Fitness programs are a dime a dozen. However, as with the diet plans for weight loss, not all fitness programs are created equal to everybody’s needs, wants and preferences for physical activity.
And it is not to the best interest either of the individual to dismiss an exercise program in favor of diet plans only where weight loss is concerned. As mentioned in a previous article, physical activity is one of the three critical parts in losing weight effectively with the other two being a healthy diet and lifestyle habits. Fortunately, there are four steps that can be followed when choosing from among numerous exercise programs.
Assess Your Physical Condition
Experts recommend medical consultations when assessing your physical condition in relation to choosing an exercise program. This way, medications, underlying medical conditions and other health issues can be addressed and then correlated with the chosen fitness plan. It must be noted that there are certain medical conditions not suitable for certain exercise movements (i.e., people with a heart condition are advised not to engage in interval training while individuals with joint problems must stay away from high-impact exercises).
Set Your Fitness Goals
With clear fitness goals in place, you are in a better position to choose the most appropriate fitness program for obvious reasons. Keep in mind that the fitness plans can be customized depending on your evolving needs from physical exercises.
Obviously, your first goal is to lose weight for health purposes. Cardiovascular exercises play a more important role during the early phases of weight loss since the main objective is to burn calories, melt the fat and speed up the metabolism. When weight loss has been achieved, strength training exercises are gradually introduced with the main goal being to tone the muscles, provide definition to the body and strengthen it.
Consider Your Personality
Many weight loss watchers make the mistake of choosing a fitness program because it was popular with their family and friends as well as endorsed by their favorite celebrities. The result is quickly dropping out of the program because it was not as enjoyable as expected given their personal likes and dislikes in certain physical activity.
To avoid making this mistake, you have to think of the physical activity that you enjoy the most and then find a fitness program that corresponds to it. For example, if you like dancing, then excellent choices for cardiovascular exercise include aerobics, Zumba and dance classes.
Look for Variety
Let’s face it. Doing the same exercise movements over and over again leads to boredom and, consequently, to dropping out of the fitness program. Plus, repetitive movements increase the risks for injury to the tissues, muscles and joints as well as develop only one part of the body.
Experts suggest looking for a fitness plan that provides variety to the physical activities including changes in speed, duration and challenge. For example, instead of just swimming, add walking and running. Or adopt an interval training method for running. Better yet, alternate the days for cardio and strength training for best results.
More importantly, you have to make sure that your chosen fitness program contains the five elements of a balanced exercise program. This way, effective weight loss is achieved while also ensuring the body’s safety from injuries as well as achieving its desired symmetry in form.