Getting Started….Exercise

Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It not only makes you feel stronger and energized, but can help to control your weight, strengthen your bones and muscles and improve your mental health and mood. Some of its long term benefits include reduced risks of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.




Studies show health benefits for as little as 10 minutes of exercise that makes your heart beat fast, so it is good to do at least 10 minutes at a time. The main thing is to get started and keep it up. As you continue, hopefully you can increase how much you do, whether it is going for longer than 10 minutes or doing a couple of 10 minute stints.

There are a lot of ways to get the physical activity that you need! You’ll find a lot of creative ideas here, most at little or no cost. Look for something that you think you could do, and go for it!

So, read on…..and just get started!












A simple program that has worked well is 10,000 steps. The idea is to try and take 10,000 steps every day. That is a nice long-term goal, but to get started you want to see how many you are taking and try to keep increasing it. If you are taking 4,000 steps each day, shoot for 5,000. After you have kept that up for a while, try increasing it again. Take things in manageable size increments, and feel comfortable with what you are doing before trying to do more.


It would be really boring to actually count your steps each day, wouldn’t it? Fortunately, there are easy ways to do this. A pedometer will do the trick, and it’s easy to wear each day and let it do the math for you!



A pedometer senses your body motions and counts your footsteps. Wearing a pedometer and recording your daily steps is a great motivational tool. You can be wearing a pedometer all day long to record your total steps for the day or can wear it only during exercise. Pedometers come in all varieties, functions, shapes and even colors.  Beyond the count, pedometers can have additional features like distance walked, calories burned, ability to time and track specific workouts, stop watch, speed/pace estimate, alarm and pulse monitor.


A good review of pedometers can be found at


Stay away from the cheap ones, but there are some decent ones for $10 - $15. There are cheaper ones, but here are links to for 2 highly rated pedometers that cost around $20.

Omron HJ-112

Oregon Scientific PE823


There so many ways to increase the number of steps you take each day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk to shul. Take a 10-minute brisk walk as a break in your day. Park your car far away, instead of trying for the closest space. Schedule walks with your spouse or children for some uninterrupted one-on-one time. Take a walk with an MP3 player filled with a new audio book or Torah class (there are tons of free downloadable MP3 files of Torah classes on every subject, including Daf Yomi, Mishnah Brurah, Mishnayos, Tanach, Parenting, etc… ). Simple MP3 players are really cheap when all you need is audio. If you think you’re too old for an MP3 player, think again. Just ask a kid to show you how to use it and load audio onto your player.





Fitting regular physical activity may seem difficult initially due to busy work schedules and uncertainty of how to start up and from where.  The2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans helps you plan and reach your exercise goals with multiple types and duration of physical activities to choose from, without a need to enroll into a gym! Below is the link to 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Children (6-17 years), Adults (18-64 years) and older adults (65 years and older).  It also provides readymade exercise routine charts for those of you on the brim of starting up! Guidelines are great goals, but not many people may not be ready to do that much right away. It’s OK to start small and work your way up. Always strive for success and improvement, and the long-term goals will eventually become short-term goals and then ancient history as you move past them! Remember, every little bit is good for you (little bit = 10 minutes)!




It’s easy to work in exercise at home. This is great option for people who are home a lot, or just prefer to exercise in the convenience of their personal space. The links below provide a heads up on how to be ‘Home fit’ with instructions on specific doable exercise routines, and charged up home chores.

Top End Sports

Mayo Clinic


Many women like to do aerobics or dance exercises to videos. This is a huge market, with many choices from the absolute beginner to long-time enthusiast. There are even some by Orthodox women that have Jewish music and feature dance routines that fit within Orthodox concepts of modesty.  For example, check out Lakie Blech Dance Video.


Some other novel ways to incorporate exercise at home, even with minimal space – whether it is a small apartment or a house that feels small with all the toys filling up the space! Consider a personal mini-trampoline. It can increase your heart rate while you enjoy bouncing on it! has a long line of personal trampolines for sale!




Exercise need not be an elaborate routine after work. It can be as simple as few focussed movements of your body. Is it possible to be working out while sitting at your desk? Actually, there is a whole market for exercising while at your desk!


Under Desk Exercise: Get Fit While You Work – this article covers lots of products to help you exercise at work, and includes links to for purchase, but some are also available at Big Box stores.


7 Ways to Work Out at the Office – Very practical, concise article with easy ways to fit exercise into a typical day at the office.


Any physical activity is better than being in a complete idle state. Make ‘clever’ choices of walking up the stairs rather than taking an elevator; a run up to fourth floor can make up for a 10 minute aerobic workout for you, improving your concentration and creativity at work. Standing rather than sitting will burn more calories – how about a standing lunch or trading instant messaging, e-mails and phone calls for walks to other desks or offices?  Some people stand while working all day, and some even go so far as to have a treadmill instead of a chair and walk at a very slow pace while working! That may be a bit extreme for most of us, but with a little creativity, you’ll find that you can incorporate some exercise into your day in a way that works for you.


Regular fitness breaks for a gentle stretch or a walk around your block are great ways to prevent stiffness and pain often experienced as a result of prolonged inactive spells at your desk.

Check out this Powerpoint presentation on ‘office stretches’.


The following links provide you with more tips to work out at work. These are ready to use fitness handouts for the workplace. Very cool!



How to track your health (Health Tracker by; It requires you to sign up once and has a physical activity, food - log book to track what you eat and how much you exercise. The outcome/ report that it prepares based on the inputs is actually a good evaluative measure for the beginners. )


To get you started, calculate your BMI here. BMI is a gauge of obesity.  A BMI score between 25 and 30 is considered overweight, while a score over 30 is considered obese.  In the US right now, approximately 1/3 are overweight and another 1/3 are obese. So if you are in either category, you have entirely too much company! So don’t feel bad, get motivated! But remember, a person can be overweight and still be fit. For some people, genetics will be a very tough barrier to conquering overweight. So if you are exercising and trying to eat healthier and you are still overweight, remember that you are still getting lots of health benefit for your hard work.