Beginning A New Exercise Routine
Beginning a new exercise program can be challenging and requires that you take a few precautions, especially if you are out of shape and haven't exercised for a while.
First of all you should consult your doctor before you begin to start any exercise routine. You do this for two reasons. One, you don't want to push yourself beyond what your body can safely do. For example, if you have high blood pressure, strenuous exercise may push your blood pressure into the danger zone where you are at risk for having a heart attack or stroke. So find out what your health issues are before you begin.
The second reason to see a doctor is that you want to have a baseline to compare yourself against in a few months time. After three months of exercising, has your blood pressure decreased? Is your weight down? What about your percentage of body fat, has that decreased? Good results can give you added incentive to keep going with your exercise program. Poor results can let you know that your exercise program is not working and needs to be modified.
Once you decide to get in shape, you may feel like just jumping into an activity full bore. But to get in shape after a long period of being sedentary and not exercising at all, you need to take it slow in the beginning. Weekend warriors are famous for getting injured because they think they can do more than their bodies are actually capable of.
So beginners should pace themselves in the beginning. If an exercise calls for thirty minutes of activity, and you start to get tired after 5 minutes, that's a clear sign to slow down and alter your routine until you can gradually work yourself up to thirty minutes. The key is to let your body be your guide. If you learn to listen to your body, there's much less chance of you overexerting yourself.
Whether you exercise a lot or infrequently, warm up exercises are necessary before starting your main routine. Warm-up exercises help to loosen and stretch the muscles and joints. They also increase circulation in your body slowly so your blood pressure and heart rate don't have a sudden build up or spike. Warm ups mainly help to prevent injuries to your muscles, such as muscle pulls or strains. Warming up doesn't mean that you will completely eliminate the chance of injury. It simply lessens the chance that it will happen.
Many times when a person decides to get in shape, they have in mind one particular body part. For example, they might want to get 6 pack abs, or they want to lose weight in their hip area. But the best exercise plan is one that gives you a full body workout. Ideally you want to work every muscle and joint in your body. And that includes your heart muscle so that your cardiovascular system is improved. And then, once you've done this you can concentrate and work on the areas of your body that you are really interested in.
Written by James Fraley, who writes articles on health related topics related to health foods and exercise. Here is another story by James about getting in shape, which can be found here.