Dec 11, 2020

Tips to Find Your Best Workout Plan

By Joyce Venezia Suss

Everyone has different reasons for exercising. Many want to lose weight, build endurance or become more limber. Others do it to improve their overall health or reduce physical pain. Some athletic people exercise for competitive reasons, either to reach their personal best or perhaps to win a race.

Each of these reasons can have vastly different workout plans, so it’s important to identify your goals to find an appropriate exercise regimen while considering other factors such as time, personality and lifestyle. Here are some things to consider when developing your best fitness routine.

Identify Your Goal(s)
It can be as direct as losing 10 pounds or aiming to run 10 miles. It can also be a combination of goals. For instance, losing weight corresponds to a desire to fit into favorite clothes that don’t fit anymore. Going on a cycling trek could also be a social activity with like-minded friends. Write down your goals, and reinforce your list with what might happen if you reach those goals.

Consider Your Time and Energy Level
A single parent with two small children probably has less free time than a retiree, but both can develop an exercise plan. If you are short on time, do simple exercises at home or even your workplace. Invest in some hand weights or resistance bands; use a table or desk for dips and pushups; jog in place; do some squats and lunges. Not sure of the proper techniques? Turn to the internet for video demonstrations.

Find Something You Love to Do
The key to exercise is finding activities that you really enjoy – and that get your heart racing and your body moving. You can hike local trails, take a brisk walk around your neighborhood or even work toward a goal of running a marathon. If you’re not sure what you might enjoy, try classes at a fitness club, such as spin cycling, yoga or kickboxing. Dance studios may offer Zumba, line dancing and swing dancing. Swim at the Y, go roller skating, play golf. Try to find several activities you enjoy, so you don’t get bored.

Think About Your Personal Preferences
Do you want to exercise outside alone, enjoying the sounds of nature or your favorite tunes in your earbuds? Or are you a social butterfly who prefers a lively fitness club? If you hate the atmosphere of gyms, you can run, ride a bike or do your own exercise routine in the park. Some group classes are also offered in outdoor settings.

Find People Who Inspire You
Stay on target by developing a workout plan with at least one other person, ideally someone who will exercise with you. And if you are going solo, find family and friends to support you on your mission to get fit, who want you to succeed. All the benefits of getting in better shape come with time and patience, so you need a cheering squad, especially if you get frustrated. Personal trainers are also an option for those who do better with structured plans, whether it’s friendly or more like boot camp.

Check with Your Doctor
Before beginning any exercise plan, make sure it won’t aggravate prior injuries, especially to your knees or back. Depending on your current condition, walking on a treadmill may be safer than uneven sidewalks. If you have a heart condition or take medications, get clearance from your physician.

Set a Realistic Timeline
With a regular workout plan, you might lose one or two pounds a week, especially when done in conjunction with a healthy diet. Building endurance takes time – typically many months. If you want daily gratification, get a pedometer to count your daily steps; some even keep track of calories.