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Walk the dog to get regular exercise.
If you have been sedentary and want to get fit, ease into an exercise routine that helps you develop strength and endurance without causing injuries or overexertion. Stretching engages previously unused muscles that may be stiff and have limited mobility. Chair-based exercises can help build initial strength and boost confidence to prepare you for low-impact exercises that offer greater health benefits. If you have any concerns about physical limitations, talk to your doctor before exercising.
Stretch It Out
Not being physically active can make muscles tight and stiff, and a limited range of motion causes poor posture and makes daily tasks difficult to perform. By incorporating gentle stretching into your fitness routine, you prepare your muscles for greater physical activity. Perform dynamic stretching moves that complement the form of exercise you will be doing -- for example, simply walking around the house and moving your legs, back and arms is sufficient before a moderate-pace neighborhood walk, the American Council on Exercise notes. After exercising, focus on a cool-down period with deeper stretches while your muscles are warm.
To safely build strength and endurance, you may want to begin with chair-based exercises such as marching moves, spinal twists and shoulder circles. Add resistance bands to your seated workout for a greater challenge while performing arm curls and thigh-strengthening moves. Perform each move for several repetitions on both sides of your body for the greatest health benefits.
Walking is an effective low-impact exercise that accommodates a variety of fitness levels. The American Council on Exercise recommends starting with a five-minute walk and gradually extending your distance over time until you're walking a minimum of 30 minutes daily. Increase your speed or walk uphill as your endurance builds, but make sure to maintain proper form: head up, shoulders relaxed and arms swinging naturally.
Swimming, which improves cardiovascular health and flexibility, is another appropriate exercise for the sedentary. According to the American Council on Exercise, swimming drastically reduces the amount of stress placed on your weight-bearing joints, reducing injury risk. Join a swim class at your local recreation center to learn proper form and build your endurance safely.
Start Slow, Stay Safe
Set reasonable goals when you begin a fitness program. Pushing yourself too quickly can lead to overexertion and increased injury risk. Perform what trainers call unintentional exercise, such as standing up more when doing tasks you usually do seated, like talking on the phone. Use a heart rate monitor to maintain a safe heart rate while working out. A pedometer can help you keep track of your steps; gradually work up to at least 10,000 steps daily. Do not continue exercising if you experience pain, and call your doctor if you suspect an injury has occurred.