Read these 32 Exercise Plans Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Exercise tips and hundreds of other topics.
Make sure to allow for cooling down after aerobic exercise. Do slow walking, cycling, or other easy activity after a vigorous workout until your breathing returns to normal. Never just stand still when your breathing is still heavy and your heart rate is elevated. Make sure you cool down thoroughly before you get in a hot tub or sauna.
Do you believe in yourself? No? Then start believing.
If you don't believe you can reach your goal, then you won't. Period. You are allowing yourself to believe that you are not good enough...but you are good enough! How about a story...
One of my old Personal Training clients, Beth, a woman in her mid fifties who went from 200+ pounds to under 130lbs, didn't believe she could jump up onto a platform. This platform was maybe 20 inches off the ground. She had jumped onto the platform which was about 10 inches off the ground with ease, but this one was higher. For weeks I tried to get her to jump onto the 20 inch platform, but she kept saying 'I Can't Do It!'. She would stand in front of it for 2-3 minutes each time and never make an attempt. Finally, I forced her to say she could do it and to actually walk right up to it and jump. So she did.... and she made it! Later, she did it 6 times in a row!
The power of positive thinking can really help you excel in your workout program, and help motivate you. Talk with people who encourage you when you feel down about how your goals are maybe coming slowly. If you stay positive about it, the chances of you reacihg your goal will be much higher.
Most of us avoid vigorous exercise at night because it might interfere with sleep. Recent research with highly fit cyclists showed that vigorous exercise ending 30 minutes before bedtime did not interfere with sleep. This may apply more to fit people and will vary by individual, but if you have trouble getting your workout in during the day, you can give a nighttime exercise plan a try.
When making an exercise plan, one always needs to think about the time that the body needs to recover. How much does it need? What will happen if we don't give it enough time. Well, let's look into all that.
Muscle Fibers in general need 48-72 hours of recovery time to fully heal and repair themselves. When we workout our back (for example) the muscles in our back are literally being torn down; we are ripping them up! That way when they heal they will become stronger and thicker, giving us the ability to utilize them beter than before. We will be able to pull more weight than we do normally. If you try and maximally exercise your back day after day, you will in the beginning notice that you continue to get weaker in your back - that's because you're not giving it enought ime to recover. Will it ever recover? Let's think....
First things first: Did you walk yesterday? Ok, well no walking today. You can only walk every other day. Your legs need a chance to repair, aka 48-72 hours. That makes sense right? No, none. But, what does this teach us about our bodies....they adapt! Our bodies are incredible and will absolutely figure out a way to continue functioning even though we walked yesterday.
To close, it is a good idea to rest at least 48-72 in between exercising the same muscle group. It allows you to make sure your muscles stay healthy and heal properly. Also protein 30min-1hour after a workout helps your muscle recover better.
Working out to music can be fun and motivating, but it has to be the right music for you. Aside from classes that rely on a certain tempo, you can use a range of music depending on your tastes. Don't hesitate to try cycling to Vivaldi or stretching to jazz if that's what motivates you. You may find a dance exercise video that has a beat that appeals to you.
A good 'Cardio' routine would consist of one stressing their Cardiorepsiratory system well enough so that their breathing would intensify and their heart rate would rise. You would want to do this for about 30-45 minutes, 2 to 4 times per week. When starting out, it is always a good idea to start slow. Many people go too extreme too quick and are at risk for Heart Attacks or insufficient lung function causing them to maybe pass out. Always start out slow! For the initial week or two, go at a speed that challenges you only mildly, then once you are more accustomed to CardioRespiratory training you can intensify your Cardio workouts more.
Another good tip to remember is to change the 'mode' of your Cardio exercise each week. This means that if you do the Treadmill one week, then the next week do the Elliptical, then the next week run...so on and so on. This will ensure that you are burning the most calories possible per machine by not allowing your body to get used to the mode of Cardio, while at the same time stressing your CardioRespiratory system in different ways. Oh, so good.
You will be much more likely to exercise regularly if you set realistic goals for yourself. Set both long-term and short-term goals. You can adjust your long-term goals as the short-term goals are met. For example, if you want to weigh 140 pounds but you weigh 200, set a goal for yourself to lose 20 pounds. Then set another intermediate goal. When you get to 150, you may decide that is really the best weight for you and decide to maintain that. If you want to run a marathon but have never run before, your first goal may be to run a mile without stopping. Small successes motivate you to keep going.
