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Rich Weil, MEd, CDE: Fall Into Fitness

How to get up and moving

Free Weights or Machines? continued...

So the basic order can be basic aerobic and then resistance exercise. Most people prefer that order because the muscles are warmer after aerobic activity and then the weight lifting or calisthenics feel better. But your body doesn't really care all that much, and if you prefer the resistance machines first, try it and see what feels most comfortable.

The most important thing is that you do something. Don't get locked into rules about what to do and in what order when those questions aren't as important as simply using the machines. So set a schedule, try it one way or another, and see what feels most comfortable for you, and I can assure you that you will get benefit, whether you do the treadmill first or the dumbbells or whatever equipment you have. Listen to your body, feel how it responds, and you will soon know what's the best for you.

Moderator: Before we wrap up for today, Rich, do you have any final comments for us?

Weil: The most important element of all of fitness is if you're not doing anything to get started slowly and realistically. The evidence is very clear that going from a couch potato to someone who walks three to five days per week for 30 minutes or does even less activity, is going to benefit tremendously. In fact, being a marathon runner and adding another type of exercise won't give that person as much benefit as the couch potato who simply gets started.

For people who are already going to the gym five, six, seven days per week, of course I encourage them to remain active, but try other activities, like hiking or a sport that maybe they've thought about but for whatever reason, didn't want to try, or long bike rides or walks with the family on the weekend. Get the family involved for an overall fitter lifestyle.

Finally, physical activity is a real key to health and well-being and I encourage everyone to do whatever they can to lead an active lifestyle.

Moderator: Thanks to Richard Weil, MEd, CDE, for sharing his fitness expertise with us. And thank you members for joining in the discussion. For more information, please visit Rich at his Exercise & Fitness message board.

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