Try a Kinder, Gentler Workout
Aging Baby Boomers Fuel Hottest Exercise Trend
Finding a Balance continued...
If you have the Pilates or yoga bug, ask about class size: Fewer than six
students is best, she says. "You want some personal attention to ensure you
don't get into any bad habits."
Watch a class and ask about the instructor's credentials, McGee says. Levels
of education and skill among teachers vary widely. And definitely ask other gym
members for their opinion.
Complete beginners may also want to try a video, McGee says.
If you already belong to a gym and want to sign up for yoga or Pilates
classes, look for those that cater to beginners, she says: "There is a lot
to learn. Whether it's a breathing technique or a particular stretch, you
should give it time. If you start with an advanced class, you probably won't
like it and you may even injure yourself."
Similarly, don't just jump on the elliptical trainer and start pedaling
away, McGee says. "It's a little harder than a treadmill; more coordination
is needed. So you may want to ask an instructor for help or start out by
walking on a treadmill."
Mix It Up
Cooper suggests setting aside one or two days a week for yoga and/or
Pilates, and the others for your low-intensity aerobic activity. A varied
program will avoid muscle overuse, while alleviating boredom.
Whether you choose brisk walking or a spin on the recumbent bicycle for your
cardiovascular workout, a minimum of 30 minutes, three to five days a week, is
The right mix offers endless benefits, says Golden. "Before I started my
[low-impact program], I was in really bad shape. Now I have the movement I
always wanted. People tell me I look younger and I definitely feel healthier
than I have in years."
Originally published Aug. 12, 2003
Medically updated July 13, 2004.