A customised exercise program is a great way to stay fit. It also brings a wide range of physical and mental benefits. Gyms can develop a program for you, offering many different types of classes and a wide range of exercise equipment. If you lose motivation, set new goals or try a new activity.
Exercise programs are becoming more popular. There are gyms with many different types of classes and exercise equipment, catering to a wide range of people.
Starting an exercise program can be challenging if you are unfamiliar with what’s involved. Talk to a gym supervisor to find out about the many options available.
Health benefits of exercise programs
An exercise program that is designed specially for you is a great way to stay fit. It also provides many benefits, including:
- Improved condition of the heart and lungs
- Increased muscular strength, endurance and motor fitness
- Increased aerobic fitness
- Improved muscle tone and strength
- Weight management
- Better coordination, agility and flexibility
- Improved balance and spatial awareness
- Increased physical confidence
- Reduced risk of chronic disease
- Improved sleep
- Improved general and psychological wellbeing
- Greater self-confidence and self-esteem.
Before beginning your exercise program
Before you get started, it will help if you:
- Work out your fitness level
- Design your fitness program
- Assemble your equipment.
Assessing your fitness level for an exercise program
You probably have some idea of how fit you are. However, assessing and recording baseline (starting) fitness scores can give you benchmarks (points of comparison) against which to measure your progress.
You should record:
- Your pulse rate before and after a walk
- How long you take to walk a certain distance
- How many push-ups you can do at a time
- Your waist circumference at the level of your navel (bellybutton)
- Your body mass index (BMI). This is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in metres.
Designing your fitness program
When you design your fitness program, points to keep in mind include:
- Consider your goals. Are you starting a fitness program to lose weight or for some other reason?
- Think about your likes and dislikes. Choose activities you will enjoy.
- Plan a logical progression of activity. If you’re just beginning to exercise, start cautiously and progress slowly.
- Build activity into your daily routine. Schedule time to exercise as you would any other appointment.
- Think variety. By varying your activities (cross-training), you can avoid exercise boredom.
- Allow time for recovery after exercising.
- Put it on paper. A written plan can encourage you to stay on track.
Assemble your exercise clothing and equipment
Be sure to pick shoes designed for the activity you have in mind, as well as your foot type. If you’re planning to buy gym equipment, choose something that’s practical, enjoyable and easy to use.
Getting started on your exercise program
- Start slowly and build up gradually
- Break things up if you have to
- Be creative – include other activities such as walking, bicycling, rowing or dancing in your routine
- Listen to your body – don’t push yourself too hard
- Be flexible – if you’re not feeling good, give yourself permission to take a day or two off.
Monitoring progress on your exercise program
Assess your progress six weeks after you start your program and then every three to six months. You may need to increase the amount of time you exercise in order to continue improving. On the other hand, you may be pleasantly surprised to find that you’re exercising just the right amount to meet your fitness goals.
If you lose motivation, set new goals or try a new activity. Exercising with a friend or taking a class at a local fitness centre may help.
Where to get help
- Your local council
- Local gymnasium
- Smartplay Tel. (03) 9674 8777
Things to remember
- A customised exercise program is a great way to stay fit and will bring a wide range of physical and mental benefits.
- See your doctor for a check-up.
- Consider your fitness goals. Are you starting a fitness program to help you lose weight or for some other reason?
- Start slowly, build up gradually and monitor your progress.
You might also be interested in:
- Exercise safety.
- Physical activity - choosing the one for you.
- Physical activity - how to get started.
- Physical activity - it's important.
- Physical activity - men.
- Physical activity - women.
Want to know more?
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Last reviewed: November 2012
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