How To Choose A Good Exercise Video

This article discusses how to pick a good exercise video for those at all fitness levels.

With obesity on the rise in America, people by the millions are consulting diet books and looking for answers in exercise. One way they may choose to peel off the pounds is through an exercise video. What should an exerciser look for in a video?

First, the individual needs to determine his or her fitness level. Are we talking former gym rat who just wants an easy workout now and again, a daily walker who wants some variety, or a couch potato determined to reform? The answers will determine the kind of video to look for. Those with a high fitness level will want to search for high-impact, high-intensity workouts, usually rated "advanced." "High impact" means that there will be a lot of jumping and running, jogging in place. In other words, where both feet are off the ground. Very fit people usually have no trouble with this level.

Those at a moderate fitness level may want to go with a moderate/advanced level workout, with high and low-impact, and high intensity. "High intensity" is usually defined as a level of exercise that will keep the person in his target heart range for at least 20 minutes. Target heart range is what a person's heart rate should read for maximum fitness benefits. It is based on age. A person can either take a pulse midway through the workout, or buy a heart rate monitor that looks like a wristwatch and will probably have target heart rates on a chart in the package.

Couch potatoes need to be careful "" particularly very obese couch potatoes. These folks should look for low-impact videos rated for beginners. Some videos good for beginners are those that stress walking. For those who have complete range of motion and easy movement, videos are available that combine more dance steps with other low-impact exercises, but still maintain a higher intensity.

Some DVDs have several workouts on one disc, at various intensity/impact levels, and targeting a specific body area, as well. These videos are often best for those who are not certain about their fitness level, as well as allowing them to challenge themselves as they achieve a higher fitness level.

One great place to research exercise videos is on the Internet. Most Web sites that sell them have a ratings system where those who have used the videos can tell others what they think about them. These can be invaluable in choosing videos that are at the appropriate intensity level.

Another good source for exercise videos is on Internet auction sites. These sites usually offer videos in assortments, from people who have grown bored with them. Bidders can often name their price for a lot of videos that would cost them $100 from the store.

In the stores, exercise videos can run from $5-$20. It all depends on whether they are VHS or DVD and if they are by a well-known trainer. Some videos are just more expensive. Some also come in sets, which give an exerciser more options for a workout. Videos, in short, are available for whatever the person wants to spend. But bargains from auctions, used video stores and yard sales, are usually available, too.

An exerciser should also make sure he has enough room in front of the TV for the exercises. Kick-boxing, for example, requires quite a bit of room. Aerobics usually involve walking or marching up and back four steps, and four steps to the sides, so they do not require as much space.

Another key to look for is "cardio" versus "toning." A "cardio" focused video will be more aerobically-based, with a warm-up and cool-down, and perhaps some stretching and toning. These are usually best for those interested mostly in weight loss. A "toning" video will focus on stretches and exercises that zero in on one section of the body, such as the abs or lower body. These videos are likely to leave the exerciser sore and stiff the next morning, so be cautious when choosinga toning video.

This writer cannot recommend high-impact videos, but for those at a more modest fitness level, the "Sweatin' to the Oldies" series by fitness guru Richard Simmons are a good choice. Even if you don't like Simmons, the music is good and the moves are easily modified for those who do not have a great range of motion. These videos also show very large people among the dancers doing the moves, which may be motivational for some people.

There are hundreds of exercise videos on the market. When an exerciser keeps his fitness level in mind, does some research and chooses carefully, he is bound to find a few that will meet his fitness needs and will keep him motivated to exercise.

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