Choosing an Exercise Program

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Are you presently looking for ways to improve your physical fitness level, lose weight or just try to stay stress-free? If you start to investigate these subjects, you will find a lot of information. Which way do you turn?

If you were researching nutrition, you might look to start with a blood test or hair analysis, as this would help determine your current position; you are unique and your nutrition program should be, too. This same approach should be taken when considering a fitness program. Sit down and ask some questions of yourself… What is your exercise tolerance? Do you have an aversion to hot or cold? Is your endurance poor, good, or excellent? Thinking about questions like this can help you can narrow down your exercise activities to things that you like, which will ultimately help you to stick to your program long-term.

Next, you should try to determine some of your strengths and weaknesses. How do you do this? One way is through a series of fitness tests, some of which require the help of a trainer or other fitness professional. Such an evaluation might include height, weight, percentage of body fat, flexibility, cardiovascular capability, and strength. More involved tests could include a vertical leap assessment or a 300-yard shuttle run. Each of these tests evaluates a separate area of fitness. If you find that you are strong in the area of flexibility but weak in cardiovascular capability, then you should dedicate more time to walking, biking, running, etc., rather than focusing on stretching or yoga. Your fitness routine should be unique, based on who you are and what you need. A word of caution: before embarking on a new fitness program, it is a good idea to consult with your physician, especially if you have any health issues or have not been very active for a period of time. Best of luck!

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October 2009
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