If you are ready to get your butt off the couch and start working your muscles to do more than change the remote, it’s best to start with a workout strategy. Jumping headlong into intense exercise can cause more pain than gain if you don’t prepare yourself and create the appropriate type of workout for you. The good news is, beginner exercise plans are easy to create and start at a moderate pace.
Start at a moderate pace and gradually increase your intensity
Before you choose what type of exercise you’ll do, assess your current health and fitness and list your goals. For example, if your only goal is to lose weight, you’ll want to start with a fat-burning workout that helps build the stamina you need for more vigorous aerobic exercises to follow. It’s a good idea to meet with a physician to discuss any health problems you may have, such as high-blood pressure, risk of coronary heart disease or joint or back problems.
Basic Workout Format
Every workout should start with a moderate intensity warm-up that gradually elevates your heart rate, stretches your muscles and gets all of your body’s functions working together. Spend several minutes doing arm swings, jumping jacks, skipping or jogging in place. Perform the exercise portion of your workout, such as walking on a treadmill or swimming laps. Cool down for five or more minutes to gradually lower your heart rate. Walk around the house or gym, or walk the last few minutes after a jog while you catch your breath. Stretch your muscles after your cool-down to help prevent sore muscles later.
As you start your fitness plan, work at a moderate intensity, with exercise such as brisk walking or using an exercise bike or treadmill at a speed that doesn’t have you sweating profusely and gulping for air. You can ride a bike, roller skate, swim or use an exercise machine. Work at a pace that lets you keep going for 30 minutes or longer if you want to improve your heart health, recommends the American Heart Association. If you want to lose weight, work for 60 minutes or longer, several times each week. As you build stamina, add short bursts of more intense work every few minutes. For example, if you are power walking, add one minute of jogging every few minutes. If you are using an exercise bike, pedal fast for 30 seconds, then go back to your normal pace.
After two or more weeks of regular fat-burning exercise, see if you have built enough cardio stamina to raise your level of intensity and keep it there. Aerobic exercise burns more calories than fat-burning exercise and will have you breathing hard and sweating. Don’t work too hard — you should be able to talk while you exercise. If you can’t sustain exercise at this pace — similar to jogging, or approximately 4 mph or faster on a treadmill — add several minutes of aerobic exercise to each workout until you can sustain this level for 30 minutes or longer.