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The weather is finally starting to warm up, which means that it's time to come out from behind our bulky sweaters and winter wardrobes. However lucky for us, bathing suit season is still some weeks away so now is the perfect time to step up your game and add more exercise to your routine. Here are five great ways to start exercising with ideas for people just starting out or folks looking to kick things up a notch. Whether you start by walking more, getting in 10,000 steps a day, or adding strength training to your routine - little changes now can add up to a big change by summer. My personal plan - right now I am doing the 30 Day Shred and using the Couch to 10K program 3 days a week. I am only 10 days in and can already see a difference. What are your fitness goals and favorite routines?
1. 10,000 Day Step Challenge
I am a huge fan of the 10,000/day step challenge for this simple reason - it encourages moving more and everything counts! Additionally, "the American Heart Association uses the 10,000 steps metric as a guideline to follow for improving health and decreasing risk of heart disease, the number one killer of men and women in America. 10,000 steps a day is a rough equivalent to the Surgeon General’s recommendation to accumulate 30 minutes of activity most days of the week. It should be enough to reduce your risk for disease and help you lead a longer, healthier life. The benefits are many: lower BMI, reduced waist size, increased energy, and less risk for Type II diabetes and heart disease. In fact, a recent study of the 10,000 steps a day method reported conclusive health benefits. 10,000 steps daily is approximately 5 miles. Unless you have a very active lifestyle or profession, you probably don’t reach 10,000 steps on a given day without putting some effort into your activity. This could be a lifestyle change such as walking to work, or the addition of an exercise routine to your day." So grab a pedometer or fitness monitor and get moving!
2. Couch to 5K
I am a huge fan of the Couch to 5K programs and have personally used them multiple times to start running again. The program progresses from walking to running and only asks you to commit to 3 days a week. The increases in time and intensity are 100% manageable in my opinion and I truly believe it can help virtually anyone run a 5K. Perfect now that the weather is starting to warm up.
3. Jillian Micheal's 30 Day Shred
Want to really challenge yourself, consider trying the Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred? The best part of these workouts, they are only 20 minutes. The bad part - they are haaaarrdd! I am currently on Day 11 of this 3 level workout and can honestly say I am starting to see some new muscle definition but sometimes I want to curse at the video. The workouts consist of 3 circuits of strength, cardio, and abs and you progress from Level 1 to 3 over the course of the 30 days. So far I really love it.
4. Weight Watchers 8 Week Walking Plan (beginner, intermediate, and advanced)
Weight Watchers has some great, little known about, 8 week walking plans that are perfect for anyone looking to burn extra calories through walking. There are three versions of the plan - beginner, intermediate, and advanced - and each offers a full 8 week plan. The beginner plan starts off at just 10 minutes daily, focusing on building time. The intermediate focuses on building speed and the advanced focuses in on building mileage. All are a great way to increase your activity.
5. Beginner's Guide to Pilates
If you are looking for a more comprehensive beginner's workout plan, Blogilates offers a great monthly calendar with free video workouts to get started. The routine consists of 3 total body workouts plus two days of abs and 1 day of lower body with a rest day. The routine is easy to follow and is sure to produce results for anyone looking for a more comprehensive program. This probably isn't for complete beginners but more for someone looking to get into a routine and start focusing on building strength and lean muscles.
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