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Categories > Exercise and Fitness > Getting started exercising

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Intimidated by the gym?
Smart solutions to help you get fit

Get fit, no gym required!

Working out at a fitness center isn’t the only way to get into shape. Try these ideas at home or in your neighborhood:

Make chores fun. Blast the radio and dance while vacuuming, or try raking or mopping faster than usual, to increase your heart rate. A 140-pound woman who rakes the yard or dances for 30 minutes burns 160 calories; a 180-pound man burns more than 200.

Start a video library. Join forces with a few friends who have exercise DVDs and swap them regularly so you can vary your routines without spending a fortune, or just take the videos out from the library.

Play hard with the kids. At the playground, be “it” during tag or jump into the kickball game, instead of sitting on a bench.

Focus on scenery. Go for regular walks, jogs or bike rides where you enjoy looking at your surroundings, whether it’s a scenic park or a local neighborhood with historic homes. Choose a place that’s quick and easy to get to so you’ll return often.

When you’re getting started with a new exercise plan, joining a gym has the potential to be both helpful and harmful. Sure, you’ll be surrounded by the latest fitness equipment and have access to knowledgeable staff members. But if you’re too self-conscious to break a sweat while surrounded by well-toned people or you avoid using the machines because you don’t know how they work, you won’t get much return for your investment. You could also get hurt if you use the machines incorrectly. Here’s how to increase your comfort level at the gym:

Try blending in. Scared you’ll embarrass yourself in a group exercise class? Take a spot in the back row, where no one will notice any slip-ups.

Work with a personal trainer. If you can afford a session, you’ll learn how to stretch and use all the equipment properly. Otherwise, if your gym offers a complimentary orientation, take advantage of the personalized tour, and ask questions about how to use the equipment.

Join with a friend. There’s safety in numbers, and you’ll enjoy meeting your pal regularly to chat and burn calories together.

Keep a journal. Jot down the exercises you tried and how you felt afterward. After a few weeks, you should feel more confident about your abilities. For inspiration, flip back through your old entries.


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