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All About Exercise Machines

How to find an exercise machine that suits you, and make the most out of any machine workout.

Working out Smart continued...

Better, he advises, to cue in on how you feel, how you’re breathing, and what your perceived exertion is.

"All this quantification is sort of American, it’s sort of the way we do things," he says. "I always encourage people to just do it and the outcomes will take care of themselves."

Be a creature of habit. We brush our teeth every morning and every night, Vukovich tells his students. It's a habit, a routine, something we do every day. It’s not something we have to think much about, or come up with an excuse for avoiding. Exercise should be that way too, he says.

"It doesn’t mean you can’t take a day off," from exercising, he says, "but it’s easier to do if it’s something that’s ingrained in you, like brushing your teeth."

Set realistic goals. The bottom line is that if you don’t like your exercise program, you won’t stick with it. So instead of setting yourself up for failure with all sorts of requirements, set less lofty goals at first, if it means you can meet them, says Alexander.

Maybe tell yourself you’ll start out coming to the gym three times a week. If you manage a fourth time, that’s awesome. But if you say you’ll come six days a week and end up only coming three, you’ll feel negative instead of positive about what you did.

Get medical clearance. Never begin a new exercise regimen without getting the approval of your doctor. If you don’t even have an internist or family practitioner, says Alexander, "it is a great time to hunt one down."

Reviewed on October 19, 2006

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