Exercise Video DVD

Perhaps you live in a rural area, miles and miles from the nearest gym.  Perhaps your budget doesn’t allow for a monthly gym membership.  Maybe you are just extremely shy and cannot bring yourself to exercise in front of other people.  There is no reason your health and physical well-being should suffer.  All you need to do is invest in a few fitness videos.

Fitness videos come in every workout imaginable, from aerobics to yoga and hosted by every celebrity imaginable; from Richard Simmons to Gene Simmons (the lead singer of KISS launched his own “sexercise” video in 2006).  Whatever you are looking for, you can find it on video, DVD, and some are even available digitally through iTunes and other digital outlets.

Finding the right fitness video for you may require doing a bit of research.  You’ll first want to narrow it down to what kind of exercise you want to do, and then find out which video will best meet your needs.  The great thing about fitness videos is that you can do them anywhere, anytime, even when the gym is closed.  They’re small enough to travel with you, and most hotels have video players in the room.

One of the most important things to consider when purchasing a fitness video is at what level the exercises are. Some videos may be a better buy than others if they show you a more advanced routine – something you can grow into – while also providing you with ways to modify the exercises for beginning and intermediate workouts.  Fitness videos that offer these multiple levels of experience allow you to gradually work your way up to a more advanced routine without having to continually invest in new material.

If you are hesitate about buying a fitness video, consider going to your local library and checking one out for free or even renting one from your local video rental shop (although video rentals being what they are these days, it might be cheaper to buy a used one).  After trying out the fitness video, you will be able to determine whether or not you like it enough to buy it.  If you find that it will be a beneficial addition to your fitness plan, then you can buy your own copy.

If this is the route you are going to choose then I would suggest you build a “library” gradually over time of different workouts. This will help to keep you on the right track as you will not become easily bored doing the same routine day after day. This does not have to be ab expensive venture. Check online for used copies.  Half.com and amazon.com both offer used fitness videos, some as low as seventy-five cents plus shipping.

Fitness Audit

Now is the time to take stock of your health and fitness and this is about more than the number on your scale, more than just Body Mass Index. It’s more about how you look and feel,  so be honest with yourself as you answer these questions. They will help you asses your mental and emotional health as well as your level of fitness.

Prior to beginning the assessment, please answer the following questions:

  • Are you or could you be pregnant?
  • Do you have heart or lung disease?
  • Do you have high blood pressure, asthma or any other breathing problems.
  • Do you have dizzy spells or faint when exerting yourself.
  • Has it been a long time since you have regularly exercised?
  • Are you being treated by a doctor for a medical condition?
  • Have you been prescribed medication that may interfere with your ability to exercise?
  • Are there other circumstances that make it difficult for you to exercise?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, please consult with your physician before engaging in any of the assessment or suggested exercises on this website.

Physical Fitness
Can you:

  • run up and down the stairs (at least 10 steps) two times and still

conduct a conversation without difficulty?

  • bend over and touch your toe 15 times without being winded?
  • put your hand behind your back and reach up to undo your bra clasp?
  • do 15 reps. of bicep curls (on each arm) using an 8lbs.weight or 1 liter

bottle of juice?

  • stand on one leg without support for 15 seconds (test both legs)?
  • - do ten pushups within a minute?
  • - Sit with your legs stretched out in front of you and touch your toes?
  • - do 20 situps within one minute?

More than 3 no answers in this section indicate a need for a focus on fitness.

Emotional Fitness

Are you:

  • lacking in energy?
  • easily angered, flustered, brought to tears?
  • feeling more stressed than you used to?
  • always worried?
  • sleeping poorly at nights?
  • grinding your teeth?

Do you:

  • change your eating habits when you are upset?
  • neglect to make time to hang out with your girlfriends?
  • feel anxious, overwhelmed, angry, or sad more than two times during a week?
  • withdraw from people or find yourself feeling isolated?

More than 3 yes answers in this area indicates a need to focus on emotional fitness.

