Fitness 101: Tips for a Personal Exercise Program

Fitness 101

Make plans to begin

Deciding to start a physical fitness program is not something you should take lightly. It will demand an ongoing investment of time and effort, and will need to become a natural part of your daily routine, just like bathing and brushing your teeth are.

Here we’ve arranged all the information you need to begin and maintain your own physical fitness program. It includes helpful pointers to make your workouts easier, safer and more fulfilling. Here’s to your health!

Take necessary precautions

If you’re older than 35 and you haven’t exercised in several years, you should discuss your physical fitness plans with your physician, who will be able to offer advice for gearing up. No matter what age you are, if you have a history or genetic predisposition to high blood pressure, heart trouble, extreme exhaustion after mild exercise, arthritis, muscular problems or other health conditions, you should talk to a physician first.

Understand fitness basics

Physical fitness is the body’s ability to perform up to its potential. It can also be understood as a physical state wherein we look, feel and do our best.

Physical fitness is made of four essential parts.

  • The first is cardiorespiratory endurance, which refers to the body’s ability to deliver oxygen to the body during long periods of exercise.
  • Second is muscular strength, which is a muscle’s capacity to exert force for a brief period of time.
  • Third is muscular endurance, which is somewhat of a combination of the first two: the ability of a muscle group to perform repeated and ongoing contractions.
  • Fourth is flexibility, or the ability to move joints and use muscles completely within their range of motion.

Each of the four essential parts are important factors to target within your workout. A proper workout will involve activities that involve each.

Decide on a workout schedule

Every workout should begin with a warm-up of low intensity movements and a routine of light stretching exercises, and end with a 5-10 minute cool down. A minimum of two workouts per week should involve muscular exertion (ie: weightlifting), three should have exercises that require muscular endurance (ie: pushups or sit-ups), and three per week should involve some form of cardiorespiratory effort (ie: running, swimming or cycling).

You should plan your workouts ahead of time to ensure progression in intensity, frequency, and duration of activity over time.

food-scaleUnderstand the basics of weight gain and loss

Exercise is an important part of any serious effort to reduce body fat and lose weight. Your weight is dependent upon the difference between your body’s energy output (physical activity and natural metabolism) and your body’s energy input (food and drink). Exercise helps you burn off energy from food and improve your metabolism so your body naturally burns energy more easily.

While body weight is an important indicator of physical fitness, it shouldn’t be the final word. Since muscle weighs significantly more than fat, enhanced muscle mass associated with your exercise program may slow overall weight loss, even if fat is burned at the same time. Overall body weight may a helpful indicator of fitness progress, but body composition is a much better indicator on the whole.

Monitor your heart rate

Your heart rate is a good indication of intensity during aerobic activity. Calculate your target heart rate by subtracting your age from 220 and multiplying that number by 70%.

Dress properly

The clothing you exercise in should be loose-fitting enough to allow for freedom of movement, while allowing you to feel comfortable and confident.

Generally, you should wear lighter clothes than you would normally, since exercise generates a large amount of body heat. Also, when you’re exercising in cold weather or bright, sunny weather, you should wear something to cover your head. In cool weather it will retain body heat, and protect your scalp from sunburn if the sun’s out.

There you have it: the basics. From here, perseverance and patience will help you make strides forward toward your personal fitness goals. Exercise can make you healthier, happier, and more successful in your career. Stick with it, and you’ll be glad you did.


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