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Tips on getting started with exercise

Jul. 2, 2013
 
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Everybody starts out in the contemplation or preparation stage ó recognizing that a change has to be made and that itís time to take action and begin physical activity.

Start by doing aerobic physical activity that places little stress on joints, such as walking, biking or swimming. This will result in less chance for injury. Walking may be the best choice to start with because it wonít cause localized muscle fatigue like biking might. Walking can also be done anywhere and anytime, inside on a treadmill, outside or during lunch break. Itís easy to control intensity while walking on a treadmill.

Try to start out with 5 to 10 minutes of physical activity and progress from there. Walk at a challenging pace, then complete 5 to 10 minutes of weight lifting. Start with machines to get use to the movements, and they are generally more user friendly for beginners. Complete another section of walking and another of weight lifting and thatís a workout.

Donít focus on losing weight immediately. Actually, initial weight gain is common when you start exercising, since muscle is being added. Muscle is more dense than fat, causing the added weight. However, the added muscle results in an increase in caloric expenditure leading to weight loss down the road.

As a general guideline, increase duration of exercise before increasing intensity. If those 10 minutes on a treadmill at 3 mph is starting to feel too easy, increase your time on the treadmill to 12 or 15 minutes at 3 mph. Once you feel the speed is too easy, start increasing it.

Exercise isnít always enough; you will have to watch what you eat. As an example, if you cut 300 calories from your diet each day, in approximately 12 days you will lose one pound of fat (one pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories). The concept to grasp about losing weight is that you need to expend more calories than you consume.

Doing some minor activities that one may not think of as physical activity can help with burning calories. Some examples would be taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking your car at the back of the parking lot instead of close to the entrance of the store and going for a walk during lunch break.

Source: Woodson YMCA-Wausau Branch, Submitted by Jeffrey Quednow

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