Diet

Do you:

  • grab fast food on a regular basis because there is no time to cook?
  • skip meals in favor of completing some task.
  • give in to your cravings for sweets, salt snacks?
  • skip breakfast?
  • eat very little fruits and vegetables?
  • eat mayonnaise, butter, or other fats daily?
  • have a pattern of weight gain over the past 6 months?

More than one yes answer to this section indicates a need to focus on diet.

Now that you have completed the fitness audit, you can use this website to get some ideas on how to proceed with the areas you would like to focus on.

Swimming for fitness

For women who are heavier, for those who struggle with joint or bone difficulties, and for those who suffer from chronic pain or have arthritis or arthritic conditions, physical exercise may be something you can only contemplate with pain.

However, those sufferings will only become worse with time if you don’t begin being more active.  Swimming is one of the best ways to increase your physical activity without risking injury to an already aching body.  In fact, women of all ages benefit from swimming and the low-impact, high-resistance workout you can get in a pool.

Swimming for exercise does not necessarily imply getting up at the crack of dawn and doing laps at the local Y.  In fact, swimming has become a very mainstream form of exercise particularly attractive to older or heavier women and includes everything from water jogging to water aerobics.  Any exercise you would do out of a pool has a less negative impact on your joints and bones when done inside a pool because the water’s natural buoyancy protects you.

Swimming, like other aerobic exercises, improves bone density and can help prevent osteoporosis.  It is ideal for women who experience chronic pain from any number of chronic disorders.  Swimming is even a great choice for pregnant women (always check with your doctor first).

swimming 300x199 Swimming for fitnessSwimming increases your endurance and stamina, improves your cardiovascular health, helps you lose fat and build muscle (which helps to increase your metabolism) and gives you more energy throughout the day.  The mental benefits of swimming are also well-noted, as it has been shown to improve depression and anxiety as well as reduce stress.

While you may be sore for the first few days after starting a swimming routine, the likelihood of being injured is much smaller.  You should still warm up and cool down before and after swimming, and you should start slowly and build up your exercise time.

Swimming does not have to be an expensive exercise; check with your local community center or school and find out if the pool has public use hours; this accessibility is typically offered at very low prices if not for free.  If you don’t have easy access to a swimming pool but live in a moderate climate, consider purchasing an above ground pool.  The maintenance is fairly simple, the pools inexpensive, and the long-term benefits of swimming will make it worth it in the end.

Running for exercise

People who incorporate running into their fitness plans either love it or hate it.  Some people claim running gives them that endorphin high we have all heard about, while others complain that the impact of running cripples their exercising efforts.  If you plan to add running to your fitness plan, be sure you clear your health with your physician first.

Running can be great, calorie-burning, aerobic exercise.  It can be done on a treadmill or even better, when the weather is nice enough, it can get you out into fresh air.  Running can also be a troublesome form of exercise if you don’t take the proper precautions.

running 225x300 Running for exerciseThe most important consideration when adding running to your exercise regimen is to make sure you have a pair of great-fitting running shoes.  The shoes should be professionally fitted, and you should try them on wearing the type of socks you will be wearing when you run (which should be slightly padded, moisture-wicking athletic socks).  Running shoes absorb the impact of your feet hitting the ground and help prevent you from sustaining injuries that keep you from exercising.

The next major consideration for running is a sport bra.  You cannot just go to the local department store and grab a small, medium, or large sport bra off the shelf.  You need to buy a sport bra that is sized by circumference and cup size, offers more than adequate support, and is designed from a moisture-wicking material.

Finally, before and after your running session, you should stretch and warm your muscles.  In fact, if you haven’t been running and decide to start, you should start by walking and incorporate a few minutes of running combined with your walking.  Each day, you can increase your running time and decrease your walking time until you are running the entire time.  It can take six to ten weeks to bring your body to a point where it can accomplish a run without overexertion.

As your body adjusts to running, you may find yourself wanting to run longer and more often.  Be careful not to overstress sore muscles; if you feel as though you’ve pulled a muscle, go back to walking and running in combination until the pain is gone.  Running and ignoring the pain will eventually make it impossible for you to exercise.  Be smart and listen to your body, and you will find that your body will respond well to running and you’ll see many positive benefits.

