Free Exercise Program

   

A free exercise program that is well-written and well-planned gives you the power to change your body, your life and your health all at the same time.  These free exercise programs guidelines have been provided for people who like the idea of creating a personalized workout plan tailored to their preferences and goals.

Before beginning any free exercise program, be sure to meet with your physician for a check-up, and a green light to exercise.  Chances are, your doctor will be thrilled with your plans to follow an exercise program to better your health. 

 

COMPONENTS
Any successful athlete will tell you that a great exercise program has specific components that must be present for success.  These are:

  • Cardio
  • Strength
  • Flexibility

Our outline for free exercise programs touches on each component by explaining its significance, giving guidelines, and providing examples.  It is up to you to combine each of these components to create the free exercise program which fits your lifestyle, goals and current fitness level.

CARDIO WORKOUTS
A cardio (aerobic) workout is any sustained activity that strengthens the heart and lungs, and burns calories.  This free exercise program component will probably consume the largest piece of your total exercise time, so choose activities that you enjoy!  You can use fitness machines like treadmills, stationary bikes, or ellipticals.  However, cardio possibilities are endless, as any continuous activity can “count” as cardio, if performed vigorously: even housecleaning, gardening, or snow-shoveling.  Other examples include inline skating, jumping rope, skiing, ballroom dancing, or group aerobics.

Cardio guidelines:  aim for 20-60 minutes, 3 – 5 days/week, at a range of intensities

STRENGTH TRAINING
Strength training is vital to any exercise plan. It tones your body, builds muscle, and revs your metabolism to help you to burn more calories – even at rest!  This is why strength training is such a vital piece of free exercise programs.

Some strength training examples:

Abs/Core:  bicycle, crunches, plank, bridge.
Arms & Shoulders:  bicep curls, triceps extension, upright row, front raises.
Chest:  push-ups, bench press, chest press, chest fly.
Legs:  squats, lunges (front/back or right/left), calf raises.
Lower back:  back extensions, deadlifts, good mornings.

Strength training guidelines:  Beginners should choose 1 – 2 exercises for each body area, and do 1 set of 14 – 16 reps, with little or no weight.  Intermediate and expert levels can add more exercises, sets and weight to fit their strength.

FLEXIBILITY SESSIONS
Flexibility is perhaps the most overlooked aspect of the free exercise program, but it is no less important.  Maintaining flexibility helps us to remain agile not only during cardio and strength exercises, but also in our everyday lives as we carry grocery bags, play with the kids, clean the house, or take out the trash!  Flexibility is a great cool-down after cardio or strength exercises or a good relaxation tool at the end of the day.  You can do stretching exercises, yoga, or Pilates to fit flexibility into your exercise plan.

Flexibility guidelines:  aim for twice a week (more is better!); hold static stretches for 15 – 30 seconds, repeating each stretch 2 or 3 times.  The best time to stretch is after cardio or strength exercises, when muscles are warm.

Additional tools that contribute to success of free exercise programs include:

  • Diet & nutrition
  • Motivational & planning tools
  • Adequate rest

Whether you are beginning to train for a 10K road race, or you just want to look better in your clothes, these guidelines will help you create free exercise programs that not only gets results, but which you also enjoy doing.  To discover more about the benefits of exercise, feel free to consult our other fitness articles

 

 

 
   
More than a free exercise program on our benefits to exercise page

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