For those of you trying to begin an exercise program, beginning as either obese or over the age of 50, may want to consider doing a routine like this a few times a week. The benefit of blood flow is that it helps to keep your heart functioning well and trains it to pump well during exercise, which then translates into real life and promotes better heart health. Here we go...
Essentially, you will workout your upper body, then your lower body. An example would be performing a Bench Press (for your chest) at 2-4 sets of 10-15 reps, and then moving into a Squat at 2-4 sets at 12-20 reps. What will happen is that initially the blood will flow mainly to your torso, because you will be exercising your chest, shoulders and arms. Then when you move into the Squat, the blood will then flow down to your lower body.
By continuing to do different exercises, alternating between upper and lower body, your heart will be pumping blood very well to your whole body. Maybe do 3-4 exercises for each part ( meaning of your upper and lower body ) This will increase the 'strength' of your heart, promoting overall wellness for your body. Remember though, don't do the same exercises each time you go, but switch things up.
First things first - what is your goal? For years I have asked people this question and most of the time I get the answer of "I want to lose weight", "I want to tone up" or "I want to get ripped" ...regardless, those are NOT your goals. Nope, sorry.
The reason you want to start to exercise is for something specific. It could be because you think you are fat, you have flabby arms, or you feel too skinny. Someone may have made a comment about your body, or maybe people make fun of you because they think you are weak. Me? I used to be scrawny and little, so I wanted to be bigger and stronger; I also want to be strong so that if someone ever messes with people I care about I can destroy them. A funny reason, but that's the truth. Thirdly would be because now I enjoy it.
Once we assess what our true goal is by being honest with ourselves, we can see clearer why we want to do this exercise business that can sometimes be so taxing. If it helps, write down what your goals are (the true ones) and maybe talk to a trainer about the best ways to achieve them. Figure out your true goals, believe you can get there and know it is going to take time and hard work.
A great way to gain desired strength in your muscles is to keep to (generally) the same routine for 3-4 weeks. Specifically, the same exercises utilized for that time period, with differences in weight and after each week.
For example, if I decided to perform a standing shoulder press for the month, I would start the first week with 20 lbs for 20 reps. The second week, 25 lbs for 16 reps. Third, 30 lbs for 12 reps. Then finally, 35 lbs for 10 reps to finish it off. This would help my body get used to the motion, allow my other muscles that stabilize me to get stronger, allowing me to continue to increase the weight.
Now, this is not the only way to do it. You could also keep increasing the weight while keeping the same reps (probably in the range of 10-12). But all in all, if you keep the same exercises for a few weeks, you will see strength gains in your muscles with those motions.
Don't save all your workouts for the weekend. Regular exercise will build up your tendons and ligaments slowly, as well as your endurance. Vigorous exercise done only occasionally can lead to torn or strained tissue, and won't do much to improve your sports performance either. Regular workouts also lead to better health benefits.
Pilates is popular with stars and athletes. It concentrates on the body's "core" and is a great way to tone, stretch, and strengthen your muscles without straining the joints. It is sometimes used in physical therapy and rehab. Your local gym may have pilates mat classes, but make sure the instructors have experience and more training than a weekend workshop. If you're really interested, and can spend more money, look for a studio or facility with highly trained instructors and special pilates equipment.
Tai chi was originally a martial art, but is now used more commonly for its health benefits, and as a relaxing mind-body exercise. It has been shown to relieve the symptoms of arthritis, improve blood pressure, and reduce stress. It can also improve strength and agility, especially if you incorporate knowledge of its roots in martial arts.
Yoga exercise increases muscular strength, reduces tension and stress, has a low potential for injury, is non-competitive, has spiritual and psychological benefits, and a 5000 year track record. The 84 basic yoga positions, or asanas, range from simple bending and twisting to pretzel-like contortions reserved for the most advanced practitioners.
Yoga instructors suggest that yoga be studied with an experienced teacher rather than learned from a manual. Also note that yoga teachers in general are unlicensed and unregulated. Find an experienced teacher affilated with a reputable yoga organization.