Cycling for exercise

Whether you choose to use an exercise bike or hit the trail on a real bike, cycling is a wonderful exercise to add to your fitness plan.  It is typically an aerobic exercise, allowing you to get your heart rate up into that target area, and it can be less stressful on your joints than running and traditional aerobics.

Cycling exercises your heart and has the same benefits as other aerobic exercises, including aiding in the prevention of osteoporosis and some cancers as well as mitigating the damage of diabetes and other chronic conditions.

If you plan to engage in cycling exercise out on the street, there are certain safety considerations you should make.  First of all, you should have a well-fitting helmet.  You should never even think about going cycling without a helmet.  Even if you are an extraordinary cyclist with a very low risk for being in an accident, you simply cannot take the chance that the cars who will be sharing the road with you will be that careful.

cycling 200x300 Cycling for exerciseThe other thing you need to make sure you have is the proper exercise gear.  For most women, investing in a great pair of cycling shorts with a padded rear makes the experience, whether out on a bike or when using a stationary exercise cycle, much more comfortable.

Finally, you should consider investing in cycling shoes.  Cycling shoes are specifically designed to make pedaling easier and safer; if you cannot afford a pair of cycling shoes, be sure you have a pair of cross-trainers.  As with any form of aerobic exercise, the more you can fit into your schedule the better, but shoot for a minimum of 20 minutes three times per week.

Cycling on an exercise bike is a great alternative for those who live in harsher climates; you can make the experience more fun by popping in a video – they even make videos for use when cycling that make it seem like you are out riding through the country side.  Watching a movie can also help make the time pass more quickly, as can listening to music.

If you do not have an exercise bike and are interested in purchasing one, be sure you go to the store and try several different bikes.  Cycling is great exercise, but not if you are in pain or you cannot comfortably adjust the bike so that you can reach the pedals.  For added muscle work, look for a bike that has moving handle bars and the ability to adjust the settings aso you can vary the degree of difficulty.

Outdoor Fitness

While some of us are perfectly happy just plugging in their MP3 player and hopping on a treadmill every day, many of us need more motivation to get moving.  Even if you start out with a treadmill or other exercise machine or use it when the weather is bad, you may find yourself lacking motivation at some point.  Outdoor workouts can make the idea of physical fitness much more inviting, especially if you find that you’re having trouble staying motivated otherwise.

Working on physical fitness outdoors gives you the advantage of fresh air, being out in your community, connecting with nature, and being able to do exercises that just can’t be replicated inside the house.  Things like biking, swimming, and running simply cannot be perfectly simulated on a machine, and while treadmills and elliptical machines are great for people in harsh climates, they just can’t match nature’s ability to provide challenge.

The advantage of outdoor physical fitness is that you can take advantage of the changing terrain available in nature that is not programmable on your treadmill.  You also have more variability, which keeps your body working at its hardest.  On a treadmill, you can only keep moving forward; outside you can try running laterally or run backwards, forcing your muscles to work in different ways.

Outdoor physical fitness is a great way to increase your mental fitness as well, since you literally have to walk away from everything waiting for you – email, work, demands of home and family.  It can really become YOUR time.  My suggestion?  Leave the cell phone at home, or at least turned off, while you are exercising.  Really make it a break from the routine of things.

Stop at a playground.  Those monkey bars aren’t just for kids to climb on.  Do some pull ups, stretch your muscles, and laugh and have fun.  It’s much more likely that you will burn more calories, exercise longer, and enjoy it more if you are interested in your surroundings and the exercise doesn’t just become the same old thing every day.

Outdoor physical fitness is simple.  It’s always there, even if you are traveling and often away from home.  Exercising outdoors doesn’t require anything more than a good pair of shoes  and some moisture-wicking exercise clothes.  There are no special pieces of equipment you have to buy, so you can start exercising even if you don’t have a budget for it – just walk out the front door and hit the ground running.