How to Develop an Exercise Program
Developing an exercise program doesn't have to be difficult. You just need to know where to start. Below are some tips on how to develop an exercise program:
- Set goals and work toward achieving them. For example, "I want to lose 30 lbs." "I want to run a marathon."
- Start small. Often times, individuals abandon their exercise programs almost immediately because they overdo it and get exhausted or frustrated. Start very small by running/walking short distances, lifting light weights for only a few repetitions, or doing a few stomach crunches. Add a little more distance, a little more weight, a few more reps, very gradually. Go slowly, and you will be surprised how quickly you will improve.
- Do exercises you enjoy doing. If you hate running, don't run: walk or cycle instead. If you would rather read a book than exercise, read while you are on the treadmill or stationary cycle.
- Combine aerobic and strength training. Aerobic exercises are good for your cardio-vascular system, while strength training builds muscle. Empha one or the other, depending on your goals, but include both.
- Differentiate between "good pain" and "bad pain." Sore, achy muscles mean you are making progress. Sharp pains, however, might be a sign that you overdid it or even injured yourself.
- Combine exercise with diet. If you want to lose weight, you will need to expend more calories than you consume.
- Belong to a small exercise group. Joining a small group in which you can urge each other on and share accountability will help you to stay committed.
- Change your program every once in awhile. Stick to the same routine for too long and you may become bored and lose interest in exercising.
- Do not over train. Usually, you should want to take one day off every week.