Working Out: The Basics

By PEERtrainer Health and Fitness Team
Working out is without question one of the best ways to achieve a higher level of health and fitness.  But even when you make the commitment, it’s hard to know where to start.  Figuring out the w’s will help you create a plan and get started.

What exercise should you do?  Think about what sports you used to like.  If you like something, you’re more likely to have the motivation to make time to do it.  If you liked soccer, google soccer and your neighborhood.  You’ll be thrilled to see how many leagues there are right in your zip code.  What if you don’t like any sport?  The easiest thing to start is walking.  It’s inexpensive to start and you can walk almost anywhere.  If the weather is bad, you can walk around an indoor track at a local school or even around the mall.  The most important thing is just to do something.

Choosing the time of day to work out can have a big impact on the results you receive and on your ability to continue exercising on a regular basis.  You want to be able to exercise when your energy is at its peak.  Demanding daily schedules may prevent you from being able to workout exactly when you want.   We all have the same number of hours in a day - 24 hours.  Get up an hour earlier to get in your workout.  Don't have an hour?  Break the session up into mini-sessions of 10 or 15 minutes each.  Studies have shown the results are the same whether you exercise all at one time or use shorter timeframes to accomplish the same results. 

Choosing where you work out can greatly impact the results of your workouts and how consistently you exercise.  Choosing to use a home gym requires self-determination and the ability to learn and monitor yourself as you progress.  Benefits of using a home gym? You don’t have to pay a gym membership fee, you don’t have to drive anywhere, and you can choose the time of day.  Investment in equipment can be as little or as much as you choose.  There are many ways to get your cardio in and strength training with minimal equipment.

If you prefer a more structured time and place, joining a fitness center may be your best option.  You’ll find all the equipment you need. Professional trainers are usually available to help you learn proper use of equipment, monitor your form, and help you set realistic routines and goals for your fitness plan. 
Regular exercise is crucial to longevity and the quality of your health as you age.  Diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, allergies and disease resistance are all health problems that can be prevented or improved with regular exercise.  Self-confidence, emotional stability, and a general feeling of well being are all benefits of exercise.  

No matter what type of aerobic exercise and strength training you choose, learning the proper movements and form are the keys to getting the results you want.  Learning the correct form can also help you prevent unnecessary strain and injury to your muscles as you workout. 

Once you’ve been working out for a while, it is also important to vary your routines.  The body can reach a plateau and results are minimal if you continue doing the same workouts day after day.  The key is to study and learn the basics of a good fitness plan and implement those basics in all your exercise routines. 
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