness to the beat of today’s top 40. That is one way to include aerobic exercise into your life, but this type of exercise is hardly restricted to fit females. As a matter of fact science is finding that possibly one of the best exercises out there is one almost everyone can do: walking. (6)  An activity we do daily, often without thinking about it shouldn’t be too intimidating. The key to making sure that walking, or other aerobic activity is doing the job of getting you toward your fitness goal is to make sure you do this long enough and at a high enough intensity to challenge you. (7) You may need to work with your doctor if you have health concerns that you are being treated for. For physical improvements it is usually best to workout for 30 minute 3 times a week, but even slower and less frequent walks can still help raise your spirits and lower your stress. (8) The most important thing to remember about aerobic exercise is to find a way to make sure it continues on a regular basis.  

Strength Training

 

Believe it or not, grunting is completely optional when participating in the kind of strength training that makes normal people healthy. Not only are

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there ways to gain strength in which free weights and Rube-Goldberg gym machines are not necessary, often your own body weight is enough to start building healthy muscles and bones at first. (9) The main thing to remember is that you want to train your muscles to the point where they can’t do more. (10) That may not mean doing many repetitions of an exercise at first, but over time you will need to increase either the repetitions, the amount of weight used or both. Often when you do get to the point where you need more than bodyweight you can find low cost ways to enter the strength training scene, from investing in a kettlebell, to getting adjustable barbells.(11) 

Balance training

 

Our balance is often not a thought to us in our daily life. If we have trouble lifting something our lack of strength is easily apparent. When we are out of breath after climbing stairs, we know we need to work on our

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aerobic abilities. Balance is more a part of our lives than you think, especially as we age. (12) For example, how easy is it for you to get up and down out of a chair? That involves balance. Good balance can prevent falls, which is a major problem for aging adults. (13) What does exercising for balance look like? Some of them are rather obvious, like standing on one leg. They can even be as simple as shifting your weight side to side. (14) If you want to try something more formal, attend a Tai Chi class. The slow, graceful movements are perfect for promoting stability. (15) Gaining balance can typically coincide well with your everyday workout, so consider adding just a little more tree pose to your life.

Flexibility

 

Many people resign themselves to the idea that flexibility belongs to the young. Sure, Grandma doesn’t need to be doing the splits, but flexibility is

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valuable at any age. One of the best things about maintaining flexibility is that it can prevent injuries. It also allows you to be more a part of your day to day life. You are able to move just a bit more and just a bit better. (16) An obvious choice of exercise to increase flexibility is yoga. (17) There are lots of ways to incorporate yoga into your life. You could go with looking up your local yoga studio, or google a yoga video to stretch with at home. If you would rather just throw in some stretching following your cardio workout that is a great option as well. Just take your time and be consistent. (18)

 

Be Safe

 

Now that you are active in all of these areas that are going to whip you into shape I need to throw in a word of caution. How do you do all of this safely? First of all, know thyself. Do you know you are on medication for a condition, or are concerned about what exercise is best for you and your

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current body condition? Then by all means consult your doctor first. After you have taken the steps you need to in that area make sure you come at exercise with some common sense. (19) Don’t run a marathon the day you get up off the couch.  Don’t keep stretching so far you are in serious pain. Moving beyond the obvious, it is also a good idea to wear clothes appropriate to the activity you are doing, and the weather you will be in. (20) Ease into activities and  warm up and cool down before and after the exercise session. (21) In general make sure the discomfort you feel with exercise is the right kind. It may take a while to recognize the difference between and injury and the run of the mill muscle soreness that can be expected when you begin to challenge yourself, so keep your doctor in the loop if you are unsure. The most important thing is to get yourself out there and start being active, no matter what your current movement and ability level is. You won’t regret it.

