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10/04/15

Hard times: Why do we make exercise so difficult?

A friend of mine, now that the weather has gotten a little colder, has decided to join a gym. He worked out quite a bit but that was almost 25 years ago now, so he's getting back into exercise now that he's about 20 pounds heavier than he was in 1990.
That being said, he's gotten his mind in the right frame of mind, but he seems a little lost. And by that he isn't sure if he wants to lift weights, do cardiovascular work on the treadmill or if he wants to focus more on diet than exercise. He remembers what he did in his healthier days, but heavy duty weight training at 45 years of age isn't going to cut it. He thought, too, about ordering one of those P90x DVDs, or starting on with a personal trainer, although both of those are a little too pricey for him at the moment.
Then again, money as part of the equation, he sounds as though getting started might be harder than the actual exercise that is on the table.
And my friend is no different than most: we tend to make exercise and losing weight a lot harder than it needs to be. With that said, no one is arguing that losing weight can be challenging, but that doesn't mean you have to get lost in the myriad of programs and offerings that promise weight loss and being healthier, when you aren't sure that you can trust them or how credible they truly are.
What tends to get lost in this sales and marketing blitz is the simple facts about losing weight: eat less, exercise more. Now, granted, it isn't always that simple but that basic outline often is the best remedy for reaching your goal if you start with that and build from there.

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You should figure how many calories you're eating and start cutting out two important items that will help with weight loss: Fat and sugar. Once you rid your diet of those two ingredients, you should increase you water intake and lose the sugary beverages or anything that includes artificial sweeteners.
As far as exercise goes, you should start with 20 minutes of cardio every day, and then add a modest 15 to 20 minutes of strength training, high reps, low weight, just to focus on muscle toning more than building huge arms, legs or chest.
As you move on from that point, you can implement Yoga, pilates or some speciality exercise program that sets its sights on stretching those muscles, while toning them.
This isn't to suggest that you can't go right out of the gate and hit the Zumba class or buy into personal training. All that is being said is you can keep it simple to start with, which tends to lead to you sticking with exercise and dieting much longer than if you're totally confused.

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