How to Start a Bicycling Routine

I’ve written about starting a running routine https://wide-body.com/2020/09/21/how-to-start-a-running-routine-today/ https://wide-body.com/2020/09/27/how-to-start-a-running-routine-part-2/  and a swimming routine https://wide-body.com/2020/10/06/how-to-start-a-swimming-routine/  and I’ll stay with that theme here and discuss how to get started with a bicycling routine.

Of the various exercise routines in which to get started, bicycling is likely the one that can be the most expensive to start because of the cost of the bike and equipment. It can also be the routine most likely to become overcomplicated as it seems each “expert” has an opinion on how you start and maintain a routine.  Instead of adding to the confusion, I’ll attempt to simplify your decision.

Are you ready to start? Here are some steps to get you into the saddle and enjoying your new routine.

Go See Your Doctor: If you are not currently exercising and this is a brand-new routine for you, first visit your doctor. This is always a good first step. Tell your doctor your desire to start an exercise routine, and he/she will quickly run you though a check up or physical exam and ensure that you are healthy enough to start.

How Do You Want To Ride? On Road or Off Road: Do you want to ride on the road, or do you want to ride off road? It is a big decision as each bike has a different form and function. Thing of it this way; would you drive a Lamborghini super car with low profile tires on a dirt mountain road? Of course not, and bikes are no different.  Road riding is super convenient for most people and the world you drive through daily looks different when you are on a bike. If you are on the road, be sure to obey all the same laws as if you are in a car and be aware of cars on the road. Drivers are looking for other cars and may not see you, so be defensive when you are on the road. Off road or Mountain biking is a fun way to quickly launch off into nature and to see things you may only see if you were hiking. Always stay on well-maintained trails, stay off private property, and ride in pairs, especially in the beginning of your routine. If you are in a accident and by yourself, that can create a dangerous situation for yourself.

On the road in Berlin

Visit a Retailer Specializing in Bikes and Equipment: A retailer specializing in bikes will recommend the bike for your type of riding (road or off road) as well as ensure the bike is properly fitted for you. Yes, you need to have a bike fitted for your frame. A poorly fit bike makes for an unenjoyable event and you are likely to quit bicycling if you do not have a bike that is fitted for you. Along with a bike, you will need some additional equipment to ensure you are safe: a helmet (you gotta protect that melon) a comfortable saddle (bike seat), a travel air pump and spare tubes (flats happen!) and those funny looking padded shorts really do help.  Sunglasses, specialized shoes (depends on the type of pedals you use), gloves, and a water bottle should also be considered.  

Find a Place To Ride: a little online research will tell you of some good places to ride in your community. There are online bicycling communities around the world that recommend specific routes based upon your fitness level and the safety of the surrounding environment. Take 10-15 minutes and find a route that suits your needs.  

Family Fun on the Log Gatos Trail

Ease Into The Experience: If you have never rode bikes or if it has been a long time, you will be using muscles in a way that you never have before. The good news is that riding a bike is a typically not a high impact exercise (though, some mountain trails will jar you pretty hard) so your muscles will feel tired, but your joints will feel good. Nonetheless, your muscles will feel sore in ways you didn’t expect. So, on your first day out, don’t ride 25 miles and expect to feel okay. Take it easy in the beginning. Get comfortable with your bike, learn of it feels when you turn, when you break, and when you change gears. Be comfortable enough that the bike feels like an extension of you. A comfortable rider is a safe rider.

Join a group: Once you have become comfortable with your bike, know what your goals and limits, consider joining a riding club. Folks who join clubs are more likely to continue riding as the social aspect of a club make riding more fun.

Have fun: Don’t over complicate or over think a routine. At the end of the day, riding the bike as an adult is not much different than riding as a kid. And when you were a kid, riding your bike was a lot of fun. Go an experience that fun again today!

Have Fun!



If you are looking for some other resources on the topic, I’ve pulled these article for you.

