Enjoy Your Exercise. Ease into your exercise program every day when you are a beginner so you enjoy your exercise as much as possible. The most exciting phenomenon will then occur — once you are committed to maintaining your exercise program, you'll feel so wonderful that you'll actually start looking forward to exercising!
Know Your Exercise Target Heart Rate. Ask your physician for a detailed exercise prescription, including a customized Target Heart Rate, so you will know exactly how hard or how easy to exercise on each of your workout days.
Give Yourself a Break. If you're not feeling well one day or if you find yourself not looking forward to your exercise program anymore, it may be time to take a break. Taking a few days off from your exercise routine and doing other nourishing activities will rejuvenate you so you can get more benefit and enjoyment from your exercise when you return.
Change Your Exercise Routine. Exercise that will give you weight loss results needs to be constantly changing so your body doesn't become bored and reach a "fitness plateau".
Exercise with a Buddy. Having a regular exercise "buddy" will not only give you someone to talk to, but will also keep you on your toes and gently remind you if you need a little encouragement to keep exercising.
Move as Much as Possible. In addition to your regular exercise program, remember to move as much as possible each day of your life! Studies have shown that overall calorie burn is greatest achieved if you workout regularly using a variety of exercise programs.
Cardio Exercise Tips
The right Variety, Frequency, Duration, Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE), and Target Heart Rate for your exercise level can help you get the most benefit from your exercise program.
First Time Exerciser
Variety: Vary your activities, increase your movement as much as possible every day and increase the foundation of activities that you can do to exercise. If you are only comfortable walking, consider learning how to ride a bike or buy an indoor exercise bike and begin cycling. If you have access to a pool but don't know how to swim, add water walking to your list of available activities you can do for exercise to create more variety and gain greater benefits from your exercise program.
Frequency: As a first timer your goal should be to exercise a minimum of one to three days a week as you begin your program. This will allow you to ease into your exercise program, feel good doing your program and most importantly continue doing your exercise program. Once you are comfortable exercising a few days a week set a goal to exercise a minimum of at least three days a week, adding additional days as often as possible.
Duration: As a first timer exercising, you should focus on an exercise duration of whatever feels good. Your goal is to always have your exercise be invigorating, enjoyable and fun. Start with an exercise duration that you can comfortably accomplish, that "feels good". Then you can slowly push yourself to exercise a bit longer every day you work out until you reach the ideal of at least 20 minutes of exercise most days of the week. However, it is important to vary duration so your body continues to receive an effective training stimulus, creating effective weight loss. To vary your exercise duration you simply change around the length of time each day that you exercise. For example, day one you may go for a longer workout, day two, a bit shorter workout, day three a medium duration workout, day four an extra long duration workout. Remember, variety stimulates the body to change, resulting in greater weight loss benefits.
Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE): 1 to 4
Target Heart Rate: 40-60%
Variety: Be sure to do a wide variety of different types of workouts and different types of activity. Vary your exercise intensity, duration and how many days you workout as much as possible too!
Frequency: To lose body fat your goal should be to exercise a minimum of three to five days per week. If you are just getting started in your program it is fine if you ease into a regular schedule of exercising, but try to focus on at least three days per week, and more if you have time.
Duration: As a beginning exerciser your most important goal with duration is to vary it! Always aim for a minimum of at least 20 to 30 minutes, with the ultimate goal of at least one or two days exercising for a minimum of 30 to 40 minutes. Remember to constantly vary your duration, going for a long slow duration workout on day one, followed by a short duration workout on day two, then a moderate duration workout on day three, and an extra long duration on day four. The more variety in your workout duration the better results you will have. To gain the greatest fat loss, a minimum duration of 40 minutes is ideal, but that doesn't mean that you need to exercise for that exact duration each and every day. Remember to always vary your exercise duration to gain the greatest weight loss benefit.
Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE): 2 to 6
Target Heart Rate: 50-75%
Variety: Like most people you probably have an exercise program that you like to do, but it is probably a bit limited in its variety. Gain more benefits from your exercise program by adding greater variety to your weekly exercise. Change around every day how long you exercise, the type of workout you do and the activity. This will give you greater overall benefit from your exercise program.
Frequency: Once you are an intermediate exerciser, your goal should be to focus on exercising most days of the week. Ideally, try to exercise every other day, or at least four to five days per week.
Duration: As an intermediate exerciser your most important goal with duration is to vary it! Always aim for a minimum of at least 30 to 50 minutes. If you can't make time for a longer workout, no problem. Just be sure you don't whittle away your time during the day so you end up with only 20 minutes to exercise every day. You will experience the greatest weight loss results if you constantly vary your exercise duration between a minimum of 20 minutes up to 60 minutes. The longer duration workouts are a great way to accumulate a significant calorie burn while exercising at an easy, comfortable pace. In contrast, the shorter duration workouts are also very beneficial, especially if you exercise for a shorter duration but at a fairly hard intensity. The greater variety you can build into your workout durations the greater weight loss you will achieve.
Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE): 2 to 8
Target Heart Rate: 50-85% of your MHR