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Setting Up a Basic Exercise Program

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/21/2006 | Fitness
There are two basic things you need to know when you are setting up an exercise program . . .

1. You need twenty to forty minutes of aerobic exercise three to four times a week.

2. You need to include strength training at least twice a week, but preferably three times a week.

If you absolutely, positively are going to choose only aerobic exercise or strength exercise - choose aerobic exercise. You are exercising your heart muscle and aside from the obvious advantage to that, aerobic exercise will help you maintain your weight.

You need to keep in mind, however, that muscle burns fat, so if you can toss in about fifty push-ups before your aerobic exercise, you will reap the benefits....

Why strength exercise before aerobic exercise?

Actually, for the first twenty minutes of your aerobic exercise, you are burning about eighty per cent carbohydrates and twenty per cent fat. If your goal is to lose weight, you want to burn more fat and less carbs, right?

Well, the next twenty minutes will get you into about a fifty/fifty mode. You're burning a lot more fat than you were and that's a good thing.

If you go beyond forty minutes, you will be burning about eighty per cent fat. Realistically though, most people are not going to exercise for that long. Twenty to thirty minutes of aerobic exercise is about average.

If you start out doing pushups, you actually start the aerobic activity...not much, but it's a start. So, when you begin your aerobic exercise, you may begin burning that fat a little quicker.

OK - Now to start! First, find an aerobic exercise you enjoy. More than one type of exercise is best as you can keep your workouts interesting and it will help keep your routine from getting stale.

Let's say running is an exercise you enjoy and you also like aerobics, like using some of the exercise tapes from Richard Simmons.

Now, plan your schedule by selecting the days and times you can do the exercise. Make it at least three days a week and do not take more than two days off in a row. The most popular routine is Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Most fitness experts highly recommend trying to exercise at the same time on those days; not a necessity but it helps get you into a routine and you're more likely to continue.

If you're not going to do strength training, as mentioned earlier, at least do some push-ups.

Be sure to start your routine with a warmup, and gradually increase the tempo. If you're following an exercise tape, it's fairly simple to know what intensity you should be doing. If you are running, try throwing in periods of faster running along the way, followed by slower running. This will really get you in shape.

Do the aerobic tape routine on some days and on the days you feel like going on a run, go run.

If you decide to strength train as well, do this two to three times a week! A good routine should include:

-Biceps Curl
-Triceps Curl
-Shoulder Press
-Bench Press
-Lunges
-Calf Raises

Work up to two to three sets of eight repetitions for each exercise. This will give you a full body workout.

Do this for a month and see if you don't feel a difference.