 

  1. Eenfeldt, Andreas. “The Best Way to Exercise for Beginners.” Diet Doctor, 5 Mar. 2015, www.dietdoctor.com/best-way-exercise-beginner. Accessed 2 Nov. 2018.
  2. “12 Tips to Help You Stick With Exercise.” Web MD, edited by Carol DerSarkissian, 14 June 2017, www.webmd.com/men/stick-with-fitness-plan#1. Accessed 2 Nov. 2018.
  3. Henry, Alan. “How To Motivate Yourself Into an Exercise Routine You’ll Actually Stick To.” Life Hacker, 10 Oct. 2012, lifehacker.com/5950484/how-to-motivate-yourself-into-an-exercise-routine-youll-actually-stick-to. Accessed 2 Nov. 2018.
  4. Rettner, Rachael. “The 4 Types of Exercise You Need to Be Healthy.” Live Science, 8 July 2016, www.livescience.com/55317-exercise-types.html. Accessed 2 Nov. 2018.
  5. ” The 4 most important types of exercise.” Harvard Health, Jan. 2017, www.health.harvard.edu/exercise-and-fitness/the-4-most-important-types-of-exercise. Accessed 2 Nov. 2018.
  6. Stulberg, Brad. “Walking Might Be the Best Exercise There Is.” Outside Online, 10 Sept. 2018, www.outsideonline.com/2342346/walking-might-be-best-exercise-there. Accessed 2 Nov. 2018.
  7. “Aerobic Exercise & Heart Health.” Cleveland Clinic, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/16779-aerobic-exercise–heart-health. Accessed 2 Nov. 2018.
  8. Godman, Heidi. “Regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory, thinking skills.” Harvard Health, edited by Heidi Godman, 9 Apr. 2014, www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110. Accessed 2 Nov. 2018.
  9. Talens, Dick. “Are Bodyweight Exercises Effective?.” Life Hacker, 6 Feb. 2015, vitals.lifehacker.com/are-bodyweight-exercises-effective-1684200011. Accessed 2 Nov. 2018.
  10. Rettner, Rachael. “Strength Exercise: Everything You Need to Know.” Live Science, 8 July 2016, www.livescience.com/55324-strength-exercise.html. Accessed 2 Nov. 2018.
  11. “Best 19 Small Exercise Equipment for Home.” Fit Body Buzz, 11 Oct. 2018, fitbodybuzz.com/compact-small-exercise-equipment-home/. Accessed 5 Nov. 2018.
  12. Watson, Stephanie. “Balance Training.” WebMD, edited by William Blahd, 21 Nov. 2016, www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/a-z/balance-training. Accessed 5 Nov. 2018.
  13. “Balance Exercise.” Heart.org, 18 Apr. 2018, www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/balance-exercise. Accessed 5 Nov. 2018.
  14. “Balance Exercises.” Mayo Clinic, 7 Feb. 2018, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/multimedia/balance-exercises/sls-20076853. Accessed 5 Nov. 2018.
  15. Watson, Stephanie. “Try tai chi to improve balance, avoid falls.” Harvard Health, 23 Aug. 2012, www.health.harvard.edu/blog/try-tai-chi-to-improve-balance-avoid-falls-201208235198. Accessed 5 Nov. 2018.
  16. “The Importance of Flexibility.” fitness.com, www.fitness.com/articles/660/the_importance_of_flexibility.php. Accessed 5 Nov. 2018.McDonald, Ted. “9 Yoga Stretches to Increase Flexibility.”
  17. Beachbody on Demand, 17 Jan. 2018, www.beachbodyondemand.com/blog/9-yoga-stretches-for-flexibility. Accessed 5 Nov. 2018.
  18. “Stretching Exercises: How to Get Flexible Quickly and Safely.” GMB, 6 Nov. 2016, gmb.io/get-flexible-fast/. Accessed 5 Nov. 2018.
  19. “10 tips to exercise safely.” Better Health.vic.gov.au, June 2015, www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ten-tips/10-tips-to-exercise-safely. Accessed 5 Nov. 2018.
  20. “10 tips for exercising safely.” Harvard Health, www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/10-tips-for-exercising-safely. Accessed 5 Nov. 2018.
  21. “How to Stay Safe During Exercise and Physical Activity.” go4life, go4life.nia.nih.gov/how-to-stay-safe-during-exercise-and-physical-activity/ . Accessed 5 Nov. 2018.

 

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