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.

Keep track of your success

There are several ways to monitor your success:

  • Improvement in endurance – keep an exercise diary. Note changes in how your feel with your exercise, such as: being able to go farther, having to increase the intensity of the activity to achieve your target heart rate, feeling less short of breath, etc.
  • More room in your clothes – you should feel better in your clothes. They should fit better or you may notice they are getting bigger (you are getting smaller!).
  • Keeping measurements – Keeping records of your weight or inches may be helpful to track your success. However, some people get discouraged if they do not see big changes. While your fat level may be decreasing, you may be increasing in lean body mass. Since muscle weighs more than fat, it may appear that you are not losing weight, but maybe even gaining weight. Use other measurements for success instead of weight loss such as toner legs and arms, decreases in waist, hip or arm measurements, increased energy levels or improvements in your overall health.

What is a body composition test?

A body composition test is a way to determine your current percentage of body fat. It is also a way to track progress during your exercise program. A body composition test is more accurate in determining your ideal body weight. The ideal range for females is 18 to 26% body fat. The ideal range for males is 12 to 17% body fat.