By   February 13, 2011

If you have always wanted to be in better shape, but aren’t sure about the practical ways that you can start that process or make it a part of your daily life, then this article will give you a lot of great ideas on how to make that a reality.

Walking is a great exercise. Walking is easy to do almost anywhere and most anyone can do it. Walking will help raise your metabolism. It also helps to lower blood pressure and pulse rate. Walking is also great to strengthen your muscles and help you to lose excess body fat.

Increase the effectiveness of your walking workout. Bend your elbows at a 90 degree angle and pump your arms with every step you take. This encourages you to walk faster, increases your heart rate, and can burn 15% more calories than if you keep your arms by your side. Try to walk for at least 30 minutes a day, and you will see the results in no time.

Fit in some stretching exercises when you are sitting at your desk at work. It is not good for your body when you sit at your desk for hours without getting up. Every 60 to 90 minutes, if you can get up and stretch for five minutes, you can increase the circulation in your muscles and prevent muscle cramps.

Are you looking to speed up your run? To increase the speed of your running time, make your actual running strides quicker instead of making your strides bigger. This will shave time off of your run. Push off with the toes of your trailing leg to get you going.

Swimming is a great way to stay in shape. Swimming burns calories, builds lean muscle and cardiovascular stamina but isn’t hard on your joints like impact sports (such as running or cycling). If you don’t have your own pool, some gyms offer indoor and outdoor pools or you can join a community pool.

If you are looking for a fun and new method of working out, try kickboxing. Kickboxing is an intense workout, and fun as well. You will burn a lot of calories during this workout, and you will also gain a lot of strength.

When you are planning your gym regimen, make sure that you include cardio as often as possible. An hour on the treadmill will not only help you to tone your body, but can reduce the excess fat that you have on your stomach, arms and legs. This will go a long way to improving your appearance.

A great fitness tip is to start performing alternating dumbbell curls. Dumbbell curls can be difficult when you try to lift with both arms at the same time. By alternating each arm for every rep, you’ll be able to lift much more weight and also do more reps.

Dribble a basketball in heavy gloves. Doing this will allow you to learn other methods of hand control, since you cannot feel the ball. Famous basketball stars credit this method with helping them learn hand control, and studies show that it really does help. Get some thick gloves and dribble away!

Run with fully inflated lungs to help with endurance and speed. Your legs, as well as the rest of your body, need the maximum amount of oxygen they can get, especially when you are exercising. Make sure that you are pulling enough air into your lungs to make your belly push out.

Treat your shoes like milk. Milk expires, and so do shoes. They lose their spring, the cushions, and the soles of the feet wear down. They may get uncomfortable and cause blisters. Set a date for when you believe your shoes will “expire”, and prepare to buy new ones around that time.

You should avoid sit-ups and crunches in positions which anchor your feet. There is a vast array of variations on these basic ab exercises, and not all of them are created equal. When you anchor your feet to exercise your abs you are placing undue stress on your lower back. This reduces the effectiveness of the exercise and puts you at risk of injury.

Chart all of the exercises that you do on a spreadsheet, if you are looking to maximize your results. This will give you a clear picture of what you have done and the work that you have left to do. Seeing your workouts on paper can help to increase your motivation.

Focus on your workout. As long as you are making the time for fitness, make the most of your time by really focusing on your workout. If you are going at a pace at which you can comfortably chat on the phone or read a book, you are cheating yourself out of results. Really push yourself during your workout and save the leisure activities for later.

A light workout on the day after a heavy one will improve overall fitness. Over-exercising is poor fitness practice, but a very short, very gentle routine following a harder workout is beneficial. It improves blood and oxygen flow to the muscles that are recovering from the prior hard workout. This speeds the recovery process and improves overall results.

Make sure that in the initial stages of planning your fitness routine to level off your expectations. If you set your goals too high, you will be putting yourself in a position for a letdown, which could reduce the motivation that you have and curtail the goals that you want to achieve.

Exercise is great for seniors. Exercising as an older adult will help to maintain or lose weight. As we age, our metabolism slows down. So maintaining a healthy weight can become challenging. Exercising helps to increase metabolism and build muscle mass, thus helping to burn more calories and get to or maintain a healthy weight.

Now, after taking in the above information, you should be aware of lots of different fitness regimens you can do right now to help you get into better shape. Remember, fitness is not just about the big efforts, it’s about the little wins too that get you excited day after day. Begin today to increase your fitness level.