The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Q: I get winded so easily, and donít start again after stopping to rest. How can I motivate myself when it seems I can do so little and have so far to go'

LK, Calcutta

Sometimes you have to take baby steps in order to get to the point where you can exercise for an extended period of time, such as 20-30 minutes. This is completely normal, and donít think that youíre being a failure by doing so. For example, when people plan to train for an event such as a marathon, they donít just get out there one day and run 26.2 miles. They take baby steps. Youíll be surprised how your body can adjust and work with you. So donít feel bad if you can only do five minutes of activity right now.

I promise that if you stick to it and aim every week to add on another minute, youíll be able to reach that goal. And sooner than you think, youíll be working out for those 20-30 minutes at a time, or even longer. So donít give up, because you can do this.

Q: I am 53 years old and 100 lbs over my goal weight. Are there any special precautions I should take while exercising'

BD, Haldia

You should always check with your physician prior to exercising, especially if you are 100 lbs over your ideal weight. There may be certain activities you should stay away from, and getting a regular checkup is a good idea for everyone, including a blood work-up, to check your cholesterol level and blood sugar. Also get your blood pressure measured to see at what level of activity you can actually perform. Going for a short walk, swimming and other such activities, are usually safe no matter what your size is. But if you have orthopaedic problems or a heart condition, youíll need to get instructions from your physician first.

Q: I am starting an exercise programme but I donít know if I should begin with cardio exercise or weight training. Which should I begin with'

LS, Bolpur

When youíre starting an exercise programme, both cardio and weight training are essential. Try and do some type of cardiovascular activity for 30 minutes most days of the week. If you canít do 30 minutes right now, donít worry ' do as much as you can, and eventually youíll be able to work your way up to working out for 30 minutes straight. Weight training should be done two to three times per week, but certainly not on consecutive days with the same muscle groups as your body needs a chance to rest and recuperate before you start again.

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