Ok, finishing our discussion on beginning your fitness routine (kind of philosophical), let's look at the resistance portion of the program. It should include at least one exercise per body part or muscle group and body weight, bands, free weights or machines can be used to generate resistance. Start with the larger muscles (i.e. chest, back, legs) and work your way to the smaller muscles (i.e. biceps, triceps, shoulders). Initially one set (number of times you perform an exercise) of 10 to 12 repetitions (execution of 1 exercise movement i.e. 1 push-up) 2 to 3 times per week is sufficient.
As you become more fit and stronger, you can increase the number to 3 sets of each exercise. Body parts to be trained in each routine should include-chest, back (upper and lower), legs, glutes, shoulders, abdominals, biceps and triceps. For instruction on how to execute exercises visit: www.acefitness.org/getfit/freeexercise.aspx.
Another important component to enhanced fitness is flexibility. For most, while the years have jogged by, our physical activity level has slowed to a crawl or even a standstill. This inactivity has contributed to a reduced or diminished range of motion, in the joints, increasing the risk of injury.
Stretching is a gentle way to regain flexibility, reduce stress, promote circulation, help coordination and of course, prepare you for physical activity. Stretching, just as all physical activity, should be preceded with a brief warm-up (5 to 10 minutes).
For ideas on basic stretching visit: http://weboflife.nasa.gov/exerciseandaging/chapter4_stretching.html
The essential points to remember when beginning a fitness routine are:
- be gentle with yourself; don't try to do too much too soon
- take it one day at a time
- be consistent
- get proper rest
- eat 4 to 5 small nutritious meals per day
- drink at least eight 8oz glasses of fluids per day
- make sure it's fun
You are implementing a lifestyle change and it will take some effort on your part to complete your transformation. The surgeon general reminds us that a great deal of ill health is directly related to a lack of physical activity. Active people lead fuller lives, have less illness, are less depressed and have more self-confidence.
What are you waiting for, get moving. -Chris Christian