Exercise-The Magic Pill
No diet is ever going to work effectively if exercise is not a part of the regime. In fact, many experts refer to exercise as the “magic pill.”
If you are a beginner to an exercise program, it is important to keep yourself safe. Jumping in too quickly to rigorous activity can pose risks to your health. Always, always consult with your family doctor before choosing an exercise program, especially if you have health conditions that could be exacerbated by strenuous activity. Some of these health conditions can include heart issues, diabetes, recent gastric bypass surgery, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
Another very important thing to remember is to know when to stop. Absolutely expect some soreness after a workout (this could take a couple of days to rear its ugly head), but if you experience pain during exercise, take warning. That means you are probably overdoing it. Some other things to be aware of should be chest pain, pain in the left side of the neck, arm or shoulder, dizziness or nausea, cold sweats, cramping, sharp pains in bones or joints, and an irregular heartbeat.
Always be sure to warm up in order to avoid straining your muscles. Make sure to rest between exercise periods, as well. Stress fractures can occur if you are strenuously exercising over long periods of time. Start slowly, go slowly. Going too quickly and too vigorously can cause exhaustion, injury, aggravation, and quitting.
The best way to get into a lasting exercise program is to follow three general stages:
1) Start with cardiovascular activities. Try walking or jogging slowly for 20-30 minutes 4-5 times a week. A good indication of a safe pace is to test your ability to carry on a conversation. You should be able to talk without becoming winded. If you are able to break out in song, you are probably not working hard enough.
2) Some strength conditioning should be added to your program. Start with one set of exercises focused on a particular muscle group. Do these two times per week, but don’t target the same muscle group two days in a row.
3) Add some flexibility exercises. These include slow sustained stretches 3-7 days per week. Always, always stretch AFTER a workout.
If you are planning on exercising at home, some basic things to begin with are:
1) Walking briskly (start with 5-10 minutes and work your way up in 5 minute intervals until you reach a 30 minute walk).
2) Interval training (push yourself for 1-2 minutes, back off for 2-10 minutes, repeat).
3) Squats (this targets multiple lower body muscular groups and gives you the most bang for your buck).
4) Lunges (this works the lower body and is often described as “exaggerated walking”).
5) Pushups (start at the counter level, and as strength builds work down to doing the exercise on by leaning on a desk, a chair, with bent knee on the floor, and finally on the floor on your toes).
Finally, make it an enjoyable experience. Find a friend to commit with you so you have a support system and a buddy. Add some music, and boogie your way on to a more fit, more healthy body!