kayakingIf you haven’t exercised before or it’s been awhile, there are a lot of easy exercises you can do to get started.  Walking is one of the easiest things you can do that will help you lose weight, get in shape and give you more energy.  You can start out by walking for 10-15 minutes.  Go to the park, the beach, your neighborhood, local bike trails or anywhere that you feel comfortable.  If you live in the northern climate like I do and there’s too much snow to walk outside, go to a mall, Walmart, Lowe’s, Home Depot or any other large indoor location that has room to walk.  Many schools have times available to walk on their indoor track or in their halls in the mornings or evenings.

For those of you that think you don’t have time to exercise, you can fit in a 10 minute walk before work, during your lunch or after work.  If you stay at home with young kids, put the baby in a stroller and have older kids walk with you.  When my youngest son was 4 or 5, I’d play a game to make it fun for him.  As I walked around my yard, I would drop something colorful (socks, handkerchief, etc.) for him to find and pick up.  Since he didn’t walk as fast as I did, he wouldn’t see me drop them and had fun seeing how many he could find.

Think of the things you used to enjoy doing when you were a kid and start doing them again.  Make a list of all the things you enjoy that get you moving and start doing them.  Here is a list of ideas to get you thinking:

  • Soccer
  • Basketball
  • Football
  • Baseball
  • Volleyball
  • Swimming
  • Skating
  • Jumping rope
  • Riding a bike
  • Tennis
  • Sledding
  • Skiing
  • Kayaking
  • Skateboarding

There are also several other things you can do that are fun and give you a good workout.  Dancing is one that I enjoy.  Turn on some music and cut loose.  Plus, there are always the standard exercises you can find on DVD: aerobics, Zumba, Tae Bo, Pilates, etc.  Most of these will help get your heart rate up and burn fat.  If you choose to go to a gym, they offer several cardio classes along with the exercise equipment:  bicycle, treadmill, elliptical, and stair climber.

The key is to get moving and get your heart rate up.  Start with 10 to 15 minutes of cardio (exercise that gets your heart rate up).  Work your way up to 30 minutes per day for about 5 or 6 days a week.  Even 3 days a week will be beneficial if you haven’t been exercising.  Another form of exercise that will help burn fat and tighten and tone your body is strength training.  Strength training builds muscle.  Some strength training exercises include:  lifting weights, lunges, squats, crunches, leg lifts, pushups, and planks.  Lunges and squats use the body to build muscle in the hips, glutes and thigh.  Crunches and planks build abdominal muscles and pushups build abdominal and arm muscles.  Start adding some strength training occasionally and work up to 2 to 3 times per week.  Focus on just 1 or 2 muscle groups for each strength training workout.

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