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Succeed with exercise


Published: 04/30/2013

by William Roebuck

There will never be a more important part of your exercise routine than the first few weeks. This is when you will begin
habits that will determine the success of your exercise. The habits could be good or bad. Just as unfitness didn’t come in

a day, neither does fitness. Here’s how to start a successful routine.


1. Keep your heart rate in the lower half of your target heart rate. You will be working hard enough to make your heart
stronger, but not over-exerting.


2. Measure your exercise by time only. If you measure your exercise by both time and distance, it encourages hurrying.
While you might start with something reasonable, each day you would be tempted to push farther or faster. So try just

going out to exercise for 20 minutes and do not worry about how far you go. Just watch your heart rate and put in your


3. Slow down or rest if you need to. Some people will find it impossible to keep going the entire 20 minutes. That is fine.
The idea is to get stronger, and you will get stronger if you simply keep your body moving the entire 20 minutes. For example, if you get tired after 10 minutes of bicycling, walk for a while. Build up to the 20 minutes. If you swim, float to rest and then try swimming again.


Do not worry if you are not up to 20 minutes at the beginning. The important thing is to keep going. If you stick
with it, your endurance will soon get longer and you will be able to go the whole 20 minutes.


4. Listen to your body. Occasionalminor stiffness the morning after exercise is to be expected. It is a sign that you
are getting into shape. Soreness may be a sign that you overdid it. You may need to cut back a little, to go slow and easy. Listen to your body and you will get into shape.


5. Warm up and cool down. Like an engine on a cold morning, your body needs a chance to warm up. A warm-up gradually
prepares your muscles for exercise. Warming up is especially important for exercise that requires quick bursts of effort, such

as basketball or racquet sports.

Rather than plunging into exercise, take five minutes to gradually get your heart and breathing going faster. Start your
normal exercise slowly and pick up the pace gradually.


When you finish your workout, your body needs a chance to cool down slowly. This means you should slow your heart rate
gently. Do not stop abruptly by standing still, sitting, lying down, or bending over with your hands on your knees. Your heart needs to come gradually back to its resting rate. Keep moving but at a slow pace to cool down.  

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