Stepping into the unknown world of fitness can be a daunting experience. Many times, those who have not had prior experience in athletics or basic fitness exposure can find it downright frightening to pursue even that first step. Fear not. I am here to assure you that with proper guidance and encouragement, your dreams of living a healthy lifestyle are well within reach.
For starters, you can have confidence in knowing that those who are trained in this profession are truly interested in your personal well-being. Leaders in the fitness industry go through rigorous certification processes, and your health is their primary concern.
If this is your first attempt to rocket yourself off of the couch, it would be wise to review your exercise options, beginning with choosing an appropriate establishment for your needs. Take a moment to ponder your likes and dislikes. Do you like exercising alone? Are you more motivated in a group setting? What time of day works best into your schedule and what is the best location for you? Is childcare important? Do you enjoy music, and dance? Did you enjoy bicycling as a child or have fond memories of frolicking in the pool? Assessing your likes and dislikes can help you to identify the type of establishment that will be able to unlock your individual fitness passion.
Ideally, a reputable fitness establishment will assess your level of fitness and offer you assistance in designing a program that is ideal for your personal health goals. An effective fitness program should include three components for optimum health benefits: Cardiovascular training, strength training and flexibility training.
The purpose of cardiovascular training is to strengthen your heart and lungs, and burn calories and fat. The best cardiovascular training program will include 30-45 minutes three to five times a week, working at 65-85% of your maximum heart rate, depending upon your level of fitness. Cardiovascular training exercises may include swimming, walking, jogging, dancing, cycling as well as countless pieces of cardiovascular training equipment.
A well-designed fitness program will incorporate increasing your ratio of lean body mass, i.e., strengthening your muscles, through a weight training program. Because of the risk of injury when exercises are executed improperly, it is important to have a certified fitness advisor assist you in this area. It is vital to strengthen the muscles in your chest, back, upper and lower extremities as well as your core musculature – the muscles around your mid-section.
Lastly, you will need to stretch all of those muscles. Muscles have an elastic quality to them much like clay and when they are warm they are most flexible. After strengthening your muscles, whether in weight training or cardiovascular training, it is critical to stretch those muscle groups in order to avoid injuries or postural deviations that could later lead to an injury.
This basic fitness overview is but a small window into a vast new world – a launching pad into the universe of good health. Gaze out this window and dream big. Apply these principles and watch as you gain strength and endurance, self-esteem and physical harmony. Your body is a temple. Honor this gift and reap the rewards of good health!