Though we all know how important it is for our bodies to get regular exercise, sometimes the hardest part is figuring out where to start. Finding a workout plan that works for you can be difficult if you have never tried to exercise before. It can also be difficult to know which type of exercises you should be trying to work into your plan. Here are some suggestions for some easy beginner workout routines.
Also known as aerobic activity, cardiovascular workouts are exercises that are strenuous enough to temporarily speed up your breathing and heart rate. This includes running, cycling, walking, swimming, and dancing. A good plan for starting to work cardio into your workout routine is to do an aerobic activity for about 20 to 30 minutes at a time at least four to five times per week.
A good test for making sure you are working at an optimum level is to try the “talk test.” This involves trying to carry on a basic level of conversation without getting too winded —if you can do this, then you are exercising at a good level for your fitness. However, if you are easily able to sing a song while exercising, you are probably not working yourself hard enough and should step it up a notch or two.
Usually involving stretching, flexibility training works to enhance the range of motion of your joints. As a result of age and/or inactivity, your muscles, tendons, and ligaments will begin to shorten over time and need to be stretched regularly in order to maintain their flexibility. While stretching is sometimes viewed as a “warming up” activity, this is not something you should do before you start your workout. In fact, stretching cold muscles can actually make them more prone to injury.
The best way to work flexibility training into your workout plan is to try slow, sustained stretches that last 10 to 30 seconds three to seven days per week. Remember too that stretching should always be part of your workout after warming up but never before.
Also known as weight or resistance training, strength training is a type of exercise that works to improve the strength and function of your muscles. There are many specific exercises that are used to strengthen different muscle groups. Some easy ways to work strength training into your workout routine include: weight lifting, exercising with stretchy resistance bands, and exercises such as pushups that work against the weight of your own body.
You should start by using a weight that you can comfortably perform an exercise 8 to 12 times in one set. After you think you can handle more, gradually begin to increase the weight, the number of repetitions, or the number of sets. Strength training should be performed at least twice a week in order to maximize the benefits, but always remember to never work the same muscle group two days in a row.