The Beginners Exercise Plan couldn’t be easier. It doesn’t require any training or equipment. It’s free. You can do it anywhere, anytime, alone or with others. You may have already guessed it: walking.
is the ideal beginners exercise. You already know how to do it. It
requires no equipment other than a good pair of shoes. It carries the
least risk of injury of any form of exercise. And you can walk as a form
of exercise for your entire life.
Don’t give in to the negative people who will try to sabotage your resolve by berating walking as being too tame. You can achieve substantial fitness with a walking plan.
If you have been turned off by competitive sports, complicated routines, or soreness and pain, the Beginners Exercise Plan is for you.
How to Start
Start with just 15 minutes of walking per day for the first week. The important thing is to get in the habit. By starting with a goal you can achieve, you will condition your body and mind to success for your new exercise plan.
Where and when should you walk? The bottom line is it doesn’t matter as long as you do it. You will achieve the most benefit if you walk in the outdoors in beautiful surroundings.
On your busiest days, you may be taking your walk around a parking garage at work, a shopping mall, or on a treadmill. That is OK. But a couple of times a week try to walk outdoors, in a park, a nature trail, or along the beach.
The Beginners Exercise Plan recommends morning exercise. Studies have shown that people who exercise first thing in the morning are more likely to exercise consistently. There is something calming and spiritual about walking as the sun is coming up and before the craziness of the day takes hold.
Not a morning person? No problem! Walking is flexible. Just fit it in when you can, as long as you do it. Don’t fall in to the mental trap of saying to yourself oh well, I overslept and missed my morning walk so I guess I just won’t manage it today. Baloney. Set aside a time later in the day. Don’t skip it.
In week two increase your daily walk to 20 minutes. Make a conscious effort to notice nature if you are walking outside. The cloud formations, the flowers and trees, the birds. You will start to experience an increased energy level and you will be looking forward to your walks.
Consider varying your routine somewhat by joining with friends or family, listening to music, walking different routes, or even listening to a book on tape. Know yourself. Are you someone who is motivated by sharing experiences with others? Then find buddies to walk with – just make sure they are reliable!
If you are a stay at home Mom and you regularly meet other Moms for coffee, consider joining or starting a stroller walking group a day or two a week.
Some of you will feel constricted by having a specific appointment for your walk. If flexibility is the key for you to be successful, then resolve to walk on your own. Use the time to mentally give thanks for all of the good things in your life, to acknowledge all of the positive changes you are making, and to go over your affirmations
Work up to 30 minutes for week 3, 35 minutes for week 4, 40 minutes for week 5, and 45 minutes for week 6. Try to include some hills, or increase the incline of the treadmill at least a couple of times a week.
The Beginners Exercise Plan is a 45 minute daily walk. You have achieved a level of fitness adequate enough to realize cardiovascular benefits. You will have more energy, be thinking clearer, and losing weight!
Celebrate when you get to 45 minutes per day. This is an achievement to be proud of. You don’t need to exercise more than this. But it’s possible that you are ready to add more. Or maybe you are ready to try a new form of exercise like yoga that has additional benefits. You have graduated from the Beginners Exercise Plan.
Advanced Exercise Plan
The Advanced Exercise Plan is for you if you are already a gym rat, avid runner, or consistent walker. Are you bored with your current routine? Ready to kick it up a notch? Or looking to get additional benefits from exercise?
William Cowper said “variety is the spice of life”. Variety in your exercise routine will spice up the benefits and rewards of exercise. The key is to try new forms of exercise that will challenge you physically and mentally.
For example, if you currently walk every day, adding weight training twice a week will jump start your resting metabolism. If you enjoy competitive sports like tennis or racketball, supplementing with yoga twice a week will promote flexibility and prevent injury. Learn more about the benefits of yoga.
Are you more of a social creature? Take a class like ballroom or belly dancing, join a hiking group, try frisbee golf, or go to a water aerobics class. There are countless inexpensive varieties of exercise that will get you moving in new ways.
The internet has made it much easier to find these experiences. Try Craig’s List or type hiking club and your city into Google.
The Advanced Exercise Plan is not really a formal plan. It is a challenge to try new things. If you find something you love, great. If you try a different thing once a week but don’t end up doing the same activity twice, that’s OK too.
Talk to your colleagues and friends and find out what they enjoy and when and where they do it. Give it a try. Or really get out of your comfort zone and try something on your own. There will be other newbies, so don’t worry about sticking out.
Congratulate yourself every time you do something new. Even if you hated it, at least you can cross it off your list. Keep an activity journal, writing down the what, when, and where of each new activity and what you did and did not like about it.
Laugh at yourself and your experiences. You will be healthier and happier for having tried something different.