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So you're finally ready to shed those unwanted pounds and get in shape. This can be a big undertaking if you're not sure how to go about it. There are so many myths and misinformation floating around out there that you may be confused about where to start. One thing is certain, however -- if you want to lose weight you need to do both aerobic and strength-training exercises.
The simple fact is you need to burn more calories than you eat to lose body fat. However, as you lose weight, your body requires fewer calories, so you need to get exercising. When beginning an exercise program, it is important to start low and go slow. You don't want to get hurt, and overdoing it is no good for anyone. Make sure your doctor gives you the OK to begin an exercise program. To avoid plateauing, it is important to mix things up. Alternate your cardio and resistance exercises every once in a while.
To lose a pound of fat you need to burn 3,500 calories. A great way to burn calories is with aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise strengthens your heart and revs up your metabolism. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise, preferably over several days. Furthermore, to lose weight they recommend doubling that to 300 minutes per week. For instance, 40 to 60 minutes each day for five days will do the trick. Some possible cardio activities include brisk walking, dancing, cycling and swimming. You can also use an elliptical or rowing machine.
Strength training is essential in a weight-loss program. If you are eating fewer calories as part of your plan to lose weight, strength training is needed to prevent muscle loss. Since muscles burn more calories than fat, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even at rest. You should do some sort of resistance training at least two or three days a week. Make sure to take a day off in between strength-training sessions. You can use weights or resistance bands for your strength training. You can even use the weight of your own body to strengthen muscles. Pushups, squats and lunges all strengthen muscles using your body weight as resistance.
Intervals in Cardio Training
To get the maximum results from your cardio workout, you should try intervals. This is when you do high-intensity exercise for a period of time, followed by a recovery period. This is then repeated several times. Interval training burns more calories than the same amount of time spent doing constant cardio exercise. For instance, try sprinting for one minute, followed by two minutes of brisk walking. Repeat this a few times. This may sound easy, but it can be challenging. Make sure your doctor gives you the thumbs up before starting interval training.
Circuit resistance training will give you the most benefit in the least amount of time. Circuit training is where you do different exercises, one right after the other. You alternate the muscle groups you use, so no rest is needed between sets. For instance, you can do a set of bench presses, and right after completing them you can do a set of squats. These exercises each work different muscles, so they can be done with no rest in between. After a few sets of exercises, start over at the beginning. It is important to work out all of the major muscle groups of the legs, chest, upper and lower back, shoulders, arms, hips and abdomen.