March is a great month to start a new fitness routine.
Why? The gym is much less crowded than it was a month or two ago, when the hordes of “New Year’s resolution exercisers” had yet to give up on their renewed interest in working out.
Whether you’re ready to kick your exercise regimen up a notch, or you’ve been out of shape and need to get back in form (round is a shape, but not a healthy one for your body) … consider making a change this month, and renewing your dedication to regular exercise.
Start with a visit to your family doctor.
Your doctor knows your body, and your specific health situation, better than anyone (often including you!). And your family doctor will certainly be proud of you for starting, increasing, or renewing your fitness approach.
More energy. More ability. More mental acuity. More general fun in your life… all are benefits of sticking to the exercise program that’s right for you.
Check With Your Doctor First
It’s not a good idea to dive into a rigorous program of physical exercise without first checking with your family physician.
Part of the reason the gym isn’t as crowded as it was a few weeks ago is that some percentage of do-it-yourself fitness enthusiasts are somewhat too enthusiastic as they start a new regimen… they think they can do things that might be too much for their body in its current state… and they injure themselves.
That’s why it’s best to consult your physician first, to determine what exercise program is best given your current condition.
There are two basic types of workout: aerobic (walking, jogging, running, biking, and the like), and strength training (lifting weights or doing anaerobic activities such as push-ups).
And there are different approaches to these two types, based on your current condition, your body’s needs, and your fitness goals.
Steady-state workouts might be great for some folks, while interval training is better for others. If your goal is speed and agility, you’d probably be better off with a different workout than the one you’d choose if your goal was more aligned with flexibility, or endurance.
Many people work out to lose weight. Weight-loss workouts are almost always more effective in combination with specific nutritional approaches, and your doctor can help you find the right combination of diet and exercise for your specific situation.
Whatever your goals, and whichever approach you favor, you’ll want your doctor to keep tabs on your heart rate (and suggest a good target range), your blood pressure, and the effects of any medications you might be taking.
When you work out, you want to challenge yourself… but it’s usually a really bad idea to overdo it. Talk to your doctor first, and you’re much more likely to enjoy a robust, effective workout regimen without risking injury or strain. And if you’re enjoying your workouts, you’ll be much more likely to stick with the program… and to live a long and healthy life.
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