What kind of workout routines should you follow? You've made the decision to get active and start on the road to better health.
Where do you start?
There are lots of workout routines in magazines and on the internet, but maybe they aren't the ones that you should be following.
Hiring a good personal fitness trainer is an idea to consider.
I'm going to give you some general guidelines to follow before you begin an exercise program. Then I'll give you a full-body routine to get you started!
Before you start any exercise program, you should consult your physician. He/she will be looking for any medical reasons that you should limit or restrict the type of exercise program that you are thinking about beginning.
Some reasons could be high blood pressure, cardiovascular issues (history of heart attack, heart disease, issues with breathing), and joint problems, as well as:
Most of the time, these issues are NOT a reason NOT to exercise.
They are merely things that need to be considered and monitored by your physician as you embark on your wellness journey. For the most part, your doctor will be very happy that you are starting to take ownership of your health.
So now that you've been to your doctor and have clearance to begin an exercise program, here are some guidelines to get you started!
Target Heart Rate
A basic calculation to determine your target heart rate is:
220 - Your age = Maximum heart rate (beats per minute)
For the best cardiovascular benefit, you want to work within the 60-85% range of your maximum heart rate.
Max. heart rate x 60% = _____ lower end
Max. heart rate x 85% = _____ higher end
Regardless of where you are in your heart rate range, if you feel dizzy, light-headed or have pains in your chest, you NEED TO STOP exercising and ask for help.
Workout Routine Components
Muscular strength ( weight lifting )
Stretching ( flexibility )
Your total workout time could vary from 30-60 minutes depending on the time you have allotted, as well your level of physical fitness.
See examples of fitness workouts on my schedule.
General movement like arm circles, marching on the spot, walking at a comfortable pace and leg circles can constitute a good warm up. The idea of the warm up is literally to warm up your muscles and prepare your mind for exercise. Recent studies have shown that 5 minutes of range of motion (moving your limbs and getting your heart rate to gradually increase) is sufficient to warm up the body for exercise.
Cardiovascular Fitness or Muscular Strength?
If you want to put most of your energy into weight lifting, then do it first before your cardio workout. If you want to focus on your cardiovascular endurance, then do that first before your weight lifting.
Cardiovascular fitness includes any activity that gets your heart rate into the desired range (see above). This can include such activities as walking, running, biking, using an elliptical machine or an indoor bike, hiking, swimming or aerobics. It is suggested that 20-30 minutes of cardio 4-5 times per week is the most beneficial.
Muscular strength workouts or weight lifting is a great way to tone and strengthen your muscles. Most of the women that I consult with are afraid of "getting too big" when I tell them that we will be using weights. No worries there! Using weights that challenge you - possibly 3, 5 or 8lbs - will not make you a body builder! Besides, women don't have enough natural testosterone to build that kind of muscle! Strength workouts are important to build lean muscle and build bone as well. A lot of knee pain and lower back pain can be lessened by strengthening muscles too. For ideas on how many repetitions and sets to do see my page on weight lifting exercises.
Cool down or transition:
At the end of your workout, you want to take a few minutes to cool down and allow your heart rate to come back to its normal state. The purpose of gradually lowering your heart rate is so that the blood doesn't pool in your legs causing you to get light-headed. If have ever just "stopped" a workout when your heart rate was high, then you may have experienced this feeling.
Stretch or Flexibility:
So many times this is the element that people skip at the end of their workout routine! It is almost the most crucial part too! Now that you have tensed up your muscles and worked them to a fatigued state, you must lengthen them back out! This will increase your flexibility and will help to reduce soreness the next day!
This is a general guideline of what your workout routine could look like.