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Choosing a Great Beginner Exercise Video continued...

At least, look for a video that specifies it is for beginners or appropriate for all fitness levels. After previewing it, you may still find it's not basic enough, but that's a good place to start, says Zurowski.

"Look for something with a lot of short segments," says Neporent. "This way, you can do a 10-minute set and you're not committed to a longer routine." When you're ready, you can add the segments together and the workout will still flow. DVD technology has made it easier for video exercisers to do short segments or put several together, depending on their ability

Another feature to look for in a beginner video is a tutorial or instructional segment -- particularly if you've never done that type of exercise before, she says.

It's also important to know what motivates you.

"Do you like a drill sergeant? A cheerleader? A mother?" asks Neporent. "What style gets you in front of the TV every day?"

"This person is going to be in your home every day," says Glenna. "You need to feel like the instructor cares about you."

Getting Started With Exercise Videos

When you're ready to try a video, first clear your environment so you can move without knocking things over, says Neporent.

Be in a room with no distractions, advises Glenna. If you set up in the kitchen, you'll end up doing the dishes. If you set up in the laundry room, you'll throw a load in the dryer.

Set up your space with the tools you'll need, like exercise bands, weights, a stability ball, or a step, says Zurowski. Have water on hand. Wear good exercise shoes, and if you're a woman, a good sports bra, says Neporent. Putting a mirror in the space will help you check your form and can help motivate you, adds Glenna.

Be sure to preview the video before you try to do it for the first time, says Zurowski.

"Fast-forward through the DVD to see if there are any things you can't do, and while previewing, see if there are multiple people on stage and find the 'modifier,'" the person doing an easier version of the workout, she says. "And certainly for the first few times, don't worry about keeping up."

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