If you are anything like me, as hard as you tried, you still put on a couple of extra pounds over the holiday season. It is now time to hit the gym. How do you know what fitness plan is right for you? The best plan is one that fits your lifestyle, age and ability, keeps you motivated and helps you burn calories.
Should you join a gym or a fitness center? The hardest part of any exercise plan is getting started. Exercise can be done anywhere. However, there are benefits to joining a fitness center.
- Offer a variety of activities – many have different machines for using different types of muscles, may have a running track and a swimming pool.
- Motivation through a support system of being with other people, you may even join with a friend or relative.
- Paying a fee may be the motivation you need to keep going.
- An experienced trainer or instructor for individual or class instruction.
You may choose to work out at home. Do you have a gaming system that has some type of exercise games? Do you have a treadmill, bench press, free weights or a nice space in your home to work out? Exercise does not have to be expensive. There are many simple exercises that you can do on your own. The best plan though, is one that incorporates cardio, strength training and flexibility exercises.
- Cardiovascular exercise increases the work of your heart and lungs. Exercises such as walking, running or playing tennis.
- Strength Training helps burn fat and build lean muscle. Fitness centers have weight machines for strength training, but you can do the same thing at home with free weights. Choose exercises which work different parts of your body.
- Stretching helps increase your flexibility and also keeps you from hurting your muscles. It is important to stretch before and after exercise.
Whatever you decide, start today and try to maintain a routine of getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity everyday!
Author: Linnette Mizer Goard, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.
Source: Exercise and Fitness Centers Not a Puzzle, Live Healthy Live Well Series, Ohio State University Extension.