Choose Your Exercise Routine

By Dr. Jean Harvey, Ph.D., R.D., Joyce Hendley, M.S., EatingWell Editors, "Choose Your Regimen," The EatingWell Diet (2007)

Tips to help work exercise into your daily life.

Any exercise that gets your large muscle groups moving, like walking, running or biking, is excellent for managing your weight. These so-called aerobic exercises get your heart and lungs going, so they’re tops in burning calories and building your stamina.

We recommend walking as your main form of programmed exercise. Why? There’s no other exercise routine that’s quite as simple and accommodating to any lifestyle. In fact, it’s already part of your lifestyle. You already know how to do it, and you don’t have to buy any special equipment other than a pair of comfortable, supportive walking shoes. You can walk alone or with others, at any time of day, indoors or out. Mile for mile, it burns almost as many calories as running does, with less stress on your joints. How long you go is more important than how far you go.

Other good choices for aerobic exercise are jumping rope, cross-country skiing or using rowing machines or elliptical trainers. You might also choose organized activities, such as an aerobics or dance class. Just be sure you can attend them regularly, and that you’re moving continuously throughout your session.

Join the Team. (Again.)

Team sports like soccer, baseball and tennis are a terrific way to make a regular commitment to being active. Moreover, they make fitness fun and social, which just might be the incentive you need to get started. You’re also more motivated to show up when you know a team, or a partner, is waiting for you.

Don’t worry if you haven’t been on a team since high school; chances are, there’s a recreational league that welcomes participants at all levels. For information, check out your neighborhood recreation center or continuing education program, or the YMCA. Have fun!

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