Starting an Exercise Program 101

| 1/18/2012 2:40:36 PM

J.PattonAt the start of the New Year, gyms are packed with people full of high hopes—high hopes that in just a few weeks, weight will start melting away, leaving their bodies beach-ready by summer. However, many novices have thrown in the towel on starting an exercise program by the time the snow has melted, concluding that this “exercise stuff” just isn’t for them.

I dare say you don’t have to be one of those people. Here’s how to successfully start an exercise program that will have you excited about physical activity, not dreading it.

First thing’s first: Before starting an exercise program, you need to get the go-ahead from your primary physician that says you can exercise with no restrictions.

Once you’ve gotten the okay, it’s time to assess your fitness level. Odds are, you probably have some idea about where you stand on a fitness scale. However, by getting actual numbers, you will have something to measure against later down the road. Here are a few things to consider recording:

• Your pulse rate before and after you walk one mile
• How long it takes you to walk one mile
• How many push-ups you can do at a time before resting
• How far you can reach forward while seated on the floor with your legs extended in front of you
• Your waist circumference as measured around your bare abdomen just above your hipbone
• Your body mass index 

Keep these numbers in a safe place so you can track your progress.