Tips for beginning an exercise program

Image by 👀 Mabel Amber, who will one day from Pixabay

Beginning an exercise program can be daunting, especially if you have never really been into fitness before.

Some people, when they exercise, strive for a bikini body. If you have a diving bell body, don't fret, because you too can get help from regular exercise. You can look better, but more important feel better if you eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep.

Michael R. Bracko, EdD, FACSM, chairman of the American College of Sports Medicine's Consumer Information Committee, told WebMD:

"Exercise is the magic pill. Exercise can literally cure diseases like some forms of heart disease. Exercise has been implicated in helping people prevent or recover from some forms of cancer. Exercise helps people with arthritis. Exercise helps people prevent and reverse depression." [1]

Exercise and fitness reduce the risk for disease, improve your mood and sleep patterns, and help you keep a healthy weight.

Before you begin any exercise program, it's important to talk to your doctor or healthcare provider to make certain it's OK for you if you have major health risks or are a male over age 45 or a female over 55.

After you get the OK, one of the first things you want to do is build stamina. You can start that by walking. If you can't make it a couple of miles a day, strive for 1 mile to begin. Work your way up. Eventually, you should be able to walk one hour per day with ease.

Walking increases lung and heart strength and power, and lung, leg and core strength and stamina. It shouldn't take too long to get up to a few miles a day.

The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate activity daily. But if you just do 15 minutes, you will still get some benefit, so don't forego the exercise because you can't put in 30 minutes a day.

Other exercises for beginners

If your body is not exactly a mashed couch potato and you are not too far out of shape, there are several other kinds of exercises that are good for beginners:

  • Bicycling. Wear a helmet and put the seat at the right height. Work up to longer rides slowly. This article from gives some essential tips if you are starting to ride a bicycle for exercise [2].
  • Dancing. Join a dance studio and learn some new steps. It just might put some pizzazz back into a relationship, too.
  • Gardening. All that digging, hoeing, and bending over to pull up weeds will add up if you do it enough.
  • Housework. This, too, can get your heartbeat elevated and burn calories.

 A fitness instructor leads a class of beginners in an exercise routine.

Set goals, set out to achieve them

Whether your goal is to walk 2 miles or run 26.2 miles, to be able to do 10 pushups or tear a phone book in half, it is important to set one.

Make sure you set realistic goals. If you're 75 years old, you likely won't set a goal of running a marathon. And don't be shy about setting big goals if you are young.

Don't start out too fast or aggressively. You may end up quitting because you may become too tired, sore, or even sustain an injury. Also, don't get discouraged if you don't have instant results. That first aggressive workout is not likely to give you six-pack abs.

You want to make exercising into a habit that will deliver both long-term and short-term results over your lifetime.

Three major areas of fitness

When you're ready to move into a more rigorous exercise mode, there are three main areas of fitness training: strength conditioning, cardiovascular exercise, and flexibility training.

  1. Strength conditioning: Warm up first. Then start out by doing sets of exercises that work all the major muscle groups, one muscle group at a time. Do 8 to 12 repetitions at weights at which you feel feel comfortable. When you can lift more weight, slowly increase either the number of repetitions, the weight, or the number of sets. Do strength training at least twice a week, and never do the same muscle groups two days in a row. Here is a guide to beginning weightlifting: [3].
  2. Walk, run, ride a bike or do other aerobic activity for 20 to 30 minutes four or five times a week. Work up gradually from there until you hit your goal. Increase the speed of your gait as you become fitter and stronger.
  3. Flexibility exercises.The American College of Sports Medicine advises stretching every major muscle group two to seven times a week. Hold each exercise--but do not bounce!--for 60 seconds. More on stretching here[4].

 Electrolytes for exercise

You may have heard about electrolytes or salts that people who exercise and work hard need to supplement the natural supply from what we eat and drink. You lose salts through sweat. And you'll be sweating in the beginning because you're not used to exercised, and later on because you'll work harder.

VALI health produces two supplements [5] that supply the bodies of athletes, farmers, or construction workers with the natural substances they need when they lose salts through hard work and play.

Your muscles may cramp, tighten up or give out without the proper nutrition that VALI Electrolyte Salts [6] and Electrolyte Salts with Caffeine [7] can supply.

Compete or work at your optimal intensity and comfort with VALI Electrolyte Salts. The capsules supply:

  • 500 IU Vitamin D3 to help the body absorb calcium
  • 20 mg calcium
  • 15 mg magnesium
  • 280 mg chloride
  • 120 mg sodium
  • 100 mg potassium
  • 1 mg zinc

The capsules with caffeine also have 40 mg of the stimulant to boost your game if your energy is running out.