Every year my New Year’s resolution is to spend more time exercising, but, like many, I go overboard and burn out very fast. Based on gym participation, January is a very busy month. However, by February, you can see the numbers beginning to decline; people have burned out with their exercise routine.
For many of us, free time always seems to be at a premium. There never seems to be enough time for a workout. If you’re like me, I spend my time doing cardio exercises (running, biking) but spend very little time weight training.
Weight training, however, should be a part of everyone’s exercise routine. The benefits of weight training include:
• Increased metabolism;
• Burning extra calories while you sleep or are watching TV;
• Better posture and therefore gaining confidence in your appearance;
• Improved muscle mass and endurance; and
• Bone density improvements.
To help us get started with our New Year’s exercise routine, I interviewed Janet Roeming. Janet is the Fitness Center director for the Kettle Moraine YMCA. She also coordinates activity programs for our company. Janet has been certified with The American Council on Exercise for fifteen years. Her passion is helping people find balance with a fitness program that works for them.
Here are Janet’s tips for getting your workout routine started, along with some core and strength exercises you can do throughout the day.
Tips to get started
- Keep records. Will keeping a record of your workout routine help you feel successful? It keeps some people motivated, while others find it a waste of time. Figure out what type of person you are. If tracking your routine helps, there are various ways to do it, including Excel spreadsheets and smart phone apps. Runkeeper or MyFitnessPal are two apps I’ve used in the past.
- Find a workout buddy. Work out with a friend, co-worker, or family member who shares your goals. This extra accountability can keep you motivated. If you can’t find a workout buddy, consider hiring a personal trainer to get you started.
- Vary your workout. When you begin your workout program, it may be fun and exciting; however, after a while, it can become mundane. Most facilities have a lot of different equipment and offer a variety of classes. If you’re getting bored, don’t quit! Go outside your comfort zone and join a class or ask for a brief orientation on some new pieces of equipment or exercise moves.
Core and Strength exercises
Bridge. This is a great exercise for beginners, especially if you live a sedentary life. The bridge exercise will help strengthen your hip flexors, hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. To learn how to do a bridge, click here.
Plank. The plank also works your core region, including your abs, lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. Most people are very weak in their lower backs, so this is a great exercise to help strengthen your back without stressing it.
To start, hold the plank position for 30 seconds and then rest for a minute. Your starting goal should be three sets of planks. As you get stronger, consider increasing your time.
If you can do three sets, holding each plank for a minute, you’re getting stronger. The plank is a great exercise you can do with your family. Consider a plank challenge. My wife and daughters are always challenging each other. I should probably start joining them. Please note that proper plank form is very important. To learn how to do a plank, click here.
Push-ups. Push-ups are a great strength exercise because you can do them at any time and anywhere!
Many people, however, avoid doing push-ups because they’re too difficult, or do them incorrectly. If push-ups are a challenge for you, consider starting with knee push-ups. To complete a knee push up, your hands should be back from your shoulders with elbows pointing backwards at a 45-degree angle. Don’t extend your hands too far in front of you since this will put extra torque on your internal shoulder rotators. Everything from your knees up should move up at the same time in a line.
The proper technique for toe push-ups is the same. Your chest should come down between your hands. A lot of people place their hands too far in front of their bodies and do not have a good range of motion. That technique is incorrect. To learn how to do a push-up, click here.
The great thing about the strength exercises Janet shared is that you can do them at anytime and you don’t need expensive equipment.
Do you have any exercise tips you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them; please share them in the box below.
Disclaimer: Before you begin an exercise routine, please consult with your physician.