BBJ Fitness Corner | A beginner’s guide to Exercise 101: Getting started with an exercise program

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WHEN an individual decides that it is time to start exercising, he or she has taken the first step in a journey to a new and enhanced mind and body.

At the BBJ Functional Fitness Class at Gold’s Gym, participants learn new movements they can practice at home, at the park, or in the gym.
The BBJ Athletics Crew members pose for a photo before the start of the Annual Christmas Island Relay from PIC to the Last Command Post.  Contributed photos

“In my five years as a personal trainer, I’ve learned that ‘exercise is medicine,’ ” stated Gold’s Gym personal trainer Jerry Diaz. “I’ve learned that exercise can help prevent diseases.” Exercise can also help people recover from some types of cancer, he added. “Exercise helps people with arthritis. Exercise helps people prevent and reverse depression.”

Diaz said there are different types and levels of exercise that people can perform. These include walking, dancing, gardening, biking and even household chores. The important thing is to choose activities that will promote a positive habit of consistent practice, Diaz said.

Before performing any workout routine, it is important to assess an individual’s fitness level. You must consult with a doctor and get a medical clearance, especially if you are 45 years and older.

The next step is to identify your workout goals. You could participate in a 5K run, work out at the gym five times a week, or simply just walk on the pathway. You must, however, ensure that your goals are clear and realistic.

“I usually advise clients that they must approach their situation with the highest level of caution in regards to their specific fitness goals and medical condition,” Diaz said. “As a personal trainer, I would recommend starting with low impact work outs — 10 minutes, two times a week which can be increased to 4-5 times a week.”

Many beginners make the mistake of starting out too aggressively, only to give up when they end up tired, sore, or injured. They also get discouraged once they realize that an aggressive workout will not necessarily produce instant results.

“I help my clients develop new lifetime habits,” Diaz said. “Before starting any fitness activity, it’s important to warm up, and then perform dynamic movements to get the blood flow into the muscle tissues. Once an individual has warmed up, depending on an individual’s goal, there are three types of exercise for overall physical fitness: cardiovascular activity, strength conditioning, and flexibility training. They don’t necessarily all have to be done at once, but doing each training approach on a regular basis will result in balanced fitness.”

It doesn’t have to be done at the gym. “Individuals can work out in the comfort of their own home. And with callisthenic-type exercises such as squats, lunges, pushups, and sit-ups, individuals can use the resistance of their own body weight to condition their body. Once they are ready to take their fitness level to the next step, they can boost their strength and aerobic capacity by investing in some home exercise equipment,” Diaz said.

To learn how to perform certain exercises, it is highly recommended to hire a personal trainer for a session or two. You can also take advantage of free sessions or try a variety of fitness classes offered when you join a gym.



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