How To Start Exercising

If you have just had a baby or simply just have let your weight slide for years it can be hard getting back into an exercise program. However if you want your children to watch you grow old, losing those pounds might be mandatory.

 One of the best ways to lose it (and also combat depression as discussed in a previous blog) is to exercise. Not necessarily diet – but exercising. First of all you should ask your doctor if you need an exercise stress test, or whether you should follow any special exercise guidelines before you embark on any type of program.

You should then consult with a professional at a gym, such as one of the employees at your local YWCA or your doctor to figure out the work out program that is ideal for you. If you are obsessed for instance your doctor may not recommend anything more strenuous than walking at first. 

It is also not a good idea to 'binge' exercise. Exercise regularly and get into a routine rather than go in fits and starts or you are setting your body up for the kind of shock that can lead to injury or heart attack. To optimize the positive effects of any aerobic exercise, you must sustain an activity for at least 20-45 minutes at each session. If you are just beginning exercise, start with a 10-minute workout and gradually add two minutes a week until you reach your fitness goal.   

While exercising try to keep your heart rate within your 'target heart rate zone.' Calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. Your target heart rate is 60-75% of your maximum heart rate. This formula cannot be utilized if you are taking certain cardiac medications. Consult your health care provider for your target heart rate parameters if you are on medications. If you are on certain medications it may not be wise for you to exercise, which is unfortunate, as that will prevent you from accessing one of the easiest weight loss tools at your disposal. 

To determine your heart rate, you must first learn how to take your pulse. Using middle and index fingers, locate your pulse on the thumb side of your wrist. Press lightly. Count your pulse for 10 seconds starting with zero. Multiply by 6 to arrive at your pulse rate. Never stop your activity completely to take your pulse. Keep moving at a slower pace to slowly come out of an exercise. It is important to do a warm-up and cool-down before you exercise. A slow but steady building of excessive intensity during a warm up allows the cardiovascular system to adjust to the increasing demands of exercise, and a good cool down helps it adjust back to resting level.  

While exercising it is also very important to be aware of your body. Listen to your body and heed warning signs of cardiovascular disease, such a chest pain or pressure, abnormal heart rhythms or dizziness. While these symptoms are often caused by something other than heart disease, it is best to be safe and check them out.  A healthy person will not be in pain while exercising.