DESIGNING YOUR FITNESS PROGRAM
You finally relent and sign up at the gym. You’re gung-ho and determine that you’re going to exercise ever day. However, the best way to keep up the enthusiasm – and to get fit – is to have a plan. How to set about designing your fitness program?
What to consider when designing a plan
No single plan is perfect for everyone so keep these points in mind when designing your fitness program:
Determine your fitness goals: Are you getting fit to help with weight loss? Or preparing for a road race? Having clear goals can help you gauge your progress.
Your preferences: Choose activities you’ll enjoy. If you have fun doing your exercises, you’re more likely to continue doing them.
Plan for progression: If you’re new to exercise, start cautiously and progress slowly. If you have an injury or a medical condition, consult your doctor for help designing a fitness program that gradually improves your range of motion, strength and endurance.
Build activity into your routine: Finding exercise time can be a challenge, so schedule time to exercise as you would any other appointment. Plan to watch your favorite TV show while walking on the treadmill, or read while riding a stationary bike.
The spice of life: Varying your activities (cross-training) can keep boredom at bay. Cross-training also reduces the risk of injuring or overusing one specific muscle or joint. Alternate your activities to concentrate on different parts of your body, like walking, swimming and strength training.
Recovery time: Many people start exercising with zeal – working out too long or too intensely – and give up when their muscles and joints become sore or injured. Plan time between sessions for your body to rest and recover.
Plan your time at the gym and put it on paper – written plan may encourage you to stay on track. Remember, too, to add in some time for stretching before exercising, and “warming-down” afterwards.
In conclusion if you are trying to design your fitness program and have any doubts, see your doctor. Doing it incorrectly can be dangerous.
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