A 6 week training plan: https://www.bicycling.com/training/a20024513/training-plan/

A beginners “blue print” to road cycling: https://www.bicycling.com/training/g20046639/the-beginners-blueprint-to-road-cycling-greatness/

Additional tips for getting started: https://www.bicycling.com/training/a20027599/how-to-start-cycling/

Cycling for newbies: https://www.livestrong.com/article/556239-cardio-101-start-cycling/

A three month training calendar: https://trainright.com/start-training-for-cycling/

Leave a comment and let me know if you have started a bicycling routine. If you have other ideas or tips people can learn from your experience, please share them here.

How to Start a Swimming Routine

Sometimes you find articles written by other people, and they perfectly sum up everything you would have written.

This week’s Fitness focus is on how to start a swimming routine (do you see a pattern? Last week’s Fitness post was on how to start a running routine) and I how this article from the US Masters Swimming Association, and it outlines very well what you should do if you want to start a swimming routine. Check it out here: https://www.usms.org/content/startingaroutine

He is off to a good start!

How To Start a Running Routine: Part 2

You are ready to start your running routine, what are some other things to consider?  In this article, I’ll discuss some simple steps on how to start the routine, things to watch for in running form, and some equipment you should consider.

Start!

Let’s assume that you’ve already followed my advice from the previous article ( https://wide-body.com/2020/09/21/how-to-start-a-running-routine-today/) and you  visited your doctor and he/she gave you the thumbs up to get started on your running routine. Next…

Shoes!

Running is a relatively inexpensive activity, but you MUST invest in a good pair of shoes. This is a place you really shouldn’t skimp, and I’ll talk more about this below.

Keep it safe and simple

Use your common sense when running. Would you send your kids out to run in the middle of the road? No, and you shouldn’t either, so say on a sidewalk if possible. At dawn or dusk, just because you can see cars, that doesn’t mean they can see you. A surprising number of automobile accidents happen at those times of days because the sunlight changes create long shadows and blind spots. If you must run at light, make yourself visible with light colored and reflective clothing. If the is high, carry water with you. Your goal when you start should be 30 minutes worth of exercise, so find the best path that allows you to do this safely.

Warm up, first!

Spend 5-10 minutes stretching and warming up your muscles before you head out the door. Stretching will help you prevent injuries and eliminate some soreness. In this article, I highlight 9 benefits to stretching, https://wide-body.com/2020/07/27/9-benefits-to-stretching/. If you are looking for ideas, here is a video routine: https://wide-body.com/2020/07/27/video-stretching-routine/ as well as some books on the subject: https://wide-body.com/2020/07/27/4-reasons-to-buy-these-books-about-stretching/

You’ve got this

Proper Running Form

Your posture is upright, head up, shoulders relaxed, and you arms swing easily back and forth at the shoulder. Do not lean forward or backwards, which is usually a sign of being tired, Good posture always you to take full breathes of air, and thus delays fatigue. If you are tired, you may notice that you lean forward and hunch your shoulders. This will add to your fatigue as that postures prevents you from taking a full breath. And as you breath, breath fully through you nose and mouth, “belly breath” as this will help prevent a side stitch which is common runners in the beginning.  Some good information about breathing while running can be found here: https://www.verywellfit.com/how-should-i-breathe-when-running-2911279

Equipment

Like I mentioned above, shoes are one place you do not want to skimp. If you have a running specialty retailer near you, visit them and have them do a fitting for you. A specialty store will evaluate your foot strike as well as ask you a series of questions about you and your running goals. Most of these retailers do a fantastic job of ensuring you get the shoe you need because they want you back in the store after you have run 200 miles or so in your shoes. And BTW, 200 miles is the typical limit for running shoes. Think about the pounding they go through and you can understand why the materials needed to comfort and control your feet begin to break down after 200 miles. Here are some tips on buying shoes. https://www.verywellfit.com/how-to-buy-the-right-running-shoes-2911857 and if you don’t a retailer in your area, there are several good recommendation sites. Runners World, https://www.runnersworld.com/, has regular features on shoes on the market, as well as other gear. Zappos.com not only sells shoes, but they also have user reviews of the products they sell.

