Fitness 101: Choosing the Right Workout for You
What’s Your Fitness Level?
Are you a total couch potato? Former athlete? Occasional marathon runner? Knowing your fitness level is the most important factor in choosing the right workout for you. That’s because your body may not be able to handle the demands of a regular workout if you go from never working out in your life to working out five days a week.
Are you motivated enough to stick to a demanding workout? Are you more suited for shorter exercises at closer intervals in between sessions, or longer exercises at extended intervals in between sessions? Set a realistic schedule for your motivation level so that you don’t lose track; consistency is key. Remember that your body also needs time to rest in between workouts.
It’s no secret that playing sports is one of the best forms of exercise. In fact, some people prefer outdoor activities to the monotony of the gym. If you think you belong to that demographic, try playing sports like American football, soccer and swimming, tennis, badminton, Frisbee and many more.
Swimming is an excellent sport for all ages, not to mention it’s a survival skill that anyone can benefit from knowing. Swimming increases your aerobic capacity and uses practically all the major and minor muscle groups. It’s a whole-body workout that is inexpensive and effective.
Getting fit doesn’t always mean lifting heavy weights and sports. Sometimes, it can be a fun filled activity like dancing! Zumba, for instance is a popular dance class that burns as much as 700 calories an hour.
Squash is among the top contenders for the title of “best cardio-intensive sport.” That’s because it combines both running and upper body movements in one. Ask any squash player and they will tell you how exhausted they feel after a workout session. It’s an extremely fast-paced game that isn’t suited for everyone because of the nature of play and the intensity at which the games are played.
Cycling is another great form of cardio exercise that is similar in effect to running, but without the damage to the knees that normally accompanies long-distance or frequent runners. The more impact on the knees, the more likely you’ll have problems with it in the future.
You may think it’s too late to get fit, but the reality is that it’s never too late to live a healthier lifestyle. Working out when you’re in your fifties, sixties or even seventies is no problem, as long as you listen to your body’s natural signals.
Things to watch out for:
- Extreme shortness of breath, to the point of almost passing out
- Joints hurting more than what is considered normal for you
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Absence of sweat
- Prolonged fatigue
Sports such as golf, badminton, swimming and cycling may be considered safe options for the older crowd. It’s all about varying the intensity and knowing your personal limits. You don’t have to bike 30 miles if you can barely do 3 miles. Set reasonable goals for yourself to avoid injury.