- Workout Routines and New Ideas for Fitness Center
- 7 Most Effective Exercises Pictures
- Take the Exercise and Fitness Quiz!
- How to Build a Better Butt Slideshow
Explore your fitness options and nurture a love of movement.
By Wendy Oliver-Pyatt, MD
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
Quick Guide17 Must-Try Fitness Workouts in Pictures
Fitness isn't just a plan you embark on, along with a diet, to lose weight. It's a lifelong love of movement that will help you maintain good health and the physique you want. We've compiled some workout routines and ideas to help you along your way.
These recommendations will help you evolve your workout routine and activity plan. The theme is picking something you love doing, and nurturing your feelings every step of the way.
After you read through these workout options, consider journaling to explore your fitness habits, desires, and goals.
Level One: Workout Ideas and Recommendations
If you feel uncomfortable going to a gym, a 10-minute walk, twice weekly, is an excellent first step toward better fitness. If you enjoy and can afford it, get a regular massage as well. Consider buying a good beginner's exercise tape, too. (A tip: rent exercise videos from your local library and try them out to see which you enjoy.) Another great activity is gardening, an underrated form of stress reduction and exercise.
Get in touch with your physicality by using a Jacuzzi or sauna after a cool shower, or just by taking a bubble bath. Afterward, try some gentle stretching, perhaps followed by another cool-down shower and Jacuzzi. A facial is another good way to reconnect your physical and mental being.
If you feel daring, consider karate, a dance class, or bowling. Enjoy the activities you pick, but don't make yourself continue with them any longer than you want to; for instance, don't force yourself to bowl three games if you feel like bowling only one. Remember that your goal is to make yourself healthier and fitter by nurturing yourself and reducing stress.
Level Two: Workout Ideas and Recommendations
Think about bowling, softball, or any other type of entry-level team activity. Many people who aren't natural-born athletes love team sports because of the combination of exercise and social interaction. (Mall-walking groups offer the same benefit if you're looking for something less strenuous.)
If group activities aren't for you, start a walking routine, two or three times a week, for 15 to 20 minutes. If you feel like it, jog for a few minutes during each walk. Do a few jumping jacks, sit-ups, or push-ups -- along with stretches -- in the morning before work. Jump rope with your kids or buy yourself a Hula Hoop. Take an in-line skating class, or start going out dancing occasionally with friends.
Dance, tai chi, and yoga classes are enjoyable, low-stress fitness activities. Also, consider buying several exercise tapes and try out fun activities including biking, swimming, horseback riding, or even a regular game of Frisbee with your dog.
Focus, above all, on giving yourself permission to enjoy your physicality. If you can, start getting regular massages. If you belong to a gym, don't feel you must do a strenuous workout every time you're there. Try going occasionally just for the enjoyment of stretching for several minutes and then taking a Jacuzzi, steam, or sauna bath. You'll learn to reconnect with your physicality and rediscover your body as a source of pleasure.
Level Three: Workout Ideas and Recommendations
By choosing the right exercise program, you can make your natural athleticism work for you. Avoid heavy-duty exercise programs that trim off inches for a little while but may not work in the long run because they can cause burnout.
For long-term results, find activities that you enjoy, instead of merely choosing those that burn calories. You probably already know some of the activities you do and don't like, so select those you prefer and drop the ones that bore or stress you.
For instance, are you starting to dread your usual five-mile run? If so, give yourself permission to take a leisurely bike ride or swim. Too tired for a 30-minute workout? Exercise for 15 minutes, and see if you feel like continuing. And if you find yourself setting harder and harder goals ("I need to run an eight-minute mile"), reconsider your priorities. Remember that getting regular, moderate exercise is smarter and more effective than forcing yourself to do grueling workouts that can lead to injury or burnout.
You might enjoy the challenge of participating in a run or bike race for charity -- a great way to get exercise while meeting new people and helping your community. You might even want to train for a half-marathon, if running is your favorite activity. Just be sure to make fun and stress reduction -- not calorie-burning -- your top priorities!
Level Four: Workout Ideas and Recommendations
Keep up the good work! Your goal is to establish a healthy, pleasant exercise routine, intermingling challenging activities with peaceful and relaxing mind/body experiences. If you find yourself getting bored, vary your exercise routine with creative new activities. For instance, if you're tired of jogging every morning, try taking up kickboxing, spin cycling, in-line skating, even a jazz dance class. Spicing up your exercise routine will motivate you to stick with it.
No matter what level of activity is right for you, concentrate on nurturing yourself through exercise. When you do, you'll feel good -- and when you feel good, you'll stick with your fitness plan.
Some days, that plan might lead you to be the first person at the gym or to sign up for a challenging fitness run. Other days, you'll be found at the spa, getting a massage or stretching for a few minutes before you take a leisurely walk. It may seem hard to believe, but all of these activities are active ways of achieving true and lasting fitness.
So forget "no pain, no gain," and focus on the joy of swimming, walking, skating, belly dancing, or even Jacuzzi-ing your way to better health and a trimmer body. Expand your definition of exercise to include any activities that help you relieve stress and "connect" your mind and body -- and make a commitment, based on self-love and self-affirmation, to make exercise a priority in your life. When you do, you'll see your excess pounds and inches come off more quickly and effortlessly.
