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One Easy Exercise for Beginners or People Who Are Seriously out of Shape

Nancy is an everyday woman with a love for staying active, participating in sports, and outdoor activities.

At this time of year, many people make resolutions to lose weight and improve their fitness level. We vow to go on a diet, tone our bodies, and get strong. The problem is that most weight loss resolutions tend to fizzle. This is especially true if a person has led a sedentary lifestyle for any length of time.

Going with gusto, many people start exercising like crazy, only to injure themselves or wind up having such sore muscles that they can barely roll out of bed the next morning. When this happens, it becomes impossible to continue exercising. Let’s face it: if you are so sore that you cannot lift a cup of coffee, you will not be able to do those strenuous exercises. If you have not exercised in a very long time and are seriously out of shape, the exercise illustrated below is a great way to start.

Benefits of a Moderate Approach to Increase Your Fitness Level

Using a moderate approach has the potential of increasing your muscle tone more quickly than if you exercise very strenuously. Muscle tone, or density, is very important in maintaining your health. Muscles help to keep our spine in proper alignment, protect our joints from injury, increase our metabolism, and help us to go about our daily lives more effectively. It has become commonly known that we build muscle tone by using our muscles. When we exercise our muscles to the point of fatigue, the fibers in our muscle tissue break down and rebuild, creating denser, stronger muscles. This is also the reason our muscles get sore when we exercise strenuously. If a person exercises their muscles too strenuously, it takes longer for the body to heal and regenerate muscle tissue fibers. This is why using a moderate approach to beginning a fitness regimen is beneficial if you are just beginning, or getting back into the groove after a lengthy time-period.

Gardening at your own pace increases muscle tone and overall fitness level.

Gardening at your own pace increases muscle tone and overall fitness level.

Continuous Motion

A great way to begin a fitness program is to increase your duration of continuous motion in your daily life. Use an oven timer, or an inexpensive kitchen cooking timer, and set a goal of five or ten minutes of continuous motion. Then, do house work, play with your pet, play with your children, vacuum the floor or dance until the timer dings. It really does not matter what you do, as long as you are not sitting! Go at your own pace. The goal is not to work up a sweat or raise your respiration to the point where you gasp for air. Right now, you are just working to sustain motion, and get your body used to motion again. Incorporating more motion into your daily life will help to work out the kinks that have built up over long time periods of inactivity.

Gently circle arms while contracting muscles. Tones arms, shoulders, neck, and core muscles.

Gently circle arms while contracting muscles. Tones arms, shoulders, neck, and core muscles.

The Core for Beginners

This is a great exercise for beginners because it is gentle to your body and strengthens you core muscles (the muscles between your neck and hips which hold your spine in alignment) as well as your arms, neck, and shoulders. It also has the potential of increasing flexibility and range of motion in your shoulder joints. So, what is this great exercise? Old-fashioned arm circles!

How to Do Arm Circles for Maximum Benefit

Step 1: Stand with feet placed shoulder-width apart. Keep your knees soft, as opposed to pushed or bent backward. This helps to keep your hips under you, with your spine in a good position.

Step 2: Slowly circle your head in a clockwise direction several times. Then reverse. This will help to loosen up your neck and shoulder muscles.

Step 3: Gently contract you abdominal, thigh and buttock muscles. Doing this applies the principle of Isometric exercise, which helps to increase the effectiveness of this exercise.

Step 4: Gently contract your arm muscles from your shoulders to your wrists. Raise your arms out to the side, approximately to shoulder height.

Step 5: Slowly begin to make small circles with your arms while keeping your muscles contracted. Gradually increase the size of your circles until they are medium sized. Avoid making the circles very large, though, as this defeats the purpose. Slow and steady is the key. To find your unique starting point for repetitions, do this until your muscles feel fatigued, but not so long that you are feeling pain. Count how many repetitions you were able to do. Shake out the kinks and give your muscles a rest for about 60 seconds, and do it again, this time going in the opposite direction.

