Feeling out-of-shape may be frustrating, especially if you have previously been physically fit and active. The good news is you can become fit again by starting a new exercise routine and sticking to it. Your workout plans should include aerobic exercise, strength training and flexibility exercises to develop all aspects of your physical fitness.
Things to Consider
Talk to your doctor before beginning your new exercise program if you have a chronic condition that limits your ability to safely exercise or if you have other concerns about exercise. The less fit you are, the higher your risk of injury while exercising. The health benefits of becoming more active far outweigh any risks, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Lower your risk of potential overuse or overtraining injuries by slowly and gradually working your way up to the recommended amounts of exercise. Choosing exercises you enjoy increases the chances of sticking with your workout plans.
Work Up a Sweat
Your heart, blood vessels and lungs become more fit and efficient with regular aerobic exercise. Low-impact aerobic exercises, including walking, swimming and cycling, may be beneficial as you start your exercise program. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends working your way up to 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise five days each week to develop your aerobic fitness. A moderate intensity is one that noticeably elevates your heart rate and breathing but still allows you to carry on a conversation.
Lift Some Weights
Strength training develops your muscular fitness and includes weight lifting, using resistance bands, or doing exercises that use your body weight as resistance. Examples include pushups, situps or pullups. Start your muscle-strengthening program by choosing a resistance that allows you to complete 8 to 12 repetitions. Increase your resistance as it becomes easier to complete the 12 repetitions. Participate in muscle-strengthening exercises for your major muscle groups at least two times each week. Your major muscle groups include chest, shoulders, back, abdomen, hips and legs. At least 48 hours should separate your training sessions for the same muscle group.
Flexibility exercises are an often-overlooked component of physical fitness. According to the American Council on Exercise, improving your flexibility by stretching increases range of motion in your joints, improves posture and reduces muscle tension and soreness. Always stretch when your muscles are warm and start each stretch slowly. Do not bounce as you stretch and hold each one for 10 to 30 seconds. Warm-up or cool-down sessions are ideal times to stretch.
- Harvard School of Public Health; The Nutrition Source: Exercise Safety
- ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription; Walter R. Thompson, Ph.D.
- American Council on Exercise; ACE Fit Facts: Flexible Benefits
- BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.