Finding an Exercise Program That Works for You

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Finding an Exercise Program That Works for You

Exercise does a body good, and it is vital to maintaining our health. No matter how well we eat or how many vitamins we take, our bodies need to get out and move. Joints need the lubrication that movement brings, and bones and muscles stay strong when put to good use. God designed us to lead mobile lives, not couch-potato existences where our muscles atrophy and sag.

They say that the road to fitness is paved with good intentions, but too many of us encounter potholes along the way. It is easy to lose our resolve, because the hardest thing about consistent exercise is being consistent about it. We’re too busy, we tell others. Sure, careers are in full bloom, and the kids are growing like weeds, but the last thing we should cross off the calendar is time reserved for exercise. If you’re thinking that you’ll get in shape next week, or next month, or next year, that way of thinking has to change. Choosing to go through your weekly routine with little or no exercise will result in a shortened life span and a lower quality of living.

I believe we should exercise, because God designed our bodies like finely tuned cars; if we never leave the garage, our batteries will die. But if we put our bodies through the paces, we add years to our lives- productive years that can be used to enjoy retirement or for spending time with loved ones. If you haven’t opened a gym door in years or if you have been lax about getting your body to sweat a bit, don’t let fear and intimidation prevent you from taking baby steps toward regular exercise. You don’t have to start by bench-pressing 350 pounds in a gym full of muscle-bound bodies. Moderate activities like stretching and walking do more than you think to strengthen your core and help you stay agile and resilient. If done with regularity, they can also lead to increased exercise. People of all different ages, shapes, and sizes are getting the exercise they need through a variety of outlets. The “ more is better” philosophy- one more plate on the weight machine, one more level on the stair climber, or one mile-per-hour faster on the treadmill, may not necessarily be the best approach for you.

If you don’t qualify for a workout of that caliber, you might consider practicing “functional fitness.” This kind of exercise does not promise quick weight-loss or bulked-up muscles. You may not have killer abs after a stint of functional fitness, but you’ll be in better condition to tackle life’s daily activities. The idea behind functional fitness is to train movements, not muscles, in order to improve your balance and build up your body’s core muscles. The best functional exercises to start with will be actions like squats, lunges, and different kinds of “reaching” exercises that mimic everyday activities. These forms of moderate activity will strengthen your bones and muscles and allow your joints to get the lubrication they need.

In functional fitness, the “no pain, no gain” theory is out; exercises that give you strength and balance to carry three bags of groceries on icy blacktop. Functional exercise focuses on building a body capable of doing real-life activities in real-life positions, and it can be done by virtually everyone, regardless of present fitness level. What’s more, the exercises can be performed in the privacy and comfort of your home any time you want. Using hand weights, an exercise video, or fitness program recommended by a doctor or other health professional, you can have a valuable workout without ever leaving your house.

Whichever method you choose, consistency is the key. When we exercise regularly, we are much less likely to injure ourselves, and we will be in better condition to tackle life’s daily activities.

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