Exercise, Fitness 101

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How To Get Started With An Exercise Program

You’ve decided it’s time to start exercising. Congratulations! You’ve taken the first step on your way to a new and improved body and mind.

The benefits of exercise include:
* It can literally cure diseases, such as some forms of heart disease.
* Exercise has been implicated in helping people prevent or recover from some forms of cancer.
* It helps with arthritis.
* Helps prevent and reverse depression.
* Exercise can help most people lose weight, as well as look more toned and trim.

Exercise Is An Investment In Your Future

Isn’t it funny that we spend our youth working to be able to have a good 401K to retire and “live” life but, when we are able to do so, we can’t really enjoy life’s activities because we have to take care of our health? Remember that how you are living your life right now determines the physical condition in which you will be in the future.

Of course, there’s a catch. You need to get — and keep — moving if you want to cash in on the benefits. This doesn’t necessarily mean following a strict, time-consuming regimen at the gym, although that can certainly reap benefits. The truth is that you can get rewards from many different types and levels of exercise. “Any little increment of physical activity is going to be a great boost to weight loss and feeling better,” says Rita Redberg, MSc, chairwoman of the American Heart Association’s Scientific Advisory Board for the Choose to Move program.

What Type of Exercise Is The Best?

Any kind of exercise that keeps your heart rate up will do it. The important thing is to find something you enjoy so you can stick to it and make it part of your daily life.

Your exercise options are numerous, and include walking, dancing, gardening, biking — even doing household chores.

How Much Should We Exercise?

For heart health, the AHA recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, such as walking, on most days of the week. Yet, if you’re getting less than that, you’re still going to see benefits; it’s not like if you can’t do 30 minutes, you shouldn’t do anything, because you’re definitely going to see results even at 5 or 10 minutes of moving around.

What If I Don’t Have Those Extra 30 Minutes?

We can make small changes in order to get more exercise in our everyday lives. If we are really committed to have a healthier lifestyle, finding the time to exercise won’t be an excuse anymore.

Here are some ideas of how to incorporate easy exercises in your everyday life:

At Work: Try to stand up every half an hour and move around instead of staying seated the whole time. Park your car as far in the parking lot as possible; take the stairs instead of the elevator; go for a 10-minute walk during your lunch break. Anything to get moving.

At Home: Most of us make time to watch TV at home. This is a perfect time to get some exercise instead of just sitting around and munching some unhealthy foods. During commercial breaks do some sit-ups to work on your core. Get an exercise ball (they sell them at a very low cost in most sport stores) and do some sets of different exercises while watching TV. You won’t even notice you are exercising since your mind is somewhere else!

With Friends/family: While going out to the movies or for happy hour is fun, you can alternate those kinds of outings with inviting your friends to go for a hike or a bike ride, or to go to a Zumba or fitness class with you. Exercising with friends or with your family is fun!

Feature image via lululemon athletica on Flickr

Written by

Professional runner, former swimming world champion. Tere has an M.A. in Counseling and Sport Psychology and another M.A. in Education. Tere is currently training to run the marathon in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. When she is not training or taking care of her family (she lives with her husband and their 7-year-old daughter), Tere writes for several blogs and magazines including: Runner’s World, Women’s Health, Rockthefit.com and Terezacher.com among others, about expanding your limits and following your dreams. She also coaches new runners or anyone who wants to live a healthier lifestyle. Tere is living proof that you are able to achieve whatever you set your mind into. She is 41 years old, started running three years ago and is currently competing at the highest levels. Tere credits Arizona Pain Specialists for helping her get back to training completely pain-free after a back injury sidelined her for almost a year.

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