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Get in shape this summer
shaper runner
Running is a great way to stay in shape. - photo by Stock photo

Did you know that most diets fail within the first 72 hours? If you’re going to start a diet and an exercise routine, it’s important to ease into it — you don’t want to overuse your muscles and run the risk of getting an injury — and you want to make sure you stick with it.

Our first suggestion for success is to forget about perfection. Sure, you can set a goal, but don’t be discouraged if you don’t meet it in time. The only thing you should focus on is whether or not you’re doing the work because that’s all that matters, and eventually you will reach your goal.

And be prepared to accept that you could be on this routine for the rest of your life. Our society has conditioned us to crave junk food and fear being active. Getting healthy is a lifestyle change, and it takes 100 percent commitment.

It’s going to take some time to get used to the routine, but once you do, it’ll become second nature and make you feel great. Here are some exercise tips to get you started.

Step 1: Evaluate your physical strengths and weaknesses and see a doctor if you have any concerns. Before you start a workout routine, it’s important to know where you’re at. Generally, a medical condition won’t limit you from working out, but there may be precautions you should take that only your doctor will be aware of.

Step 2: Go slow. You don’t have to be a fitness pro right away, but you’re never going to get there if you don’t ease into a workout routine. Also, when people work out aggressively early in their exercise program, they tend not to stick with it. Moderation is the key when you’re first starting out on your exercise journey.

Step 3: Figure out what kind of exercise you want to do:

Cardiovascular: Cardio doesn’t just help you lose weight. It also helps relieve stress, makes you feel more energized and confident, gives you better sleep and offers temporary relief from anxiety and depression.

Start by doing an aerobic activity, like walking or running, for a sustained 20-30 minutes, four-to-five times a week. To make sure you’re working out at an optimum level, try the “talk test.” Make sure you can carry on a basic conversation without getting too winded. But if you can easily sing a song, you’re not working hard enough.

Strength conditioning: Strength conditioning helps temporarily relieve arthritis, depression and back pain. It also helps manage diabetes, osteoporosis and obesity.

Start by doing one set of exercises targeting each of the major muscle groups. Use a weight you can comfortably perform the exercise eight to 12 times in a set. When you think you can handle more, gradually increase the weight, the number of repetitions or the number of sets. To maximize the benefits, do strength training at least twice a week, and never work the same body part two days in a row to avoid overuse.

Flexibility training: Flexibility training improves physical performance and decreases your risk of injury. It also reduces muscle soreness and improves posture.

The American College on Exercise recommends doing slow, sustained static stretches three to seven days per week. Each stretch should last 10-30 seconds.

Exercising does not have to be hard or scary. If you ease into it, it can be really fun and rewarding. You may not be the fitness pro you want to be when you start out, but with these exercise tips and a little determination, you’ll get there in no time at all.

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