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How to ease into exercising

Men and women who resolve to get healthy often benefit by combining a healthy diet with regular exercise. Making such adjustments can be challenging, especially as men and women accustomed to sedentary lifestyles begin exercise regimens. Whether they’re fitness novices or returning to exercise after a long layoff, men and women can employ various strategies to make that transition go smoothly.

· Work with a trainer.

Many fitness facilities offer a handful of free personal training sessions to new members upon enrollment. Take advantage of such offers, as trainers can devise workout routines for people of various abilities. Trainers also can instruct new members how to use machines and help ensure they’re following proper form so they can avoid injury. If necessary, continue working with trainers after making use of complementary sessions. Personal training sessions typically can be purchased in batches, and men and women can continue working with trainers until they’re comfortable working out on their own.

· Embrace low-intensity exercises.

Even men and women who were once accomplished athletes must take it slow when beginning an exercise regimen after a long layoff. Initial low-intensity exercise sessions might feel ineffective and seemingly produce few results. But early on, the goal is to simply get the body acclimated to physical activity. As their bodies adjust, men and women can begin to make their workouts more intense.

· Focus on flexibility.

Sedentary bodies likely lack the flexibility of bodies more accustomed to exercise. Men and women who are becoming more physically active must include stretching in their workouts and cease exercising if they feel something tweak or suspect they have pulled a muscle.

· Take days off.

As men and women begin to see their work in the gym pay off, they may be tempted to push themselves hard, working out several days in a row without taking time off. But rest is an important component of an effective workout. Days off help the body repair itself and recover from vigorous activity. Exercising for the first time or after a long layoff requires patience. But as men and women grow more acclimated to physical activity, they will begin to see the fruits of their labors.