Regarding other equipment, you should consider wearing clothing that wicks sweat away from the body. This will wicking action will keep you cool while also prevent you from chafing and generally being uncomfortable. There are several manufactures for athletic wear, and you can get a little crazy and blow your budget. I suggest that you can find good clothes at reasonable prices. This article has good advice on where to find clothing and other technology at reasonable prices. https://www.verywellfit.com/where-to-buy-cheap-running-clothes-and-gear-2911848

Soreness

If you haven’t exercised in a, muscle soreness is inevitable. The muscle soreness is the result of muscle breakdown, repair, and the resulting lactic acid by product. Personally, I see muscle soreness as a sign of progress. This is sign that the body is making itself stronger because you need to be stronger. This is a natural process, so embrace muscle soreness as a good thing.

And while we can recognize muscle soreness as being good, we need to distinguish between muscle soreness and joint soreness. Joint soreness can be the sign of nothing more serious than the lack of use or it can highlight serious joint damage. Before we freak out our knees hurt, the best thing to do is to identify pain, the intensity, when it comes on, the location, and the intensity.

Here is some of my personal experience with various joint pains:

Inside Right Knee: After an extended lay off, I started running again. The next day, I had a sharp pain on the inside of my knee. The pain would go away when I rested but would return when I would immediately move. I considered whether I had a sharp foot strike during my run, and I hadn’t. The culprit of my injury: My quadriceps (a group of thigh muscles) were unbalanced in strength. The inner muscle was weaker than the outer muscle, pulling muscle and the tendon near the joint. The solution that fixed the problem was lunges and squats.

Lower Back Pain: After running for a week, I developed lower back pain. I have had lower back pain in the past, so I thought this was related to me some how lifting something incorrectly. Instead, the problem was my quads were stronger than my hamstrings, and this imbalance was pulling my hips out of alignment.

Hip pain: Similar to the issue above, yet this time the misalignment gave me pain in the hip.

In each case, the fix was easy. I spoke with my doctor, explained in detail the pain and that I had been exercising. The doctor recommended me to a chiropractor who gave me a routine of stretches and exercises that ultimately strengthened my weaker muscles and allowed me to feel good again.

Bottomline, if you are experiencing persistent joint pain, see your doctor as they can likely help you immediately.

Fun RUN!!!

Have fun!

And finally, have fun. Do not let running become a chore. The world will look differently as you run. Buildings and homes, plants and tree, people and animals, things that you would normally drive by, you can now see up close during your run, and it is a beautiful world.

COVID 19 has made it difficult to sign up for fun runs or join running clubs, If you can do this, do so. Fun runs give you a goal, as well as some fun swag to wear. A running club give you a buddy with who to share experiences. And people who have exercise partners are for more likely to stay motivated to exercise.

#fitness, #exercise, #wide-body, #running, #fun, #shoes, #beginners, #soreness

How To Start a Running Routine Today

If you have been considering starting a running routine, there is no better time to start than now. The changing of seasons from Summer to Fall bring about cooler weather that makes this the ideal time to start running. I love running in the fall and winter because I don’t become overheated and I feel as though I have more energy in the cooler temps. The other reason is because running gives me the discipline and reason to go outside during a period when I may normally stay indoors.

 The Benefits of Starting a Routine NOW

Allow me to offer a little nudge as to why you should start your routine now.

Physical Health: This is the obvious reason for starting and staying with any exercise routine. If you want to address issues with how to manage your weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, or a host of health maladies related to a modern sedentary lifestyle, you need to create some movement.
Mental Health: This area of health is finally getting its due for a major reason why you should exercise. Research consistently shows that exercise does an amazing job in relieving stress and anxiety, providing you with better focus, calm, and clarity. Just last week I posted a video about how a walk for as little as two minutes can help relieve stress and return a clarity to your mind.
Mental Wellbeing: Not to be confused with Mental Health, Mental Wellbeing is focused on your outlook on life. Exercise releases endorphins in the brain, making us feel better and more optimistic. This better wellbeing allows us to better handle the stressors that come up during any given day.

If you have further doubts about whether you are ready to start a routine now because of your age, current health, or because you have never had an exercise routine, I’ll alleviate those concerns now.

