By Kathy Burns-Millyard
The Health & Fitness Information Network
If you're trying to lose weight, starting an exercise plan can help accelerate the weight you lose, and the rate you lose it at. Exercising smartly is the first step, so here are a few brief tips to get you started:
1. When you decide it's time to start working out, start slowly and realize it will take some time to see results. Don't get discouraged if you don't achieve your fitness goals after the first week... many people make this mistake and end up abandoning their plans because of it. They feel that if they really push their bodies they can lose more weight in a couple of work outs, and your body simply doesn't work that way.
If you try to push your body too much in the first few goes, you are likely to end up with sprained joints, a sore back and even torn ligaments. The rule to be followed here is slow and steady wins the race.
2. Check your weight before you start the new exercise routine and then try to limit yourself to checking only weekly. If you keep checking for changes frequently, you'll be disappointed to not see radical changes immediately. It might be one or two weeks before you notice any change.
One thing you also need to be aware of: If you start exercising and working out as a way to lose weight, you could find yourself initially disappointed. Because when you work out, you start building muscle. And muscle weighs more than fat. So many people will start losing fat while they're building muscle, and not notice any change on the actual weight scale.
So instead of worrying about what the scale says, try taking your measurements before starting your weight loss exercise program, and notice how your cloths fit. Then each week, take your measurements again, and try on the exact same cloths to see how they're now fitting. Usually you'll notice you're losing inches, and your clothes are fitting better - even if the scale says you haven't lost any weight.
3. When you do notice changes, reward yourself. No, not goodies like chocolates or sweets. Reward yourself with a movie, a day off, or fun shopping spree.
Rewards can keep you going. It is a good idea to save on the money that you wanted to spend on ice creams and chocolates and then treat your self to something more substantial.
4. You can, and should, take a day off from exercise every week. Make it part of the exercise routine. Your body needs a day off from heavy activity, exercise and workouts, so be sure to schedule it in as part of your actual routine, to make sure you're taking care of it properly.
5. Exercise out doors as much as possible. There are two advantages of exercising outside: First, it gives your body a chance to get much needed fresh air and sunshine. The sun also gives you a healthy does of Vitamin D. Secondly, Being outside, seeing everything going on around you, being around other people, smelling and hearing the world... all of these assaults to your senses help perk up your mood, keep you happy, and keep you motivated to continue with your exercise and weight loss plans.
6. Try collecting information about exercise and fitness in general, or researching different types of exercises. There are a lot of ways you can work out at home, and extensive research has been done on exercise in general. Plenty of this information is easily available.
Try browsing the net or getting a book or two on how to exercise at home. This information will be useful to you to know how much you need to work out on each specific exercise in order to burn off the desired number of calories. It can also help you get ideas for new types of exercise, so you're not easily getting bored with the same old routines.
7. Try to get somebody to exercise along with you. It should be somebody committed to do this with you, otherwise they could accidently cause your own interest to dwindle.
Getting a committed person to exercise with you helps keep you going. There may be days when you feel just too lazy to crawl out of bed in the mornings. On such days, the knowledge that some body is waiting for you is enough to slide out of bed.
Another advantage is that you can discuss your progress and fears with another person and be a sympathetic listener to the other person as well. This is a fine way of getting motivated your self, and losing weight faster.
8. Listen to your body, and stop when it's had enough. If you push it too far, you could end up hurting yourself.
When you have worked out long enough, your body will start giving you signals. Heed those signals. This is particularly true in the initial stages of getting started with your exercise routine. Take one step at a time. Stop when you are out of breath or when a certain part of your body tells you that it has had enough. Hint: Pain is a message from your body that it needs to stop *now*.
9. Increase the amount of time you exercise gradually - not in sudden steps. Trying to do too much, too soon can cause you to hurt yourself severely. And not being able to meet your own expectations for the amount of time your exercise, the amount of weight you lift during work outs, or the number of miles you can run for instance, will only make you discouraged, and more likely to quit the exercise routine before it's had a chance to be of any benefit.
10. Stick to your exercise and work out routines. For some people this is easier said than done. Most of us have such hectic schedules that it is quite difficult to fit in time for exercise. But your body... everyone's body... NEEDS proper exercise and fitness. So just make up your mind to do it. Then do it.
Select an exercise pattern to suit your life style. All of us have different life styles and professions so there is no sense in trying to follow the book strictly. Try and follow an exercise routine that is suitable for you. Exercise is important but sticking with it for the long haul is what helps you lose - and keep off - the added weight and fat. And by choosing exercises that fit your personal likes, dislikes and life style - you'll be more likely to stick with it and see the real, lasting results you want.
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