Exercise is a must for good long-term health. Exercise has many benefits including improving cardiovascular health, muscle tone and burning fat.
One important thing to keep in mind is not to over do it. Exercise at your level of fitness. If you are just starting an exercise program or haven't exercised in longer than few days, you will need to start out slowly so you won't over stress your body. If you work out too hard, you risk injuries which will either keep you from exercising for a while or cause permanent damage.
For example, say you haven't exercised in a week or more and want start exercising again. You might have jogged and walked before, but doing that now is not a good idea, what you should do is start out just walking at a pace that is not sluggish or too uncomfortable. Work up to the level of exercise you did before, this could take about a week or more. Add a little more intensity or time to your workout as your level of fitness progresses.
The most important element of fitness and weight loss is building and maintaining lean muscle mass. Lifting weights a few days a week has many benefits.
You don't necessarily have to get big and bulky, you can simply become toned. You can workout with weights regularly without looking like a big body builder. Check out this article about weight training myths.
By building lean muscle mass, you increase your metabolism. We lose a pound of muscle every year after 25 and gain a pound of fat. By building and maintaing muscle you will prevent this and you will also fight against the long term effects of gravity on the body.
Building muscle is the best thing you can do for yourself. Visit this site for weight lifting tips.
If you want to continue making progress you must vary your workout. Do different activities throught the week rather than the same thing over and over.
Don't limit yourself to just one type of workout such as cardio. You will have much better results if you do cardio, weight training and stretching, for example, walking, weight lifting and yoga.
With weight training if you want to keep improving, you must increase the intensity. Push your muscles beyond their physical capacity until you cannot lift anymore. You should give yourself 48 hours between intense weight training sessions.
Workout in the morning on an empty stomach, this will force your body to burn fat stores instead of food you just ate. Or you can workout after a weight training session as your muscles will burn more fat.
On resting days, do low-intensity, light activities like yoga or tai chi.
How I Make Walking Fun
If you have trouble getting yourself to go on that daily walk, listen to music, it makes walking fun and time passes by so fast you wouldn't believe it.
If you do this, however, you must find a very safe place to walk, a place with little or no traffic where you don't have to cross any roads. If you're close to a street you should walk against traffic.
I've actually looked forward to these walks and I've done them way more often than I used to. I've also noticed that listening to music dramatically decreases the anxiety I used to always have when walking, I actually feel a little more empowered and confident, it really takes the edge off of my anxiety.