workout faq three



I'm 35, have two kids, work full-time, go to school and am very out of shape. I have little time for myself, so finding time to exercise is very hard. I've already started watching what I eat, but I know diet alone cannot help me. Are there certain exercises that are better than others, and where should I start?

Dear Laurie,
You're definitely starting off on the right foot by realizing the important role exercise plays in weight loss. In fact, it's particularly helpful in keeping those pounds from coming back.
The best program is a combination of aerobic exercise -- like walking, running or cycling -- with strength training. Since your spare time is minimal, your most important considerations should be finding an activity that's convenient, that you can do anywhere and that you can break into mini-workouts.
Walking is a great choice: It's easy to do, you don't have to drive to a gym, you can do it with your kids, at home, at work, at the mall and on vacation. And you don't have to shower after each workout. Try parking your car about 10 minutes away from the office. Then at lunch, walk back to your car. That's 20 minutes worth of exercise already. Instead of spending time with your kids in front of the TV, shuffle them outdoors for a walk around the block.
Recent research has shown that people who break up their exercise into mini-workouts are more likely to stick with it and actually exercise for more minutes per week than folks who try to fit in 30 minutes of exercise all in one shot. Try to accumulate 30 minutes of walking at least five days a week.
The next part is strength training, important for toning and building muscles. Simple exercises like sit-ups, push-ups, or leg-lifts are a good place to start. Or buy a few sets of dumbbells. (Each month in Prevention magazine, we give you exercises you can do at home. Two or three days a week use one of your 10-minute walking sessions to do these exercises instead. Why? The more muscle you build, the more calories you'll burn all day long.



I'd like to do weight training at home. What is a good basic program?

Dear Jan,

The best weight-training program is one that works all the major muscle groups in your body. If you're just starting out, consider getting a personal trainer -- they're not only available to the rich and famous. A trainer should be able to teach you the basics and set you up with a routine in two to three sessions for $20 to $50 each; about what you'd pay for a night out on the town. A personal trainer can design a routine specific to your needs, show you proper technique and help you determine how much weight you need to lift to see results without injuring yourself. Once you're comfortable with your routine, check in with your trainer every month or so to evaluate your progress and fine-tune your routine.