Getting Started

You can start running at any age and there are countless articles of people discovering or re-discovering running well into their senior years. So don’t let age be the thing that stops you. If you worry about how running will impact your knees or other joints, you shouldn’t. Researchers have found that running actually strengthens your joints as well as the bones. As with any exercise routine, consult with your doctor first and shar with him/her what you want to do. Your doctor may be able to provide you some very specific exercise information that exactly fits your health needs. And if you are unable to run, that is ok! Start by walking and then build up into a running routine. Just start moving and start today!!

Next Steps

  1. See your doctor: This is especially important if you have not regularly exercised. Tel the doctor that you want to start a running routine and ensure that you physically ready. The doctor can also recommend routines that fit your specific health needs.
  2. If you have a retailer dedicated to runners, visit them for a fitting. Properly fit shoes will prevent injuries, and in general make your periods of exercise more comfortable. Being cheap on shoes is not the best plan as not all feet fit the same, and thus you want shoes that specifically fit the differences of your feet. Here is an example; Me, being the Wide-Body, carry around more muscle weight than the average guy who runs track. Thus I need shoes that are designed for “Clydesdales” (Men who weigh more than 205lbs). Certain shoes styles and certain manufactures will not work for me, but by working with a good retailer, I can find the shoes that meet the needs of my feet.  If you don’t have access to a quality retailer, then check out this article for what to consider when buying shoes. https://www.verywellfit.com/how-to-buy-the-right-running-shoes-2911857
  3. Don’t over do it in the beginning: You will likely feel a little stiff or sore after your first few times out. That is normal and should be welcomed. This tell you that muscles are being used in a good way. Nonetheless, the goal is not to have you run a marathon tomorrow. The goal for now is to start exercising and to create a consistent pattern of exercise. Over doing exercise when you start will leave you hurt, disappointed, frustrated, and likely injured. Set a goal to improve with each week in manageable increments.
  4. Employ the interval method: One way to prevent “over doing it” is to use the interval method of running for one minute, then walking for one minute, then running again for a one, etc. You eventually build up to longer periods of running until you are strong enough that all you do is run. There are several run/walk routines you can find on the internet, here is one that I think is pretty good: https://www.realsimple.com/health/fitness-exercise/workouts/how-to-start-running
  5. Enjoy!: Have fun with your exercise. Look around as you run and you may be surprised at the things you see that you never notice while driving. Listen to podcasts and expand your knowledge. Use this time to meditate by clearing your mind. But whatever you do, enjoy the time you are putting into yourself and enjoy the results of that dedication and discipline.

In upcoming articles, I’ll do a few features on proper form and equipment to consider before your next run.

You Want To Start Exercising? How To Start and Stay Motivated

I’ve had several conversations with folks about exercise, and many times the conversation goes something like, “Yes, I know I need to get started” I used to think that the “pain” of not exercising was less than the “pain” of foregoing some other activity. I realize now that there is a segment of people who truly want to start, but they are unsure of how to start exercising. So, instead of lacing up their shoes and going for a walk, they instead stay, work late, or watch television. They maintain a sedentary lifestyle because are doing what they know.

To those folks, I want to say, “Please don’t overthink exercise. Just go out and move. Shoot for 30 minutes of movement each day, whether that is walking, gardening, riding a bicycling, yoga, dancing, or tai chi/qi gong and other meditative exercises. The goal is to create movement, and once you feel comfortable with 30 minutes, then exercise for 45 minutes, and then an hour.

The link I feature below is to an article I really like because it comprehensively reviews how to start an exercise routine and how to stay motivated. It features topics on the mental blocks that are stopping you from exercising, how much exercise you need, how to start, how to stay motivated, and a list of exercises you may enjoy.

If you are looking for that “push” to get started, start by reading this article.
https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-living/how-to-start-exercising-and-stick-to-it.htm

#exercise, #fitness, #gettingstarted

Summer Exercise Survival Tips: TWC (Timing, Water, Clothing)

Exercising during the heat does pose it’s own set of challenges. Those challenges just mean you need to create a plan and adapt to the changes.

In this video I will share my rule that guides my plans for exercising in the heat. That rule is TWC, i.e. Timing, Water, and (proper) Clothing.

