Health and fitness experts helped WebMD compile this beginner's guide to exercise, including definitions of some common exercise terms, sample workouts, and recommendations on home exercise equipment. A way to measure the intensity of your exercise is to check you heart rate or pulse during physical activity.
These should be within a target range during different levels of intensity. The first step to any workout routine is to evaluate how fit you are for your chosen physical activity. Whenever you begin an exercise program , it's wise to consult a doctor. Anyone with major health risks, males aged 45 and older, and women aged 55 and older should get medical clearance, says Cedric Bryant, PhD, chief exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise.
After assessing your fitness, it helps to set workout goals. For example, do you want to prepare to run a 5K? Hit the gym five times a week? Or just walk around the block without getting winded? Many beginners make the mistake of starting out too aggressively, only to give up when they end up tired, sore, or injured, he says. Some get discouraged because they think an aggressive workout will produce instant results. Even long-term exercisers may have misconceptions about exactly what some fitness terms mean. Here are some definition of words and phrases you're likely to encounter:.
Before beginning any fitness routine, it's important to warm up, then do some light stretching. Save the bulk of the stretching for after the workout. Once you're warmed up, experts recommend three different types of exercise for overall physical fitness: cardiovascular activity, strength conditioning, and flexibility training.
These don't all have to be done at once, but doing each on a regular basis will result in balanced fitness. To learn how to perform certain exercises, consider hiring a personal trainer for a session or two, or take advantage of free sessions offered when you join a gym. Exercise doesn't have to be done at the gym. You can work out in the comfort of your own home.
And with calesthenic-type exercises such as squats, lunges, pushups, and sit-ups, you can use the resistance of your own weight to condition your body. To boost your strength and aerobic capacity, you may also want to invest in some home exercise equipment. You've taken the first step on your way to a new and improved body and mind "Exercise is the magic pill," says Michael R. Continued Get Ready The first step to any workout routine is to evaluate how fit you are for your chosen physical activity. But no matter what your medical condition, you can usually work out in some way. Whatever your goals and medical condition, approach any new exercise regimen with caution.
Continued Fitness Definitions Even long-term exercisers may have misconceptions about exactly what some fitness terms mean. These are exercises that are strenuous enough to temporarily speed up your breathing and heart rate. Running, cycling, walking, swimming , and dancing fall in this category. Maximum Heart Rate is based on the person's age.
An estimate of a person's maximum age-related heart rate can be obtained by subtracting the person's age from Flexibility training or stretching. This type of workout enhances the range of motion of joints.
Age and inactivity tend to cause muscles, tendons, and ligaments to shorten over time. Contrary to popular belief, however, stretching and warming up are not synonymous.
Aug 19, - Aside from dieting, exercising is one of the most common strategies employed by Walking is one of the best exercises for weight loss — and for good reason. It's convenient and an easy way for beginners to start exercising. This easy-to-follow guide has the exercise and nutrition plans you need for fast To lose fat, your best option at the gym is to use a full-body workout that is.
In fact, stretching cold muscles and joints can make them prone to injury. Strength, weight, or resistance training. This type of exercise is aimed at improving the strength and function of muscles. Specific exercises are done to strengthen each muscle group. Weight lifting and exercising with stretchy resistance bands are examples of resistance training activities, as are exercises like pushups in which you work against the weight of your own body.
Usually used in discussing strength training exercises, this term refers to repeating the same exercise a certain number of times. For instance, a weight lifter may do 10 biceps curls, rest for a few moments, then perform another "set" of 10 more biceps curls. Repetition or "rep. For example, the weight lifter mentioned above performed 10 reps of the bicep curl exercise in each set.
Warm up. This is the act of preparing your body for the stress of exercise.
The body can be warmed up with light intensity aerobic movements like walking slowly. These movements increase blood flow, which in turn heats up muscles and joints. At the end of your warm-up, it's a good idea to do a little light stretching. This is the less-strenuous exercise you do to cool your body down after the more intense part of your workout. Walking briskly for just 22 minutes a day will help you to reach your minimum weekly goal of 2. You just have to resolve to get up and go. Look for creative ways to fit a brisk walk into your daily schedule.
Use a walk to clear your head.
Use the time to take a break from the stressors of everyday life and give yourself some precious alone time. Fresh air and some time to think can work wonders for your mood. Or make it a social event and walk with others. Invite friends, family members, or work colleagues to walk with you. Taking a walk can provide a great opportunity to catch up with an existing friend or strengthen the bond with a new one. Enjoy time in nature. Walking in parks, on beaches, or along hiking trails or riverbanks can add to the mood boost you experience from exercising.
Walk in a mall or on a treadmill. Walk a dog. Instead of focusing on your thoughts, focus on how your body feels as you move. Notice the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, for example, or the feeling of the wind or sunlight on your skin, or the rhythm of your breathing.
Aside from improving how you look and feel, resistance and power training can also:. Exercising the major muscle groups—legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms—in to minute sessions twice a week is enough to deliver results and help keep you toned and strong. Neither do you need to invest in a gym membership or buy expensive equipment for use at home.
There are even plenty of exercises you can do using your own body weight as resistance. Many of us equate exercising our core with endless sit-ups and unobtainable images of washboard abs. But your core is much more than just your abdominal muscles. Your core stretches from below your breastbone down to your thighs and includes your back, sides, buttocks, and hips as well as your abdomen.
A strong core can help you maintain good posture and carry out many different daily movements that involve twisting, bending, or rotating your body. Everything from getting out of a chair to carrying heavy groceries or reaching for a book on the top shelf are all made easier when you have a strong core. As well as abdominal crunches, activities that are particularly good at targeting your core include yoga, Pilates, swimming, beach volleyball, kayaking or canoeing, rollerblading, surfing or stand-up paddle boarding, using a hula hoop, or performing perhaps the most popular core exercise, the plank.
For guidelines on how to correctly perform the plank, see the Recommended reading section below. Flexibility exercises that lengthen and stretch muscles also help to:.
Balance exercises can help to improve your posture and reduce your risk of falling as you get older. Fitness experts advise against stretching before you exercise when your muscles are cold. Rather, stretch only once your muscles are warmed up or after your workout, as part of your cool-down routine. An ancient exercise practice that involves performing different postures and poses on an exercise mat, there are many different types of yoga that can help with flexibility and balance as well as strength and stamina.
In addition to the popular types, there are yoga classes modified for different needs, such as prenatal yoga, yoga for seniors, and adaptive yoga modified for disabilities. Most yoga sessions begin with a series of poses to warm up the body, and most sessions end with some type of relaxation exercise. Not for: Anyone with high blood pressure, heart conditions, or those who may react adversely to hot conditions.
Like yoga, Pilates can be performed on a mat as a series of low-impact movement patterns, although it most commonly involves the use of resistance machines. A typical Pilates routine includes exercises that promote posture, balance, flexibility, and core strength. Most routines can be tailored according to your strength and fitness levels. Tai chi. Focusing on a series of slow, precise body movements that flow from one pose to the next, tai chi is a very effective exercise for balance, especially in older adults looking for a safe and gentle exercise.