Getting Started

Getting started with a workout plan can be a daunting task, especially if it has been months, or even years, since you last exercised. It is important to keep in mind that exercise, especially if you are just getting started, is just activity that gets your heart beating faster. Exercise can be fifteen minutes of dancing around the house, walking around the neighborhood, or even raking leaves.

You can start as simply as walking for fifteen or twenty minutes, or even less if you are unable to exercise for extended periods of time. The goal is to get moving and increase how much you move over time. Regardless of your starting point, slowly increasing your workouts until you can exercise longer and harder is the goal.

Don't be intimidated by exercise. There are classes, exercise videos, and even online workout programs that are designed for people who are beginners, intermediate, and advanced.

Exercise If You Can't Walk

If you have difficulty walking, or bearing weight for any length of time, don't give up on exercise. There are multiple ways that you will be able to get your heart rate up without hurting yourself. You can modify workout tapes by doing the arm portion of the workout while sitting in a chair. As you get better and improve your stamina, you can do the same workout with weights to increase the intensity of the workout.

Isometric exercises, such as resistance bands, yoga, and Pilates, can often be done without bearing weight or standing. These exercises will strengthen your muscles and are great for toning.

Water exercise is also a great way to do a workout without bearing weight. Water walking, water aerobics, and swimming are all nonimpact activities, but can provide an excellent aerobic workout. You can burn as many calories in the water as you can on land, but the activity is less strenuous for those who cannot tolerate walking and standing.

Personal Trainer

A personal trainer is a great way to get into an effective exercise program to burn fat and lose inches. A personal trainer can create an exercise plan just for you, focused on meeting your individual goals. You will be able to create a set of workouts, both aerobic and anaerobic, designed to increase the rate at which you burn calories and to improve your muscle tone.

There are benefits and disadvantages to hiring a personal trainer. While the guidance and planning that a personal trainer can provide is invaluable, a personal trainer can be very expensive. Keep in mind that you don't have to have a personal trainer present for every workout you do. A trainer can design a workout for you that you are able to follow independently. You can check back in periodically for adjustments to your workout. You can also sign up for a group session with a personal trainer, where you and a workout buddy can share the trainer's time for an hour at a time, which will significantly decrease the cost.

Exercise Classes

Exercise classes come in a variety of forms, ranging from beginner stretching classes to high-impact, high-energy classes that are very challenging. These classes typically are very motivational, with an instructor and music, which many find encouraging. You may also experience a positive kind of “peer pressure” where you feel challenged to complete the class because of the people around you.

There are classes that focus on muscle toning and building, classes that focus on stretching and flexibility, and classes that are meant to make you break a sweat and burn calories. You may find one class that you do religiously, or you may prefer to participate in a wide variety of classes to keep things interesting.

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