Qigong: A Meditative Exercise Made For Everyone

Exercise has been shown to relieve the stress that we develop in our stressful work lives. An alternative way to relieve stress is to meditate. If you are like me, you find it difficult to have enough time in the day to mediate and exercise. So why not combine mediation and exercise? That is essence of Qigong

A former football coach of mine recently shared that he practices Qigong each morning as he has found the exercise to be a great way to loosen up his body and prepare himself to take on the day. As a young man, I learned quite a bit about fitness from this coach, so if he makes a recommendation, I listen.

I did my research and concluded that Qigong is an exercise all of us should be practicing every day.

What is Qigong?

I’ll quote directly from https://mindmonia.com/qigong/,

“Qigong is a natural way to move energy (Qi / Chi) through your body. It’s often used by Taoist and Buddhist monks, as well as traditional and Chinese healers. It doesn’t need to be practiced in a religious context and actually is considered and practiced as a beautiful art by countless people all over the world.”

“The concept of Qigong is based on meditation, breathing techniques, and gentle movements to move the “Qi” through your body.”

“The word “Qi” is difficult to translate. It comes from the traditional Chinese culture and means life energy, breath or mind. “Gong” means cultivation or mastery. Hence, the concept can be translated as “cultivation of life force” or “control of your own energy”.”

“As mentioned above, the concept is based on the basic principle of meditation and mindfulness and combines it with physical movements. This is why Qigong is often seen as “standing meditation”.”

Benefits of Qigong
The National Qigong Association proclaims the benefits of Qigong to be;

“Qigong opens the flow of energy in meridians used in acupuncture and Chinese medicine. It enhances our ability to feel the Life Force underlying the physical world and to deepen our communication with it.”

“Physically, slow gentle qigong movements warm tendons, ligaments, and muscles; tonify vital organs and connective tissue; and promote circulation of body fluids (blood, synovial, lymph). Thousands of studies have shown qigong effective in helping to heal life challenges ranging from high blood pressure and chronic illness to emotional frustration, mental stress, and spiritual crisis.”

https://www.nqa.org/what-is-qigong-

Who is a good fit for Qigong? EVERYONE is a good fit for Qigong. Folks who haven’t exercised in a while and want to start, folks who regularly exercise but want exercise that creates more flexibility, folks with injuries or chronic pain and need low impact need low impact, young people and seniors, are all a good fit to start a Qigong routine.

How to get started
I found a couple of resources for Qigong beginners.
Mindmonia has a complete guide for Qigong beginners. They provide a description of the exercise, benefits, and videos where you can follow along. https://mindmonia.com/qigong/

In this video, viewed over 3.6M times, is a 20 minute Qigong routine, and they do a good job of describing each exercise. While watching this video, I can see why Qigong is also considered to be a meditative exercise.  

Fitness, Qigong, exercise, meditation, wide-body, stress, stress relief

9 Benefits of Playing Tennis

woamn playing tennisMany folks are still not able to go into a gym, so we need to search for alternative ways to exercise. If you are wanting to do something other than using your home gym, running, biking or swimming, have you considered playing tennis? Here’s why you should pick up a racket today:

  • Availability – Tennis courts are readily available in most parts of the United States, as well as over parts of the world. If you don’t have courts in your neighborhood, you will likely find them in a local park.
  • Inexpensive– If you play at a neighborhood or city park, you will likely not a fee. Your only costs are a racket, tennis balls, and the time is takes for you to get to the court.
  • Play the game at any age – Tennis is a wonderful game at any age. It can also be easily learned at any age. Don’t let the fact that you’ve never played stop you from starting. Plus, if you have never played, you will likely find a partner who will happily “show you the ropes” on how to get started.
  • Social Distance – The nature of the game creates distance between you and your opponent, thus alleviating the concern of being too close and potentially spreading pathogens.

Those are the reasons why to pick up a racket, today. What are some of the benefits of playing tennis?

