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Beginners Guide to Exercise

Getting started & building a routine is one of the hardest parts about working out. We get it. We're here to bring you some tips on how to get started and what's next. On this page, you'll find out about fitness & wellness and how to navigate the Recreation Center. We want you to get the best results out of your workout. So let's get started…

LESSON 1: Benefits of Exercise

  • Improve cardiovascular and respiratory function
  • Reduction in coronary artery disease risk factors
  • Decrease mortality and morbidity
  • Decrease anxiety and depression
  • Increased feelings of well-being
  • Enhanced daily physical function

LESSON 2: Five Components of Fitness

  1. Cardiorespiratory Endurance - The ability to perform large muscle movement over a sustained period; related to the capacity of the heart-lung system to deliver oxygen for sustained energy production.
  2. Muscular Strength - The maximal force a muscle or muscle group can exert during contraction.
  3. Muscular Endurance - The ability of a muscle or muscle group to exert force against a resistance over a sustained period of time.
  4. Flexibility - The ability to move joints through their normal full ranges of motion.
  5. Body Composition - The makeup of the body in terms of the relative percentage of fat-free mass and body fat.

Tip: While working out, it is important to stay hydrated. Signs of dehydration include frequent headaches, low blood pressure, fatigue, dizziness, & dry mouth or skin. Did you know that when you have the feeling of thirst, your body is already in the early stages of dehydration?

LESSON 3: Parts of a Workout

Warm Up - Your warm up should be at 50% of your normal intensity and should last about 5-15 minutes. Some examples of warm ups include biking, walking, swimming, or a light jog.

Cardiorespiratory - Plan to do cardio exercises 3-5 days a week at an intensity of 50-85% of your Max Heart Rate (Max Heart Rate=220-Age(x)100%). Examples of a cardiorespiratory workout include run, brisk walk, swim, dance, elliptical, & bike.

Muscular Strength & Endurance - For this workout, plan on 8-10 exercises training major muscle groups. Each exercise should include 8-12 repetitions. Complete this type of workout at least 2 times per week.

Flexibility - Holding a mild stretch for 15-30 seconds while you breathe normally.

Cool Down - Should last about 5-15 minutes and include light cardio & stretching.

LESSON 4: Get To Know Your Rec Center Fitness Floors

  • Lifefitness cardio machines allow you to plug your iPhones, iPods, & other "smart" devices into them
  • Select cardio equipment have personal viewing screens to keep you engaged and motivated
  • Fit maps are available at the 2nd Floor bulletin boards to help you learn your way around
  • The 2nd Floor is a great spot to get started if you are new to exercise
  • Still have a few questions on where to start? Stop by the 3rd Floor to the Health, Fitness, & Wellness office and our professional staff would be happy to help you out!

LESSON 5: Additional Tips

Stretching - Static stretch to a moderate tension/discomfort, hold for 20-30 seconds, repeat stretch 1-3 times.

Sleep - Average adults need 7-8 hours of sleep daily. 5 keys to sleeping well:

  1. Avoid caffeine, nicotine, & alcohol
  2. Exercise regularly
  3. Practice mind/body relaxation
  4. Avoid eating or drinking near bed time
  5. Go to sleep and get up at the same time every day

Free Weight Form

  • Use proper form to decrease your risk of injury
  • Exercises should be performed in a smooth, continuous movement rather than jerky movements
  • Muscle should be exercised through a full range of motion
  • Exhale during the greatest exertion (usually the lifting phase) and inhale when lowering the weight
  • Maintain a neutral spine (ears in line with shoulders, shoulders over hips, hips over knees, and knees over ankles), knees should be unlocked, and feet should be shoulder width apart.