May 252010

Are you out of shape and ready to get your cardiovascular system in shape? Every beginner cardio exerciser needs to do a little thinking, goal setting, and planning before they get started.

One of the big hurdles many beginning exercisers run into is trying to do too much, too soon. You have looked in the mirror and decided you are not going to look like this anymore. You chose an exercise program. You are highly motivated. Your first day you push yourself to the limit and feel really proud of yourself. Then you lay down in bed, a cramp crushes your calf muscle. You struggle through getting it stretched out and fall asleep. In the morning you wake up and your body aches. You crawl out of bed and choose to skip today’s workout. You are in trouble with your plan, right now.

A beginner cardio program should start you off slowly. If you have decided to jog as your chosen exercise try this plan. Once you are dressed and have stepped outside, take five minutes to stretch your muscles gently. Make sure to stretch your hamstrings and your calf muscles. Take off on a very fast walk for the first quarter mile to get your body completely warmed up. Now you can break into a gentle jog. Make sure you keep your speed at a level where you can still hold a conversation with effort. You should not be able to talk easily, nor should it be impossible to talk. Jog for 20 minutes. At the end of 20 minutes drop back down to a fast walk, staying at that pace for 5 to 10 minutes. This allows cool down time. When you are back at home after the cool down, stretch again.

This cycle will work great for any kind of exercise program. The critical parts are to warm-up and cool-down properly. Stretching is critical to help avoid cramps and excessive sore muscles. Make sure before and following your workout you have plenty of water. Drink water throughout the day to make sure you are staying fully hydrated. Dehydration is a major cause of cramps. Plan on exercising only every other day for the first two weeks.

Since you are going to have a little slower start to your cardio exercise than you may have been thinking about, you will need to adjust your goals. You do not want to become disappointed. Setting goals is an important portion of staying motivated, so do not neglect to have them.

After two weeks of following this beginner cardio plan you can start stepping up to training 5 to 6 days per week. You can step up the intensity, too. The critical thing is to watch your results closely. If you start getting excessive sore muscles and cramps slow down slightly and build up gradually. By having a less aggressive start to your workout program you will stick with it for the long term, where the real benefits happen. You are on the road to success.

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