Exercise advertisements often target simplified exercise routines and spot reduction. Some exercise advertisements sell the belief that one machine will work your entire body and give you the results you need. Some machines are good for cardiovascular conditioning; however, they may not be good for other reasons, such as joint or balance limitations. To establish a proper exercise routine, you need to follow a few basic guidelines.

Before you start an exercise program or routine, a thorough medical history and evaluation are recommended so you and your doctor can identify limitations on certain exercise movements. It is highly recommended that you receive proper instructions for performing these exercises before beginning your exercise routine or program. Anaerobic exercise is not recommended for some people with certain heart or orthopedic conditions. Discuss this with your doctor.

Set goals

A complete exercise program requires three components:

  1. Stretching – to enhance flexibility of your joints and limit injury
  2. Aerobic or conditioning – to help you lose weight and improve cardiovascular fitness
  3. Anaerobic exercise or toning – to help you build or tone muscles

When setting goals, it is important to design a program that you can do in a schedule that you will definitely keep. Look at your calendar and schedule in your exercise sessions. You do not have to do all three components of the exercise program every day, but to lose weight the most important component will be aerobic conditioning. If you need to start by exercising in 10-minute increments, that's OK. Every week or so, your goal will be to increase the amount of time you exercise until you are exercising at least 30 minutes per session.

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