Choosing The Right Exercise Program Or Plan For You
By Donovan Baldwin
When it comes to deciding on how, when, where, and how hard to exercise, many people let themselves be influenced by friends, the media, or some TV show or an article in a magazine.
When you get down to the basics, the type of exercise you do should depend on you. Your personal likes and dislikes should come into play, as well as such questions as what kind of equipment will be needed, or you want to workout with, or, will you need a professional fitness trainer to help you do the activity properly. You should also take the time to look at what you hate doing, as well. Do you like the idea of paying membership fees at a gym, or do you want to work out at home? Do you prefer exercising with equipment or doing bodyweight exercises?
These are only some of the things you need to consider before choosing the right exercise program for you.
The fact is that if you choose something you don't like to do, you aren't going to keep doing it for a long period of time. Of course, you might choose something that appeals to you at the time, but turns out NOT to be your cup of tea!
Until you become more certain of what is going to work well for you, you may have to try out a few different programs.
Keeping this little fact in mind, it's a good idea NOT to run out and buy expensive equipment until you are sure you are going to use it. Remember too, that whatever exercise equipment you choose, it does not do the work. I watched a lot of people running and doing pushups when I was in the Army, and I never got any stronger or more fit until I ran and did the pushups for myself.
In the Army, I did not have the luxury of choosing the right exercise plan, but I did get something out of the experience. I learned that to get where I wanted to go, I had to make the effort, even when it didn't feel good.
The Army provided my motivation for me. They did not come to me and say, "Choose the right exrcise program for you."
However, the Army did show me that I had the ability to do a lot of things, even the ones that did not appeal to me that much! In fact, my experiences in the army are a major factor in my lifestyle at age 69...which includes regular exercise.
Unfortunately, you don't have the Army behind you. You are more likely to succeed if you DO choose the right exercise program for you. However, that alone does not guarantee success with it. You will need to do it even when you don't feel like it, and you need to do it consistently and regularly. In many cases, those last two items, consistence and regular participation, are the two most important aspects of any exercise program you choose.
Think about it! If you don't like the idea of going jogging, you probably aren't going to get up at 6 AM and go running. If you can't find something you like to do, at least choose something you don't hate as much. For many, this will often be walking.
Don't get upset, by the way, if walking, or whatever you choose as the right exercise program for you, doesn't seem to be the activity which provides the results you think you want to achieve in the first few weeks, or even months. You are just getting started. A few weeks, or months, of regular walking as exercise, can propel you to a new level of fitness where you feel encouraged, and able, to try another activity. Many who start out walking wind up hiking and camping, just for one example.
A lady named Kelly Nelson, the bodybuilding grandma, decided at age 53 to try a few exercises to firm up the "batwings" on the backs of her arms. She got to enjoying that small exercise program, so she added a few more exercises. A few months later, she competed in a bodybuilding contest...and won!
You've got to start somewhere, right?
Anyway, whether it's the right exercise program for you or not, walking is great exercise.
This is so as it suits all levels of fitness and can be adapted for any level of proficiency or difficulty.
Anyone can start a walking program at any time. It's normally primarily the intensity and duration of the program that differs.
Walking is also a social exercise. It usually isn't all that difficult to find a training partner to chat with while you exercise. Walking with a partner will also make time go by faster.
By the way, while walking is great for weight loss and overall fitness, you will want to add some strength building exercises to your routine as well. This can be as complicated or as simple as you wish. You can opt for one of the many fine home all in one exercise machines, or a bodyweight exercise routine, just play around until you find the right mix for you.
However, no matter which form of exercise you choose as the right exercise program for you, you should start at a low level of intensity and build it up over a period of weeks. This process is essential to the longevity of your exercise program.
If you start off by trying too hard, you could end up with an injury which will require time off to get over. Even if no injury is visible or directly observable, exercise tends to work many of its miracles by causing small internal injuries which the body then has to repair...usually making things a little stronger.
Also, even if you choose the right exercise program for you, your body
has not been doing this exercise program. There are many
internal adjustments it will need to make in order to sustain the
activity, and advancement, no matter how much you enjoy the activity.
If you are really in bad shape, like most adult American, and many in
countries trying to follow the western influence, you should start off
by walking for 10 minutes each day...perhaps even less if you feel that
this is still a bit too much. One good clue is whether or not
you want to do it again tomorrow. If you find yourself
dreading it, maybe it is not the right exercise program for you, but
maybe your body has looked inside itself and seen damage that you have
not noticed externally.
In which case, you may wish to drop back a little for a few days on your routine. Then, increase the intensity by 5 minutes every 2
weeks...or more if you still feel discomfort; mentally OR
physically. Remember, the "right" exercise program has to be right for YOU. Doing things To make the activity more interesting
can help. You could try walking a different course every few
days or walking with different friends on different days.
Drive to a park you like and walk there. Take time to smell
the roses and to watch the leaves change colors. Enjoy the
sight of children at play.
On that note, by the way, walking is great exercise
for kids as well as for grownups, and it gives you a chance
to build a habit that will last for life, strengthen the bond between
you and your child, and create memories that will not be forgotten.
One old standby test of whether your exercise program is too intense is
whether or not you can carry on a conversation with someone while
exercising. Another might be whether or not you can enjoy the
sights and sounds around you while you exercise.
If, on the other hand, walking just isn't really your thing, then you may want to try a fitness center or purchase some free weights or even one of the many all in one machines, such as a Bowflex, or Total Gym. Both the gym and the home exercise machines provide loads of variety. Normally, gyms will have personal trainers on hand to answer any questions you may have. When you choose a fitness center, ask around and make sure that they give good service. It doesn't hurt to drop by for a visit just to check things out. Most of the time, the owners and managers are accustomed to visitors wishing to access their establishment.
Obviously, if they aren't willing to treat you well as a visitor before
you join, then they certainly won't after you join. You
should also make sure that all the equipment they use is well taken
care of. It's really pretty easy to find out, as all you have
to do is listen to the machines. If they squeak a lot or make
excessive noise (they'll all make some noise), then chances are they
aren't being taken care of.
If, after all this, you still aren't sure what you should do, then maybe you should look into gardening, swimming, bike riding, golf, tennis, or even one of the martial arts. Those las two are good social activities in most areas, and you can even meet new friends. Tennis is great for fitness although it can be challenging for someone who is just starting out. If you haven't exercised in a long time, then golf may be the best activity for you, but you won't get much benefit by throwing your clubs on the back of a cart and driving around the course.
I believe it was Mark Twain who said something to the effect that golf was a good way to spoil a walk.
What it all comes down to is that choosing the right exercise program for you is a problem you will have to solve. Give yourself time and permission to follow a couple of false trails, and you should come out all right if you just stick with it.
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