Four elements of a good exercise program

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ParticipACTION, Basketball coach

As a personal trainer and having led fitness classes for 25 years, I’ve worked with thousands of participants, including hundreds of children and youth. If you’re new to physical activity or are thinking about becoming more active, there are two things I encourage you to invest in — and a sexy new spandex outfit and gym bag are not what I have in mind… at least as the first two priorities!

First off, make an appointment with your physician, be upfront about your goals, and discuss any health concerns that may impact your goals or the type of physical activity in which you hope to participate. Learn about the many benefits of physical activity and about some easy ways to start.

Secondly, consider meeting with a certified personal trainer — not necessarily for weeks or months of individual training — but because he or she can develop a plan with you that will take into account your current fitness level, any limitations you may have, your short and long-term goals, teach you how to use equipment properly and safely, and more. Trainers are also terrific resources for tips and tools, can suggest fitness classes and active community groups you might enjoy, and can often introduce you to others who share your fitness goals and may be interested in “buddying up”.  Meeting with a trainer every few weeks can also help to gauge your progress and modify your routine as your level of fitness increases and so that your routine doesn’t become stale.

Every fitness program should be:

1) SAFE- your program should not cause injury or exacerbate an existing one
2) EFFECTIVE - it should deliver results, helping you make strides towards your goals.
3) EFFICIENT – it should make the most of your valuable time.
4) FUN/ENJOYABLE – don’t I always remind you of this?!

Put safety first, fun a close second, and a new workout outfit somewhere a little further down your list! Maintain your motivation and be inspired by our 52 reasons to be active (one for each week of 2012).

PS: No time to exercise? Are you sure?