Choosing the Right Exercise Program for You


Want to start a new exercise program? Some people exercise to improve their health, some to improve their appearance, and others to achieve specific fitness goals.

Regardless of the reason you exercise, consistency is the key factor determining success or failure. Therefore, the most important consideration when choosing the right exercise program for you is whether or not you will be motivated to do the exercises on a regular basis.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Is this something that I can easily fit into my day?   The easier the workout is to fit into your hectic schedule, the more likely it is that you will be able to do it regularly.
  • Is this activity something that I will enjoy doing?  The more you enjoy the activity, the more motivated you will be to do it frequently.
  • Is this workout something that I can do with other people?  Adding a social component to an exercise program increases the fun factaor and makes you accountable to others.

If are not a regular exerciser, the easiest place to start is by building increased activity into your day. Try wearing a pedometer and making it a goal to increase the number of steps you take in a day. Take the stairs rather than the elevator. You can start a walking program with one 10 minute walk per day, then increase the walking time by 2-3 minutes per week.

After you have built a foundation of walking at least 30 minutes per day, you can increase the intensity by alternating running segments with walking segments, progressing to running the entire 30 minutes.

Check out CoolRunning.com’s “Couch to 5K” program to help you transition from walking to running. Or if running is not for you, you could try cycling or swimming. If you want to meet new people and learn more about your activity, try joining a local running or cycling club.

To increase muscle strength, start with exercises that use your bodyweight for resistance such as crunches, squats, and push-ups. Bodyweight exercises can be done anywhere so that you can more easily fit in the exercises at home (or even during breaks at work). Read Greatist.com’s list of “50 Bodyweight Exercises You Can Do Anywhere” for ideas.

You can increase the exercise intensity by putting together a home gym with simple equipment such as dumbbells and resistance bands. Check out exercise DVDs for ideas of exercises that can be done at home with minimal equipment. Or if you want to meet new people and get a chance to enjoy the great outdoors, try a group exercise class at a local park.

For more exercise ideas and information check out this helpful article on WebMD.  Whichever program you choose, just make sure you get moving on a regular basis to reap the benefits.

About the author

Kara Pridgen
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Kara received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of Florida. She now works as a physical therapist for Baylor Institute of Rehabilitation at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano.

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Choosing the Right Exercise Program for You