Are you thinking about starting to exercise again? If you’re a first-timer or just returning to working out after a considerable period of time, it really isn’t necessary to go to the gym just yet. You can use what’s readily available to begin your workout regimen. Here's how to start.
Shake it. Do you know that walking is one of the most convenient forms of exercise because it’s easy on the joints and great for most fitness levels? With just a brisk 20-30 minute walk, you can burn calories and improve your cardiovascular health. Tip: Walk at the local park, your backyard or do loops around the living room.
Sit and press. Sit-ups and push-ups are basic conditioning exercises that work the core (or trunk) and upper body. When combined, these activities help with posture and muscle development as you progress. Furthermore, core strength is essential because it protects your lower back and promotes balance and stability. As you progress, use wrist and ankle weights or dumbbells while you walk or do core training exercises. NOTE: Don’t do more that you can safely perform and never ever, ever, compromise good posture for more repetitions (or sets).
Push back. Weight bearing movements at a few times per week increases bone density, toning, and overall strength. As with any exercise routine, remember to begin slowly, perform deliberate controlled movements, and (again) maintain good posture. You can use your own body weight and calisthenic movements at home. As you progress, you can invest in 10-15 pound weights (free-weights work more muscle groups than machines anyway). Tip: For legs do lunges and squats (with or without weights.)
Take classes. If you do plan to go to the gym, you can start slow with Zumba classes, indoor cycling, swimming and yoga. The key is not to hurt yourself as a beginner. You can invest in a home-video (Pilates, yoga, cardio and kick-boxing are great at-home workouts). Tip: P90-X is an awesome workout video—but be sure to adjust movements to your level and don’t push it too hard too fast.
Before and after. Whatever your workout, ensure you warm up and cool down. Drink at least eight glasses of water daily, and vary your exercises weekly so your body doesn’t adapt—the more you mix it up, the greater the benefit. Tip: Stretch daily. Stretching works wonders for any level athletic.
Nutrition. Eat the daily-recommended serving of fruit and vegetables—exercise without a well-balanced diet will yield little benefit. Avoid fad diets and focus instead on portion control. Tip: Calories in versus calories burned is the key to weight loss so find what works for your metabolism.
Finally, remember the secret to not gaining weight (again) and staying healthy is to develop an exercise regimen that you can stick with long-term and one that you enjoy.
Do you have any at-home exercise videos that you swear by? What other “free” workouts do you do outside the gym to stay healthy?