Special to The Leader
The Orange Leader
Exercise is a great way to improve quality of life and reduce your risk of developing potentially life threatening health conditions and diseases. But men and women are often intimidated when attempting to incorporate exercise into their lives after a long layoff from working out.
Tailoring a workout that suits you can be a daunting task, especially if it's been years since you visited a gym or took a turn on a treadmill. But creating a workout routine that's right for you should be an exciting experience that marks your first step toward living a healthier, more active lifestyle.
Assessing your current situation
The process of creating a workout regimen should begin with an honest self-assessment of your current fitness levels. If exercise has not been a part of your regular routine in quite some time, chances are you have little to no idea of how fit you are. You might be in better shape than you think, or you might have more work to do in the months and years ahead than you initially thought.
To get an idea of your current fitness level, measure your pulse after walking one mile and the time it takes you to walk that mile. If your heart is racing after such a brief and stress-free exercise and it took you awhile to walk a mile, then you'll begin to get an idea of the task that's ahead of you. To gauge your muscular fitness, perform a simple task like pushups to see how many you can do at one time. The more you're capable of doing, the more fit your muscles are.
Don't push it when gauging aerobic or muscular fitness, as this initial stage is intended solely to give you a realistic idea of where you are with regard to personal fitness. In addition, it's important not to overreact during the assessment stage, as you likely know already that you have work to do. You have already taken the most difficult step, and that's deciding to make a change. Once you honestly assess your aerobic and muscular fitness, you will have a much better idea of your fitness levels.
Consulting your physician
Once you have an idea of your aerobic and muscular fitness, you will be tempted to start tailoring your workout. However, it's best to visit your physician before you dive into the specifics of your new exercise regimen. A thorough examination from your physician will reveal if you have any existing conditions that could be exacerbated by certain exercises or lifestyle changes. Your doctor can tell you if any of these conditions are likely to have an adverse impact on your exercise capacity and what you can do to overcome those conditions in an effort to improve your health and quality of life.
Setting your goals
Once you have assessed your fitness levels and consulted your physician, it's time to set your goals. You likely did not decide to workout out of the blue, so you probably have a specific goal, such as losing weight or lowering your cholesterol, in mind. Establish these goals and build a workout that makes reaching them that much easier.
Finding a workout you'll enjoy
A workout regimen is far more likely to be successful if it includes activities you're liable to enjoy. If you truly dread spending 30 minutes per day on the treadmill, then your workout should include a cardiovascular activity that you're more likely to embrace. Riding a bicycle can be just as beneficial as an aerobic exercise as jogging on the treadmill. If you love cycling, then make that your daily cardiovascular exercise when the weather permits. When the weather is less cooperative, use a stationary bike indoors. If you love to dance, then you should know how great a workout dancing can be. Join a Zumba(R) class or another aerobics class that involves dancing, and your workout will seem more like fun than something you have to do. When building a workout regimen, keep in mind it's going to be most successful if it includes activities you enjoy.
Building a workout routine that's right for you depends on a variety of factors, including your present fitness levels and your preferences in types of exercises. Honestly assessing yourself, setting the right goals and finding activities you enjoy are all essential to building a successful workout routine.