  1. Full body workout: Your lower and upper body are in constant motion
  2. Improved aerobic and anaerobic health: Get your heart rate up, increase your oxygen intake, and your body will begin to build a better cardio system, as well as more efficient muscles.
  3. Burns calories and fat: Playing tennis can burn between 400-600 calories an hour. For a comparison, I walked 3.5 miles, it took me an hour and 10 minutes, and I burned 390 calories. I could have burned more in less time.
  4. Improves bone health: I recently wrote about how exercise improves bone health, and since tennis is an overall body work out, it would obviously benefit bones through your body.
  5. Heart healthy: This one is self-explanatory; if you consistently raise your heart rate, you will build a stronger cardio system.
  6. Enhances flexibility, balance and coordination: Eye hand coordination is critical in tennis. You can develop your coordination, which will in tun develop your balance, which is an important thing to maintain as we age. And because the game entails movement, reaching, and stretching, your flexibility improves, which also helps you prevent injuries.
  7. Boosts brain power: Tennis requires you “to think on your feet”, make adjustments in split seconds, to develop strategies and ever-changing tactics. studies show that exercises that require a lot of thinking can improve brain function in ways that aid memory, learning, social skills, and behavior.
  8. Is great cross-training for other sports: The short speed burst associated with tennis translates well into cross training for other sports and a thus speed up your pace and endurance.
  9. Boosts mood: Exercise has been shown to improve your mental health, alleviating anxiety and depression, while improving self-esteem and optimism.

I hope this inspires you to pick up a racket and start playing. Let us know if you are regularly playing tennis and grab a partner to play a match with you.

And if you enjoyed this post, please leave a message below and subscribe to this site. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

And a shout out to the folk at Health Fitness Revolutions for these ideas.

#fitness #tennis #exercise #cardio #strongboones #workout #socialdistance #crosstraining #mentalhealth #calories #fat #aerobic #anaerobic #flexibility #wide-body

9 Ways You Can Strength Train At Home

Since many of us are still unable to go into a gym during this pandemic, I’m staying within the theme of how you can attain a complete workout without leaving your home.

In this post, I’ll be discussing strength training (also known as weight training or resistance training) because according to the Mayo Clinic, strength training will help you:

  • Develop healthy bones: By stressing your bones, strength training can increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Build lean muscle mass: As we age, we lose muscle mass and it is replaced with fat. Building lean muscle mass also gives us more energy throughout the day.
  • Manage your weight: Strength training will increase your metabolism to help you burn more calories.
  • Improve your balance: Improved balance reduces the risk of falls, allowing you to maintain independence as you age and improving your quality of life.
  • Manage chronic conditions: Strength training can reduce the signs and symptoms of many chronic conditions, such as arthritis, back pain, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
  • Sharpen your mental skills. Some research suggests that regular strength training and aerobic exercise may help improve thinking and learning skills for older adults.
  • Improve our mental wellbeing: Studies show that strength training reduces symptoms of depression and thus improves our sense of well being

To get started, you don’t need to break the bank buying equipment. There are a few pieces that would be helpful and you can find them at a major athletic retailer or online. If you enjoy bargain shopping, you maybe able to find some equipment in used but excellent condition. Here’s a list to consider:

  • an exercise mat
  • resistance bands or tubing
  • dumbbells
  • a kettlebell
  • a stability ball
  • a medicine ball

 

Bodyweight Exercises:

Lunges:

Lunges

A basic lunge works the muscles in your lower body, including your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves.

  • Start by standing up tall, feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Step forward with your right foot, and lower your hips toward the floor until your right leg is at a 90-degree angle and your left knee is parallel to the ground. Make sure your front knee doesn’t go beyond your toes.
  • Lengthen your spine to keep your torso upright.
  • Hold this position for 5 seconds or longer.
  • Then step your right foot back to meet your left, and repeat this movement with your left leg.
  • Repeat 10 to 12 times, then rest briefly and do another set.

 

Squat To Overhead Press:

Squat to dumbbell overhead press

This exercise not only works your glutes and leg muscles, it also works the muscles in your core, back, and shoulders, as well as your triceps.

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips and your arms alongside your body.
  • Slowly lower your hips down into a squat position.
  • Press up to come back into standing and raise your arms overhead.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Do 1–3 sets of 8–12 repetitions.

