One of the best things you can do to help increase your fitness level, reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure, reduce your risk of diabetes, and improve your health profile is to start a fitness program. Before you start out on a program you need to do your research and decide on a program that would be a good fit for you.
When deciding on a fitness program there are some key points you need to consider including seeing your physician and having him go over your overall health level and then telling him you are planning to start a fitness program.
Make sure there are not health conditions that would limit your activity level. Your doctor should be able to give you input on what you are able to do and what limitations you have. If you are on any medications, discuss with your doctor if the medications will limit your activity level.
If you can afford it, hiring a fitness trainer is a great idea to help assess your fitness level and design a program for you to start. You can also start a program on your own. First you would need to establish a baseline for certain activities such as
- the time it takes to walk or jog a mile or half-mile – check your heart rate before your start and after you finish
- how many sit-ups and push-ups you can do in a minute
- how far you can sit and reach and try and touch your toes
Organizing Your Program – Setting Goals
If you don’t have a fitness trainer then you will plan out your fitness program and you need to plan different fitness level stages for your progress goals. Make sure you make realistic goals and not try for goals that would be too difficult. Not achieving unrealistic goals could lead to frustration and giving up on your fitness plan.
When setting goals, figure out what are the key areas that you want to focus on
- overall increased fitness
- increased overal strength or specific muscles
- improved times in walking or jogging a certain distance
- increased flexibility
Decide how many days a week you plan to work out and set specific times that you will do the workout. Mix up your workouts so you will not get into a routine that will get boring and easy to skip. The key is to make your fitness plan varied and stimulating so you will want to continue it.
Have a wide choice of activities
You can have certain days where you will be doing aerobic activities while other days you will be doing anaerobic activities like lifting weights. There are countless choices to choose from including aerobics classes, zumba, yoga, weight training, and dance. Don’t forget about other activities like swimming, tennis, racquetball, badminton, basketball, and biking.
If you are not a member of a health club, you could consider joining one that offers different fitness classes like the ones previously listed. If you prefer to do your own workouts you can purchase workout DVD’s or go on the Internet and check out workouts on YouTube.
Your total weekly time for your fitness program should be over two hours with some leeway, depending on your fitness level and time availability. You can increase the amount of time you spend on your workouts as you become fitter.
Important points to consider
Make sure you incorporate a stretching program to enhance your flexibility and reduce the risk of strained muscles. Remember not to stretch until you have warmed up or you could pull a muscle.
Equipment needed for a fitness program can be as simple as some comfortable walking or jogging shoes or you can invest in as many extras as you want or can afford. This includes exercise DVD’s, free weights, workout clothes, and pedometers or heart rate monitors.