Exercises for Sedentary People

by Nicki Howell

About Nicki Howell

Nicki Howell started her professional writing career in 2002, specializing in areas such as health, fitness and personal finance. She has been published at health care websites, such as HealthTree, and is a ghostwriter for a variety of small health care organizations. She earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Portland State University.

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About two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A sedentary lifestyle is a risk factor for weight gain. If you want to lose weight, a low-calorie diet and regular exercise will help you accomplish this goal. Combine strength training and cardio activity to burn calories and shed fat.

Moderate Activity

If you haven’t worked out recently, it’s best to start with moderate activity. Examples of moderate activity include biking on level ground or taking a brisk walk in your neighborhood. If you aren’t sure whether an activity is moderate, pay attention to your body. During moderate types of activity, you break a sweat but can still talk without taking a rest.

Interval Training

Increase strength and calorie burning with an interval training approach. This approach was once exclusively used by professional athletes, but it is now used by novice exercisers to build strength. Select two types of activities, one is moderate and the other is intense. Start with the moderate activity, such as walking, for a few minutes. Then, switch to a higher intensity activity, such as running. Continue to alternate between the two types of activities during your workout session. (see reference 5)

Strength-training Sessions

Strength-training has many benefits for sedentary people, including reduced risk of joint injury and osteoporosis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A sedentary person needs to start with two workout sessions weekly, targeting major muscle groups such as the hips, arms, legs, abs and back. As you get stronger, increase the frequency of your strength training sessions. You can strength-train daily. However, don’t work the same muscle group two days in a row. For example, if you work your abs and back on Monday, work the legs and chest on Tuesday. Then, you can work your abs and back again on Wednesday. (see references 1, 4)

Exercise Frequency

You need 150 minutes of moderate cardio activity weekly. This is about 30 minutes, five times a week. Or, if you have a difficult time scheduling 30 minute sessions, use mini-sessions. For example, plan a 10-minute brisk walk in the morning and a 20-minute brisk walk in the evening. You get the same benefit from mini-sessions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.