Exercise: How To Get Started

Before beginning an exercise routine, you should talk to your family doctor. This is especially important if you haven’t been active, if you have any health problems, if you’re pregnant, or if you’re an older adult.

Ask your doctor about how much exercise is right for you. A good goal for many people is to work up to exercising 5 times a week for 30 to 60 minutes at a time. If 30 to 60 minutes at a time sounds difficult to fit into a busy schedule, you can split up your physical activity into smaller chunks of time. Try exercising for 10 minutes at a time throughout your day. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator at work. Or go for a walk during your lunch break. Even if you do not think you have time to exercise, try to find ways to build it into your day. For example, try bodyweight squats white watching TV or walking outside while making phone calls. Remember: Exercise has so many health benefits that any amount is better than none.

Path to improved health
The best type of exercise is one that you will do on a regular basis, so choose activities that you enjoy. Look for activities that increase your heart rate. These activities should also move large muscles (such as the muscles in your legs and arms). Walking is a popular choice and does not require special equipment. All you will need is some appropriate walking shoes. Other good options include swimming, biking, jogging, and dancing.

Exercising with a friend or a family member can make it more fun. Having a partner to encourage you can help you stay on track.

What is strength training?
Most kinds of exercise will help your heart and your other muscles. Strength training is exercise that develops the strength and endurance of large muscle groups. It is also called “resistance training” or “weight training.” Lifting weights is an example of this type of exercise. Exercise machines and free weights can provide strength training. Push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, and leg squats are also strength-training exercises. Even low-weight dumbbells and body weight movements can be a good place to start for building and maintaining muscle.

These sorts of resistance exercises are essential for our health, and can decrease risk of heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.

Your doctor or a trainer at a gym can give you more information about exercising safely with weights or machines. If you have high blood pressure or other health problems, be sure to talk to your family doctor before beginning strength training.

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