Fourteen days seems like too short a time to get fit. And if “getting fit” means going from the Fat Albert look to six-pack abs and bounceable pectorals, two weeks isn’t enough time. But if getting fit means firming your muscles, lowering your heart rate and no longer feeling out of breath, this is easily achievable in a short time.
First Things First
See your doctor to ask if there’s any reason you can’t exercise regularly. Follow that advice.
Get some comfortable exercise clothing. Notice the word is “clothing,” not “outfit.” A special outfit isn’t necessary; just some clothes that won’t mind being sweaty. Make your body look good, not your clothes.
Choose an aerobics exercise. Running, swimming and walking are most effective. Walking is the simplest, but provides the least amount of aerobics benefit. Running is hardest on your joints. Buying a good pair of running shoes can minimize, but not eliminate, any damage. Swimming is easiest on your joints—as long as you do the right strokes, that is. Stick to a scissors kick: legs together, knees loose, legs churning back and forth. Spreading your legs out to each side, then bringing them back together—called a frog kick—will leave you with 70-year-old knees before you hit 30. Swimming also requires a pool.
Exercise twice a day, for at least 30 minutes each time, to get fit in two weeks, . Work out in a relaxed manner in the morning, but more aggressively in the evening.
Stretch your muscles and joints before each session to avoid injury. The most effective stretch begins in the “police pat down” posture: body leaned forward with hands on the counter and legs spread very widely behind. Stay like that for a count of 100. Put your legs together, and bring one knee forward, staying for a count of 50. Switch knees and count to 50 again. Stand up straight and lift your arms over your head and twist your body back and forth while lowering your arms. Repeat this at least once. Then start your aerobics routine.
Overcome the most difficult obstacle: the panicked feeling you get after 10 to 15 minutes of exercise. Your heart is racing, your breaths are shallow and desperate, your back starts to itch, and a little voice in your head begs to do anything besides exercising. Getting over this hump is the key to sticking with an exercise program. Make it past this, every time, and you’ll be successful.
Examine your body an hour after aerobics. Massage what’s sore and stretch out what’s stiff.
Tone your muscles with isometrics, not a weight-lifting machine. Concentrate on four muscle groups: thighs, arms, stomach and chest.
Lie on your back with your legs out, ankles together. Tighten the thigh muscle of one leg, then lift your heel and foot 2 inches up, then relax. Repeat this at least 10 times. Then the other leg. This will tone your front thigh.
Place a rolled towel under your knee. Use your leg muscles to flatten the towel, up and down, at least 10 times. This will tone the back of your thigh.
Sit up with your feet on the floor. Take a deep breath, and when the air reaches the bottom of your lungs, tighten your abdomen and chest. Hold the breath for 3 seconds, then release. Repeat 10 times.
Tighten and relax your arms at least 10 times, holding the tension for 2 seconds each time. Crumple up sheets of newspaper using only one hand. Repeat at least twice for each hand, if you can.