What type of exercise works best for you? Do you exercise daily or once a week? What is best for your body: running, swimming, weight-training? How much exercise do you really accomplish in a week?
The fact that your body doesn't fit anyone else is an important item to consider before you leap into the world of fitness.
Interval training can be the answer to a lot of your fitness decisions. It isn't just a method of training that encompasses the competitive athlete; it can be included in any form of daily exercise. If you run or jog, you can mix walking with your run and slow your heart rate for several blocks, then pick back up to a higher level of exertion. Aerobics can be structured to vary between hard kicks, arm work and low impact to accomplish the same results.
Another way to use interval training is to change your daily workout to alternate types of fitness on alternate days. Example: Run your normal time and length on one day then lap-swim the next. Or do your aerobic workout on one day and weight-train on the next. Incorporate some form of stretching at least once a week to flex the major muscle groups, especially following your daily workout.
What you shouldn't do is combine your running with another form of leg and impact exercise on alternate days. You will be doubling the impact and the stress on the same muscle groups. Over-use injuries can begin to occur, especially as you age. You need either a complete fitness routine that includes weights, cardiovascular, muscle strengthening and stretching for daily exercise, or alternate styles of exercise on alternate days. Your body has many muscle groups that require strengthening; consider them and what you are trying to achieve.
If you are walking daily, that's wonderful. No reason not to as it's a low-impact form of exercise and doesn't over-strain leg muscles. The same applies to any form of chair-exercise program. Usually a milder form of exercise, this type of class strengthens and builds slowly with no impact, and can be done daily.
Balance your workout and worry only about overusing single groups of muscles to the point of injury. Incorporate a little interval training in your daily workout, and you will find improvement in your overall physical capabilities.
n Jerry Vance is owner of The Sweat Shop/Wet Sweat. She offers classes through Carson City Recreation and Aquatics Center and is a fitness instructor for the Senior Citizens Center.