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  • Beginning a New Exercise Program?

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    man riding bikeExercise is an essential part of living a healthy life, but many people struggle to become physically active. Exercise can be fun and rewarding, and will leave you feeling happy, healthy and strong. Follow these steps to introduce health and wellness into your lifestyle:

    • Consult your doctor. Your physician is one of your best resources for information about your health. Before beginning any exercise program, talk to your doctor about your current health and any weak areas you might have. This information will help you understand where to begin with an exercise regimen.
    • Start slowly. It can be tempting to jump into a workout routine at full force, but to avoid injury and exhaustion, it is best to pace yourself. Start with 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, two to three days of the week. After a few weeks at this frequency, add an additional day of physical activity per week. Eventually, you'll build up to five days of exercise per week, which is the recommended amount for adults according to the American Heart Association.
    • Listen to your body. When exercising, it's important to push yourself to see results, but it's also essential to know when to stop. Know your body's signs of weakness, such as pain or dizziness, so that you can work out safely. Remember to eat well and keep your body hydrated. Finding the balance between healthy activity and overexertion is an important starting point for exercise wellness.
    • Get motivated. If the task of working out seems daunting, remind yourself of all the benefits. Exercise will manage your weight, combat chronic diseases, strengthen your heart and lungs, help you sleep better and even keep you smiling. It also helps to have a goal in mind when starting a new exercise program. Whether it's dropping a few pounds, being able to run five miles, lowering cholesterol, or another ambition all your own, give yourself something to reach for.
    • Strive for diversity. When planning your exercise regimen, you should make certain to leave room for different types of physical activity. Your workout should include cardio, strength training and stretching. Having a well-rounded workout ensures that your whole body will feel the benefits of exercise.
    • Go exploring. It's important not to let yourself get bored with exercise. Physical activity can be a fun and exciting way to introduce yourself to new hobbies and interests. If you belong to a fitness center, try a new class such as yoga, Pilates or aerobics. If you work out at home, try swimming, hiking or cycling. You might even try joining a local sports league, such as soccer, golf or tennis. Variety will keep your workout exciting and new while still showing you results.women stretching
    • Chart your progress. As you continue with your new workout, it's important to recognize when you're making progress. One of the best ways to track your accomplishments is by keeping an exercise log or journal. By writing down the weights you're able to lift, the distances you're able to run and the pace you're able to keep while working out, you'll get a better idea of how quickly your body responds to exercise. You'll also be able to recognize which activities are giving you the best results, and where you might need to modify your routine.
    • Reward yourself. The feeling of accomplishment that you will get as your body grows in strength is one of the greatest benefits of physical activity. Be sure to savor this feeling and celebrate your accomplishments by giving yourself small rewards for your successes. Going out for a night with friends, treating yourself to a movie or even taking the night off to spend at home with a book are all examples of ways to mark your physical achievements.

    Exercise is an important activity for physical and mental health, but it can be difficult for someone with a low-activity lifestyle to begin an exercise program. Knowing where to start and how to exercise in order to continually see results is essential for any successful physical routine. By following the steps above, you can reap all the benefits of physical activity while exercising safely, happily and according to your own needs.