There are also good yoga videos if you can't get to a class. Use books to supplement your training.
To get a good idea of your fitness level before starting an exercise program, try running or walking for 12 minutes and see what kind of distance you can cover. If you cover a mile or more you're in decent shape. You should feel good about where you are. Start your exercise program at a more vigorous level if you do well. Don't feel bad if you don't get close to a mile. Most beginners can't. You just have to start out at a pace that is comfortable for you and increase it as your fitness improves.
You may not feel you have time for specific balance training, but you still need good balance to get the most out of your other exercises. Here's something you can work in easily. Get about an 8-foot length of 2x4, lay it 4-in. side down on a floor or other flat surface, and practice walking back and forth on it. Do one foot in front of the other, forward, backward, sideways, progressing to lunging movements. Slower is harder.
It's important to your health and fitness to stay active throughout the day, rather than just when you're working out. Walking more and taking the stairs will help achieve this. Avoid elevators unless you're going higher than the 3rd floor (or more if you're fit) or carrying something awkward or heavy.
The benefits of exercising during pregnancy are numerous. These include: reduced weight gain; reduced chances of becoming hypertensive; less likely to develop gestational diabetes; improved mood with less depression; better sleep patterns; reduced labor time; may reduce chance of surgery; more rapid weight loss after pregnancy. Work with your doctor to develop the best plan for you.
Schedule your outdoor workouts early or late in the day. Avoid direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., to minimize damage from the sun. City dwellers can also avoid built-up auto emissions by going out early and staying away from busy streets. You still need sunscreen in the morning or afternoon.
Always wear good shoes when you work out. Your athletic shoes should fit right in the store. Don't expect to break them in. Buy them at the end of the day, when your feet are probably a little swollen, and wear the kind of socks you will wear in your sport. Run around the store a bit in them to see how they feel. There are special shoes for just about every sport, but if you only do an activity occasionally, you don't have to have special shoes. Don't wear running shoes for aerobics, tennis, or other activities requiring sideways motion.
If you exercised before becoming pregnant, then you should be able to maintain your exercise plan and level of activity, for the most part. If you are just beginning an exercise program to improve your health, start slow and don't over-exert yourself. A common misconception is that exercising during pregnancy increases your chances to miscarry. Not true.
In addition, I know a woman who exercised her entire pregnancy, resulting in a very healthy baby and quickly returning back to herself in less than a month after the pregnancy. I highly recommend her website if you are pregnant or just gave birth, for she has incredible information on the topic. It's www.fitandfabulouspregnancy.com. Check out her help, for it is stellar on the subject.
If you should develop high blood pressure during your pregnancy, it is probably best to put your exercise program on hold. Exercise in this instance can actually worsen the condition.
ALWAYS check with your doctor, throughout your entire pregnancy. Let him/her consult with you about your exercise plans.
Although some people like to exercise alone, others prefer groups. For these, group cohesion may be an incentive to get out and exercise. If you can, join with friends, and you will be more likely to show up to not disappoint them.
You can find community based fitness groups at health clinics, adult school, or parks and recreation department. Or you may want to join walking, running, or cycling clubs, masters swim team, or basketball, softball, bowling, or golf leagues. Your local sporting goods store may know where to find a team to join. If you want to lose weight, a weight loss support group may be just what you need to succeed.
Don't count on making faces to look younger. Exercising your facial muscles won't do a thing for your wrinkles except possibly make them worse. The basic assumptions for such exercise plans are wrong. Minimize wrinkles by staying out of the sun, using sunscreen and moisturizers, and not smoking.
If you're exercising while pregnant, your body will send out natural signals. If your body is telling you to slow down, listen to it! Under no conditions should you exercise to the point of exhaustion. The American College of Gynecology guidelines no longer set an upper limit on pulse rate, but you should still stay within your capabilities. Exercising while lying on your back is counter-indicated after the first trimester, and, especially toward the end of pregnancy, avoid activities that have a risk of falling.
FDA has issued a warning about certain Chinese diet pills due to possible heart damage. Traditional Chinese medicine can be effective when prescribed by a licensed practitioner, but you should not experiment with over-the-counter medicines. Watch out for diet teas, too. These are often just laxatives.