Progressing Your Exercise Program

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The fact that you are interested in reading this article tells me you have been exercising regularly and are ready for more.  Congratulations on making fitness a regular part of your life First, take a moment to be proud of your accomplishments thus far. You are in the minority if you are exercising 3 or more days per week.  Don’t forget to reward your efforts with something you enjoy.

Now that you have improved your fitness, endurance and health, you want to be sure to maintain your new healthful habits for a lifetime as well as continue to make improvements.

Below are some suggestions to continue to improve or maintain your fitness program.  Exercise must be engaged in on an ongoing basis in order to see improvements or maintain the fitness level you have acquired.  Decide what your commitments are and plan for the next phase of your fitness.

1.Get Strong – Now that you have built a solid endurance base with your fitness program, consider incorporating strength training into your routine.  Strength training can be done 2 – 3 times weekly using a total body routine.  Strength training should be done on alternating days.  You can use a variety of modalities for resistance such as your body weight, dumbbells, fitness tubing, balls or machines. Create a routine working from largest to smallest muscle group.  If you need help with a routine, seek out the advice of a personal trainer.

2.Try something new – Since you have a cardiovascular foundation, it will be easier for you to transition into other cardiovascular based activities.  You may always have wanted to try kick boxing, studio cycling, step aerobics or rowing.  You are at an advantage trying some thing new because you already have a solid foundation. 

3.Sign up for a lesson – A series of lessons in an activity such as Karate, line dancing or yoga can keep you in shape.  Signing up for a program that is 6 weeks in length or longer, helps you to keep your commitments and develop other area’s of fitness including agility, balance and coordination.

4.Become an athlete – Consider a sport like tennis or swimming or racquet ball.  Your body will learn new movement patterns with each activity and take your fitness to a new level.  These activities incorporate things like speed, agility and balance that are not needed in riding a stationary bike or using an elliptical trainer.

5.Join a club. There are cycling, running and hiking clubs for starters.  Having the guidance and commitment of a group helps to keep you on track and motivated.

6.Enjoy the great outdoors – Going to a track and walking, jogging, running and sprinting laps are very productive. You can also incorporate the stadium stairs (think Rocky Balboa) to drive your heart rate up.  Find rail trails to run on and paths to hike on. You can also look for parks with walking paths and exercise stations. Universities can also be a beautiful place for challenging walks.

7.Enlist – Outdoor boot camps are all the rage.  Boot camps typically consist of walking / running along with strength training, yoga, kick boxing, obstacle courses, games, sport drills, hikes and more. This is a wonderful combination of many of the alternatives available to you.  You will be at an advantage starting boot camp with 20 weeks of walking under your belt.

8.Build up your intensity – The more fit you become, the harder you can work and the shorter your workouts can be.  Push your physical limits by working towards the upper range of your heart rate range for several minutes during your workout. This will push your performance abilities allowing you to work at higher levels and not needing to work as long.

9.Become a Video Queen (or King) – There are lots of wonderful exercise options available on DVD. You can try out videos first by renting them at your local video store or library. Find the ones you like and consider them for purchase. You can swap video’s with friends or trade them online.  The trick is to find an instructor and workout you enjoy and will engage in regularly. Stick to newer videos as some of the older ones may be outdated regarding safe and effective exercises and routines. Choose at least 3 different video’s to choose from in order to have variety in your workouts.

10.Make it a family affair. Choose activities the whole family can enjoy.  For example, mom may choose taking a self defense class.  Next day might pick swim lessons then let the children choose something they are interested in that everyone can take a lesson in together. Many towns and community centers will offer lessons for families to take together. 

11.Always be dressed to move. You never know when the opportunity may arise to go for a quick jog.  If you find yourself with time to kill, instead of sitting around and waiting, you’ll be ready to get your heart rate up if your sneakers are on or in the car.

Read more on Progressing Your Exercise Program on Optimal Fitn3ss.

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