Getting into a regular exercise regime is a bit like kicking a bad habit. Say you're a smoker and want to kick that butt, the only way you will end up doing so is if you've really made up your mind to do it, come what may. No one but yourself can help you do so.
I know it seems like a cliché but that's the way it is for adopting a fitness regime. Unless you really want to do it, forget it. No one else can force you to exercise.
True, there could be motivating factors-a partner who's serious about exercising, peer pressure or even a health warning-but unless you yourself are serious about exercising, you won't end up doing it.
Once you've decided that you'll exercise, the rest is quite easy actually. The commonest excuse that people trot out is that they can't find time to exercise. That is a specious argument. You really need to find just 30-45 minutes for three or four days a week. That is enough to begin with. Here's how you could create an exercise programme for yourself. First, squeeze the time out. Wake up an hour earlier than you normally do. Or, forego a bit of your leisure time each evening. Just apply yourself and you'll get the time that you require. Now, for the second step-what exercises should you do? Break up the 45 minutes into three 15-minute intervals. For the first 15 minutes walk briskly-either indoors on a treadmill (if you have one or are a member of a gym) or outdoors. Then for the next 15 minutes, do freehand exercises-simple push-ups, freehand squats, sit-ups and toe-touches. Do these in sets-i.e., two sets of push-ups where you do 10 push-ups in each set, two sets of squats where you do 10 squats in each set, etc. Now, for the remaining 15 minutes, go for another brisk walk or, if you like, get on a stationary cycle and pedal at moderate speeds. Voila! You have your exercise regime ready and waiting to be followed regularly.
After three weeks of adopting this schedule, add light weights to your session. Use dumb-bells to do biceps curls, shoulder presses and even squats. Again, do them in sets. You may even want to step up from your brisk walk to a mild jog or even a faster run. After three weeks of this slightly stepped-up version of your exercise regime, you could be ready for more. In fact, this could be a ripe time to get on to more advanced exercises, adding more weights and more cardiovascular training. There, who said getting into a workout regime was tough?
Exercise of the fortnight: The stiff-legged deadlift. This is a not-so-common but immensely effective exercise to build strong hamstring muscles (the ones at the back of your thighs). Stand with feet at shoulder width and hold two dumb-bells to each side. Keeping your knees straight and head up, lower the dumb-bells by bending at your hips until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Hold for a second and lift dumb-bells by straightening your hips. That's one repetition. Your arms, knees and back should be straight throughout the exercise; you should feel a mild (not painful) stretch in your hamstrings.
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Caveat: The physical exercises described in Treadmill are not recommendations. Readers should exercise caution and consult a physician before attempting to follow any of these.
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