Most of all, remember that combining a variety of workout routines and ideas can help keep your exercise program interesting so that you'll be more likely to stay on the road to lifelong better health and fitness.
For additional information on starting an exercise program and choosing a workout routine read Fitness 101: The Absolute Beginner's Guide to Exercise and What's Your Workout Personality?.
Published February 2006.
SOURCES: WebMD University Course "Your Fitness Options" with Wendy Oliver-Pyatt, MD. Portions of this page copyright 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
©2006 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.
Daily Health News
Subscribe to MedicineNet's Weight Loss/Healthy Living Newsletter
Top Workout Routines & Ideas Related Articles
30-Minute WorkoutThis quick, high-intensity 30-minute workout routine can make you look better and feel better. Discover the right way to do cardio and resistance training exercises like squats, lunges and push-ups that target each major muscle group such as the thighs, chest, and shoulders.
Most Effective ExercisesThese seven exercises deliver fitness results at home or in the gym. Start your training to better physical health with the most effective exercises chosen by our experts.
7 Risky ExercisesWorking out is supposed to make you healthier--but some exercises can leave your body at risk of pain or injury. Some exercises are simply ineffective.Ditch these seven moves and learn healthier alternatives.
Alzheimer's Disease Patient Caregiver GuideCaring for a loved one or patient with Alzheimer's can become a difficult and overwhelming task at times. This guide helps caregivers of individual's with Alzheimer's deal with communicating, bathing, and dressing; as well as problem solving with incontinence, sleeping, wandering; and coping with difficulties Alzheimer's patients present.
Foot Problems (Diabetes)Diabetes related foot problems can affect your health with two problems: diabetic neuropathy, where diabetes affects the nerves, and peripheral vascular disease, where diabetes affects the flow of blood. Common foot problems for people with diabetes include athlete's foot, fungal infection of nails, calluses, corns, blisters, bunions, dry skin, foot ulcers, hammertoes, ingrown toenails, and plantar warts.
Heat StrokeHeat stroke (heatstroke or sun stroke) is a form of hyperthermia. Heat stroke is a true medical emergency that can be fatal if not promptly and properly treated. Symptoms of heat stroke include:
- high body temperature,
- absence of sweating,
- hot red or flushed dry skin,
- rapid pulse,
- difficulty breathing,
- strange behavior,
- seizure, and
High Cholesterol: Frequently Asked QuestionsCholesterol occurs naturally in the body. High blood cholesterol levels increase a person's risk of developing heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, TIAs, and more. In addition to medication (fibrates, statins, bile acid sequestrants, and niacin), lifestyle changes can be made to lower blood cholesterol levels
Insulin resistance is the diminished ability of cells to respond to the action of insulin in transporting glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream into muscle and other tissues. There are no signs or symptoms of insulin resistance. Causes of insulin can include conditions such as stress, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and steroid use.
Some of the risk factors for insulin resistance include fatty liver, heart disease, strokes, peripheral vascular disease, high cholesterol, and smoking. Treatment for insulin resistance are lifestyle changes and if necessary, medication.
Metabolic SyndromeThe main features of metabolic syndrome include insulin resistance, hypertension (high blood pressure), cholesterol abnormalities, and an increased risk for clotting. Patients are most often overweight or obese. Lifestyle modification such as the Mediterranean diet, exercise, and quitting smoking are the preferred treatment of metabolic syndrome.
Obesity (Weight Loss)Obesity is the state of being well above one's normal weight. A person has traditionally been considered to be obese if they are more than 20% over their ideal weight. That ideal weight must take into account the person's height, age, sex, and build.
RA Friendly ExercisesRegular exercise boosts fitness and helps reverse joint stiffness for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Our experts offer helpful exercises to get you started.
Staph InfectionStaphylococcus or Staph is a group of bacteria that can cause a multitude of diseases. Staph infections can cause illness directly by infection or indirectly by the toxins they produce. Symptoms and signs of a Staph infection include redness, swelling, pain, and drainage of pus. Minor skin infections are treated with an antibiotic ointment, while more serious infections are treated with intravenous antibiotics.
Stretch MarksStretch marks occur in the dermis, the elastic middle layer of skin that allows it to retain its shape. When the skin is constantly stretched, the dermis can break down, leaving behind stretch marks.
Vitamins & ExerciseVitamins and exercise can lower your risk for heart attack and heart disease. Folic acid, vitamins, and homocysteine levels are interconnected and affect your risk for heart disease or heart attack. For better heart health, avoid the following:
- fried foods,
- hard margarine,
- commercial baked goods,
- most packaged and processed snack foods,
- high fat dairy, and
- processed meats such as bacon, sausage, and deli meats.
- lowering cholesterol,
- lowering blood pressure,
- diabetes prevention, and
- smoking cesssation.
- Eat whole, natural, fresh foods,
- eat five to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily,
- eat more omega-3 fatty acids,
- drink water, tea, non-fat dairy and red wine,
- eat lean proteins,
- limit glycemic foods, and
- exercise daily.