9 Simple Tips for Effective Exercise

By Michael A. Smith, MD

When your doctor tells you to exercise, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? If it’s a negative thought or bad memory, you’re pretty much setting yourself up to fail. If this sounds familiar, you may need to do a complete 180 on how you think about exercise.

To help you set a new course, here are some helpful tips to get you moving and grooving.

Exercise Consistently

This tip is all about reaching your goals. Follow a set schedule, yet change your program from time to time. You can’t improve physically if you take an on-off approach. Changing your routine occasionally helps to keep you motivated.

Here’s something else you can do to stay motivated — read blogs or websites that show you how others have been successful. Find out who inspires you and follow what they do.

Cool Your Hands When Exercising

Cooling your hands will help you exercise longer. And the longer you exercise, the more calories you’ll burn. This is a good thing. But be careful; don’t overdo it. It’s important to know your limits. You’re in this for the long run so take your time.

Exercise in Short Bursts

New studies show that exercising in short bursts followed by a short rest period is effective for improving cardiovascular health. This is a variation of interval training which might involve walking for two minutes, running for two, and alternating this pattern throughout the duration of a workout. It is an extremely time-efficient and productive way to exercise.

Stretching Prepares You Mentally for Exercise

Stretching before and after your workout isn’t just about physical preparation and protection from injury. Interestingly, experts agree that stretching also helps mentally.

Set Realistic Exercise Goals

"Don't strive for perfection or an improbable goal that can't be met," says Kara Thompson, spokesperson for the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA). "Focus instead on increasing healthy behaviors."

In other words, don't worry if you can't run a 5K just yet. Make it a habit to walk 15 minutes a day, and add time, distance, and intensity from there.

Make Your Exercise Plan Fit Your Life

Are you too busy to get to the gym? WebMD interviewed tennis star Martina Navratilova, health and fitness ambassador for the AARP and she said, "You don't need fancy exercise gear and gyms to get fit."

She went on to say, “If you've got floor space, try simple floor exercises to target areas such as the hips and buttocks, legs and thighs, and chest and arms (like push-ups, squats, and lunges). Aim for 10–12 repetitions of each exercise, adding more reps and intensity as you build strength.”

Don’t Think of Exercise as a Job

Be sure to pick an activity you actually enjoy doing. If you hate weights, don't go to the gym. You can lose weight and get in shape with many forms of training or activity. And choose something that is convenient and fun. The key thing to remember is to get and stay active. Walk and run with your dog. Or rock climb, jump rope or play softball.

Watch Your Body Clock

Dr. Jason Theodosakis, assistant professor of exercise physiology at the University of Arizona, told WebMD to “watch your body clock.” Try to work out at the time you have the most energy.

If you're a morning person, schedule your fitness activities early in the day. If you perk up as the day progresses, then plan your activities in the afternoon or evening. "Working out while you have the most energy will yield the best results," says Dr. Theodosakis.

Be Patient

Finally, remember that even if you follow all these tips, there will be ups and downs, setbacks and victories. Just be patient, and don't give up! And we really mean it when we say … have fun. This could be the secret to lasting physical activity.



What are your favorite exercises? How do you stay motivated? Share your own tips in the comments!

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10 comments:

Sarah said...

It's good practice to start light and practice consistently. I find too many people try to go all out right from the start and burn out before they see any progress.

Life Extension said...

Everyone read Sarah's comment. She makes a great point! Thanks Sarah for your insight.

RhondaLee said...

The given article is so nice..and good thinking to post here..nice to share here..thanks for sharing here with us..

build muscle without weights said...

Good information and must for the beginners.

stomach pain after eating said...

This was very clear and easy to understand .. thank you for sharing this information with us

Jessica Staheli said...

Well... Every time I've ever gone to the doctor with any problem, he asks me how often I exercise!

Mark said...

Nice information, but I have a question. When you write about Interval Training in the Exercise in Short Bursts' part; do you mean jogging for two minutes or sprinting, because I think we can't keep our sprint speed for two entire minutes. Thank you very much.

Life Extension said...

Mark - Yes, we mean jogging or sprinting. :-)

Curtis Fisher said...

The key to longevity in health and fitness is exercise but more importantly consistency. Think of it as crawling before you walk. Start out with something you can handle and as time goes by, you won't feel like it's something you have to do, it's something you crave to do.

Life Extension said...

Curtis Fisher - Excellent points!

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