Have you started a new exercise regimen to help you get in shape in the new year? If you're not seeing the results you want, Oprah's fitness guru Bob Greene has a new DVD, "Total Body Makeover," that could help. The DVD offers tips on how to avoid common mistakes and exercise the correct way, to help you look and feel a lot better.
A lot of people believe that as long as they're getting some cardiovascular activity, they have a well-rounded exercise program. But Greene, whose latest book is "The Best Life Guide to Managing Diabetes," says there are actually three types of exercises everyone should be doing, and each type serves a specific purpose when performed properly.
Greene says the most common mistake people make when doing aerobic or cardiovascular exercises is not performing as intensely or vigorously as necessary.
The most common benchmark is using your heart rate, but Greene warns that's not accurate for most people who have trouble taking their own heart rate. Greene says a more accurate measure of the right level of intensity, unless you're told by a doctor to stay under a certain heart rate, is how you feel. Aim for a for 7 on a 10-point scale of exertion, which means you can still talk but you're not going to want to talk for very long.
The most common mistake people make in strength training is waiting too long between sets and allowing the body to rest too much. People complain that they don't have enough time at the gym or enough time to fit in strength training, but Greene says the truth is they'll do a set and then socialize or watch a TV show or distract themselves. You're only supposed to wait 20-30 seconds between sets. You can get a total body workout in less than 20 minutes if you do your sets as you should -- quickly.
Most people don't do any functional exercises (crunches, shrug rolls) at all. According to Greene, they're really the most important exerises of all when starting an exercise program, because they help prevent common injuries and improve your everyday fitness. That's always where he begins when working with new clients, because these are the exercises that are going to prevent them from injuring themselves. And these are exercises that should really be done every day and become a part of your life. They take five minutes. They're so simple and easy and quick, you can do them every day and not think about it.
These are the functional exercises Greene recommends for everyone, which he demonstrates in his DVD:
Heel raises to prevent shin splints
Shrug rolls to help correct posture
Crunches, performed properly, to help stabilize the body and prevent back injuries
Arm and leg lifts.
For a well-rounded fitness regimen, do your aerobic exercise a minimum of five days a week for at least 30 minutes at a brisk pace. Do strength training a minimum of three days a week with at least one exercise for each major muscle group. Do your functional exercises every day.
Exercise must become routine, like brushing your teeth. Don't negotiate with yourself as to whether to exercise or not -- just do it.
Morning exercisers are way more consistent with their workouts, and the results are better too. Get your workout done early!
Many people just go through the motions and punch the exercise time clock, Greene says. If you want results, you must challenge your body. You should never feel pain, but a little discomfort is good.