More Healthy Tips for Fitness Beginners

  • Strive to improve your posture as you go about your day. This helps strengthen your core muscles.
  • Drink plenty of water. An oldie but goodie.
  • Breathe deeply. Using continuous motion, try to increase your activity level until your breathing is slightly elevated. Our bodies need oxygen in order to burn fat, as well as for other vital cellular functions.
  • Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Find some you like and vow to begin incorporating them into your daily food intake.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Nancy Owens


LaThing from From a World Within, USA on May 06, 2012:

Very nicely put! I am about to publish a hub about Healthy Lifestyle, I will link with your this hub if you don't mind. Great tips for everyone.

Voting up, and useful.

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Sondra Rochelle from USA on March 06, 2012:

Very helpful hub, Nancy. I'll start today!!!

Nancy Owens (author) from USA on January 06, 2012:

Thank you for taking the time to read this hub, RTalloni! I appreciate your thoughtful comment about people who are not beginners being able to use this to maintain strength. It hadn't really occurred to me!

RTalloni on January 05, 2012:

Starting slow is best. This is a great exercise and these are good tips, even for people who exercise regularly because they are can be used to keep strength up. Following the concept behind continuous motion is a great tip to keep in mind--thanks for the encouragement!

Nancy Owens (author) from USA on January 04, 2012:

Thank you, PhDast7! This one exercise really helped me, especially when I used isometric principles and contracted my core muscles. I even felt like it helped to make my neck stronger and less sore. I had been having a lot of neck pain from doing so much homework. Now it is gone!

Theresa Ast from Atlanta, Georgia on January 04, 2012:

Great Hub. I so appreciate recommendations for exercises that will gradually build strength and flexibility, instead of ones that lead to injuries and discouragement. Nice piece.

Nancy Owens (author) from USA on January 04, 2012:

Than, Alocsin! Slow and steady wins the race in beginner fitness.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on January 04, 2012:

I think the most effective exercise program is one that you stick with. So doing it slow is the way to go. Voting this Up and Useful.

Nancy Owens (author) from USA on January 02, 2012:

Thanks TimeTraveler2! Let me know how it goes. I like the phrase, "tuning up". I need that too.

As I understand it, as our fitness level improves, we have to work a little harder to keep increasing tone and strength, but it in the beginning it is nice to know we don't have to torture ourselves to see and feel results.

Sondra Rochelle from USA on January 02, 2012:

Great Hub, Nancy. I definitely am in need of some "tuning up" and now won't feel guilty if I go slowly.

Nancy Owens (author) from USA on January 01, 2012:

Thanks, Tendo. Auntie D is very wise! I think you are right about thinking of it as a process that we can continue for life.

tendo from Harare, Zimbabwe on January 01, 2012:

I am so thrilled to find advise that tells me that I do not need to strain myself to get fit. I so like the idea that I can take it slow because the beauty is that I can continue doing this. I am at that stage in my life where I am gaining weight, after losing it due to stress, I am feeling good about the weight gain but I am also a bit concerned about it. This hub and Auntie D's words just gave me hope. Now I can start once i wake up.

Nancy Owens (author) from USA on January 01, 2012:

Thanks, Cherylone. Auntie D, we will be waiting for your exercise Hub! I agree with Cherylone that we can work together to creat some excitement for moving out bodies!

Cheryl Simonds from Connecticut on January 01, 2012:

Nancy, thanks for all the good advice. I have found that when I keep moving, I feel better, now I know why.

Auntie D, yes, please do a hub on this subject. The more that are out there the more excitement you will create for people who need to move and strengthen their bodies. :) Voted up and useful.

Auntie D from California on December 31, 2011:

I taught very basic exercises for ten years. If you stuck with them you could keep yourself in good shape. I also taught aquatic exercises which were fun and easy for everyone. I think basic exercises are for everyone no matter what the age unless your really in to torturing yourself and want a super over done body. Maybe I need to do a hub on this...

Nancy Owens (author) from USA on December 31, 2011:

Thank you, Auntie D. Several years ago I found myself to be seriously out of shape. I was so surprised, when I tried to exercise, to find that even the smallest exertion left me huffing and puffing. I thought I should push past the pain, but just ended up seriously injuring my foot! What kind of exercise classes did you teach, and do you have any advice for the over 40 crowd?

Auntie D from California on December 31, 2011:

Good hub! Good and accurate advice. I taught exercise classes years ago and firmly believe if it hurts your overdoing it. The old saying 'no pain' is so wrong. Take it gentle and slow and incorporate weights to strengthen your muscles and bones.

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