Looking to lose weight in the New Year? Your fitness and exercise need not be boring, or something that you dread doing. There are all kinds of exercise for all personalities and life styles. Whether you’re a mom of a new baby trying to drop the pregnancy pounds, or someone who’s looking forward to bathing suit season, you can find the exercise routine that’s right for you. When you love the type of exercise you’re getting, it ceases to be a routine and just becomes plain enjoyment.
Jogging. Jogging involves running at a rhythmic, steady, medium pace – like a trot as opposed to a sprint. This repetitive, weight-bearing exercise offers the vast benefit of a cardio-vascular workout which is one of the best ways to burn calories, lose fat and increase your overall physical health. You don’t have to call yourself a runner, sign up for 5Ks, or run on the highway to get the benefits of a routine jog. Even just lapping the neighborhood a few times at a slow jog will help you improve your level of physical fitness while boosting metabolism and burning calories.
If you think that jogging could be for you but you’ve never done it before, aim to start with a brisk walk for about a mile or two each day. Once your heart and lungs get up to speed with your daily exercise, you can increase the level of difficulty by breaking into a slow rhythmic run. Not only is jogging a fantastic stress reliever (it’s said that bouncing breaks up tension in the muscles of the body), but it also stimulates your organs. Once you become a more practiced jogger, you can work on form and coordination by moving your arms and legs in synchrony while holding your torso in an erect position that keeps the core muscles tucked in.
Walking. Depending on your age, ability level and preference for how you like to move, walking or hiking might be the preferred choice in daily exercise for you. Some people don’t enjoy or aren’t ready to run, and that’s okay if you’re one of those people. You might be challenged with joint problems, or simply not up for the vigorous shaking-up of the body that running generally produces.
If walking seems like the right choice of exercise to help you get in shape and lose weight, then why not put on your exercise footwear and hit the pavement for a fitness improving stroll around town. When you’re ready, you can increase the intensity of your walking workout in a variety of ways. Try slipping on some ankle weights or wearing a pack while you walk. Choose a hilly area to get your heart rate up while briskly walking as well as give your quad and calf muscles a workout. Practice doing precise arm movements and keep your posture erect while walking so that you can become mindful of each movement of your body parts as they work in concert.
Exercise machines. For those who enjoy listening to their favorite tunes while using the cardio machines but may not be able to get to the gym, there’s always the option of creating a home gym. High quality exercise equipment can be purchased online and delivered to your doorstep to be assembled at home. Or, head on down to your favorite department store where you can try out all of the different types of exercise equipment they have there. Popular choices for doing an at-home gym workout include the treadmill, elliptical machine, Stairmaster or exercise bike. You can also purchase weight machines that give your shoulders, quads, core and other major muscle areas a workout.
The benefits of a home gym are that you can get as sweaty as you want and wear whatever you like, without having to worry that people are looking and judging. With home gym equipment, you can get in a workout at any time of day or night (though it’s generally better for your body and regulation of wake-sleep cycles to do a workout during the day time hours). And of course, using exercise equipment from the comfort of home means that you don’t have to get dressed, pack your gym bag, gas up the car and head out to the gym at a certain time.
Just be sure that you do invest in home exercise equipment, you come up with some self motivation to keep you consistent with your workout. Many people who want to lose weight choose the gym because the fitness experts who work there keep them accountable. The other people who work out at the gym also might be a source of inspiration and support to keep on going when the going gets tough.
Free weights. Free weights are a useful item to have at home if you like to grab a bit of healthy exercise over the course of your busy day in the name of staying fit, toning your body and dropping some pounds. You can start by purchasing a few sets of two dumbbells each (one for each side), in varying weights. Depending on your current level of strength, you may choose lighter weights, or go for increased poundage if you’re looking to bulk up or advance with your weight training practice.
To give an idea, a female who is just starting out with weight lifting might make an initial purchase of 3-lb., 5-lb. and 8-lb. handheld weights. You’ll find these items at your local Wal-mart or for purchase online at a site like Amazon. To increase the intensity of your leg workout, you might also consider picking up some ankle weights to wear when doing your lower body workout or even while walking.
Using free weights for health and fitness is by no means limited to bicep curls. If you do a search online you can follow along with a free weights routine online that will have you doing specific movements that target certain areas, like the shoulders, forearms, biceps, triceps and lats. You can even give the legs and core a good workout simply by learning how to engage these muscles while doing your arm reps with the free weights.
Weight lifting is generally done in sets of slow, rhythmic movements. For example, you may have been taught to do 12 reps of one repetitive lifting movement, then take a few breaths, and repeat your set of 12 repetitions two more times. The slower and more precise your weight-lifting movements, the more of a benefit you’re likely to deliver to your muscles, including the major ones such as the abs, glutes and quads.