Exercise along with a healthy diet is the recommended way to lose weight. The first step in beginning an exercise program and or weight loss diet is to set short-term goals – goals that can be achieved in 30 days, as opposed to imagining the perfect body at year’s end. Many small steps will lead up to your eventual goal. Envision very short-term health goals – losing an inch or a dress size, running a mile, or gaining a half-inch on a certain muscle or body part. All are possible in a one-month stint. Losing five pounds in a month is altogether achievable since dropping a pound to a pound and a half in a week is a reasonable, safe estimate. Five or six pounds per month is a very conservative goal.
A workout buddy can encourage you to push yourself, and more accountable to make your workouts when you might consider taking it easy when working solo or think of excuses not to work out at all. It’s easier to give up and blow off a workout if you’re going it alone. So find someone fun, someone in a little better shape than you to keep up with, someone who enjoys working out. Having a workout buddy is probably the next best thing to a trainer.
People who have been doing a lot of aerobics and have stopped getting results should give strength training a go. As your body becomes accustomed to a routine, it becomes catabolic (the familiar “plateau”) and responds less and less over time. The only way to increase metabolism is to change the routine. If your cardio routine has gotten “flat”, strength training will show you additional results. Cardio and weight training is unquestionably the optimum method of exercise for health and fat loss. For women afraid of “bulking up”, forget it! Body fat is twice as “bulky” as muscle since it’s not as dense as muscle, and takes up a lot more space. Increase muscle and you will decrease body fat, and your body will actually look and be smaller.
“Squats” are without a doubt the single most important weight training exercise. Your “gluts” (butt) are the largest muscles in the body and exercising these will give you the most bang for your buck! Twice a week at 4sets of 10 reps is just about perfect.
For exercises to keep working over time, it’s necessary to “progress” and vary or change your workout. The body is highly adaptable – what works today won’t work tomorrow. Changing the order of the exercise, the amount of weights, or number of sets and reps will force the body to adapt (which is what it appears to be designed for). Simply switching the order of exercise can give your body something “new” to enjoy.
You want your body to be an efficient calorie burning machine. When you exercise (in the gym or to a workout video), your body is burning primarily carbohydrates (glucose or blood sugar) for the first half-hour or so. When the carbs are depleted, your body starts on the fat. Remember that, during the day, many more calories are burned outside the gym than in the gym. You want a situation in which fat is being metabolized and used for energy. The “calorie-counters” that display on most of the aerobic machines (stairmaster, treadmill, etc.) are important in judging the intensity of the workout. Three 1-hour sessions a week in the gym are recommended by many government studies. However, daily exercise in the form of walking, gardening, or anything else that gets you on your feet and off your couch is crucial to your good health.
According to an old Middle Eastern saying, “Every hour of physical exercise is an hour added to your life”. Exercise routines should last at least 20 to 30 minutes and be done at least 3 days a week. For more dramatic results increase your program to 45 to 50 minutes 5 days a week.
Strength-training, such as weight lifting, is particularly valuable in developing muscle strength, increasing bone density, lowering your body weight, and decreasing insulin sensitivity.
Also important are activities that bear your body’s weight, such as walking, jogging and dancing. Besides strengthening muscles and bones, you also improve your balance and coordination, reducing “physical ditziness”.
Aerobics strengthen the heart and lungs and should be part of your routine. Examples of good aerobic exercises include: jogging, swimming, walking, running, dancing, racket sports, cross-country skiing, rowing, rope skipping, and cycling. Aerobic activity efficiently burns calories, which helps to reduce body fat.
Aerobic activity is any activity that speeds up your heart and breathing while moving your body at a regular and sustained pace for at least 12 minutes. If you have been inactive for a while, you may want to start with easier activities such as walking at a gentle pace. This lets you build up to more intense activity without hurting your body.
Regular aerobic activity can strengthen your heart muscle and lower your blood pressure. It may also help lower cholesterol, a type of fat in your blood, relieve tension, and decrease stress. As you get fit, it can help to build confidence and improve your self-image.
Adjustments in programs need to be made for children, pregnant women, obese adults, elderly people, disabled people, and heart-attack survivors. Programs should also be modified for high altitudes and extreme hot or cold conditions.