Planning your workout.
From the very beginning, fitness should involve three components, cardio training for your heart and lungs, strength training to build or maintain muscle and bone strength and flexibility to maintain joints flexibility through a full range of motion.
As a novice to exercise you should train and exercise your entire body on alternating days with a full day of rest between for repair and recovery. As you advance in your training, consider alternating a day of cardio followed by one day of strength training followed by a one to two days of rest.
A sample schedule would include cardio training on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with your strength training on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This sample schedule allows time for muscles to heal and recover between training sessions. Include 10 minutes of static stretching on each training day, both strength and cardio days.
Your cardio workouts.
If you perform your cardio training at the gym rather than the track or pool, try a variety of exercises until you find the one you enjoy. Many gyms offer sophisticated treadmills, elliptical machines, several types of stationary bikes, stair climbers and air resistance rowers. As you try each cardio machine, begin at a low intensity or speed and with 15-minute workouts, then gradually increase your speed and duration as your cardiorespiratory system improves.
Your strength workouts.
In the early stages of your training, follow your 15 minutes of cardio training with 15-20 minutes of resistance (weight) training progressing from body weight training to training with dumbbells or barbells. Strength training effectively increases lean muscle while raising your metabolism and burning more fat, leading to a healthier body composition. Strength training also builds bone strength and maintains bone density as you age.
Follow a brief full-body workout using your own body weight or weights that includes a chest press or push ups, shoulder raises, squats, planks and crunches. Perform only one set of 8 to 12 reps of each exercise at this early stage in your training. Learn and practice proper form, perform each repetition slowly and use a light weight until you’re familiar and comfortable with the movement of each exercise. Once you’re comfortable, use a weight that makes completing 8 to 12 reps challenging and once the reps are easy, increase the weight slightly.
Long hours spent sitting at a desk causes your hamstrings, glutes and your lower back to shorten and become tight. Regular static stretching can greatly improve your flexibility, while reducing muscle tension, improving your posture and reduce your risk of injury to joints, tendons and ligaments. Performing a minimum of 10 minutes of stretching at the end of each workout while your body is warm and most flexible.