 

Planks:

Plank

Planks are an excellent exercise for improving your core strength and stability. This exercise can also strengthen the muscles in your back, chest, and shoulders.

  • Rest on your forearms and toes only, keeping your body in a straight line with your buttocks clenched and your abdominal muscles engaged.
  • Try to hold this position for 30 seconds. If that’s too hard, start with 20 seconds.
  • As you gain strength and fitness, try to hold the plank position for 1 minute or longer.

 

Pushups:

Pushups

Standard pushups work the chest muscles (pectorals), as well as the shoulder muscles, triceps, and abdominals.

  • Start in a plank position with your palms directly under your shoulders.
  • Keeping your back flat and bracing your core, lower your body by bending your elbows until your chest almost touches the floor.
  • Immediately push your body back up to the starting position.
  • Repeat 8–12 times. Start with 1–2 sets, and build up to 3 sets as you get stronger.

A less challenging version of the pushup can be done by putting your weight on your knees instead of your toes.

 

Free Weight Exercises

Dumbbell Shoulder Press:

Dumbbell Shoulder Press

This exercise targets the muscles in your shoulders and arms, and can also strengthen your core and chest muscles.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Pick up the dumbbells and raise them to shoulder height. Your palms can face forward or toward your body.
  • Raise the dumbbells above your head until your arms are fully extended.
  • Pause in this position for a few seconds, and then bring the dumbbells back to shoulder height.
  • Do 1–3 sets of 8–12 repetitions.

 

Dumbbell Tricep Kickback:

dumbbell tricep kickback

This exercise works your triceps as well as your shoulder muscles.

  • Grab two dumbbells and hold one in each hand.
  • Bend your torso at a 45-degree angle, and bend your elbows so they form a 90-degree angle.
  • Then straighten your arms out directly behind you, engaging your triceps as you go.
  • You can either do one arm at a time, or both together.
  • If you’re a beginner, start with 1–2 sets of 8–12 reps, and build up to 3 sets as you get stronger.

 

Resistance Band Pull Apart:

Resistence band pull apart

This exercise works the muscles in your back, shoulders, and arms.

  • Stand with your arms extended out in front of you at chest height.
  • Hold a resistance band tautly with both hands. The band should be parallel to the ground.
  • Keeping your arms straight, pull the band toward your chest by moving your arms outward to your sides. Initiate this movement from your mid-back.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together, and keep your spine straight, then slowly return to the starting position.
  • Do 1–3 sets of 15–20 reps.

 

Hip Extension:

Hip Extension

This exercise works the muscles in your hips and legs. You’ll need a light- to medium-resistance band to do this exercise.

 

  • Loop the resistance band around both your ankles. You can use a chair or wall for balance.
  • Keeping a straight line in your body, pull your left leg back as far as you can, keeping it as straight as possible.
  • Slowly return to the starting position.
  • Complete 12 reps with your left leg, then repeat with your right leg.
  • Complete 2 sets on each side to start, and work up to doing 3 sets as you build up your strength.

 

Resistance Band Leg Press:

resistance band leg press

This exercise works your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and glutes. Like a leg press on a weight machine, this exercise makes you work against gravity.

  • Lie on your back and lift your feet off the ground.
  • Bend your knees, creating a 90-degree angle. Flex your feet, pointing your toes upward.
  • Wrap the resistance band around your feet and hold the ends.
  • Press your feet against the bands until your legs are fully extended.
  • Bend your knees to return to a 90-degree angle.
  • Do 1–3 sets of 10–12 reps.

 

You want to incorporate strength training like this into your routine at least three times a week. If yourself a day of rest between muscle groups and allow them to recover. A Monday, Wednesday, Friday plan for strength training can work well.

If your current exercise routine is primarily cardio focused, don’t stop the cardio, but modify the routine. For instance, if your normal cardio routine is an hour long, and your strength training is 30 minutes long, on the day you strength train, also do 30 minutes of cardio. You ultimately want to be shooting for 1 hour of exercise per day, 5 days a week. You may not be able to achieve this in the beginning, but that should be your goal.

Let us know how you a doing with incorporating these tips into your exercise routine.

 

Kudos to the folks at Healthline for these helpful exercise ideas.