Exercise is one of the most important pillars of good health. It is important to get a doctor’s clearance before beginning any exercise program. Most physicians will agree that gentle stretching followed by 30-40 minutes of exercise three to four times per week will optimize your fitness.

Being fit increases your muscle bulk and increases your metabolic rate, which means that you will burn more fat even at rest. Cardiovascular exercise such as walking, jogging, swimming, tennis, jumping rope, and any other form of fun activity improves your heart health and burns calories.

Activities that stretch and tone your muscles such as Pilates and Yoga most definitely count as exercise. Although these require a bit more of a time and money investment, the benefits will far outweigh the costs.

Celebrity fitness trainer Erin Opera spoke to Wassila Ayoub about how to get the most benefit from your exercise time. She also gave us some tips about the best types of exercises to speed up your metabolism.

What are the benefits of exercise? 
When it comes to strength training, the entire body can increase its muscle mass, which raises metabolism. Having a strong body aesthetically looks better and is more functional.

What are some of the must-have equipment for working out? 
A yoga mat, foam roller, 3 levels of dumbbells, a soft medicine ball, and three levels of resistance bands for upper body work.

How does a person know if he/she has reached maximum intensity? 
The muscle group you are working should be burning by your 10th repetition. Your workouts should feel like you are challenging yourself strength wise and keeping a pace that feels like a 7-8 on a scale of 1-10. You should feel a bit out of breath.

What are some basic exercises you would suggest for the average person?
Body weight training, planks, reverse lunges, hyperextensions, push-ups, and pull ups.

What are some of the steps you need to take at the beginning of an exercise program?
Ask yourself where you enjoy training the most? Inside? Outside? Privately? in a group? What motivates you? Do you need a partner for accountability or motivation? What are your physical limitations? Talk to your doctor about it. This should give you a good place to start. Find an expert or trainer (or online apps and YouTube experts) and their guidance in a program that is right for you.  

What are some of the tips you use to help motivate your clients exercise regularly? 
Here's a secret: you will feel better when you train. When you combine rolling out, strength training and excellent form, your body feels stronger, more upright and leaner.

Tell me a little about your book “Your Perfect Fit” 
It's the first book to marry fashion and fitness-it's called "Your Prefect Fit," and it focuses on showcasing your assets and toning your trouble sports. It also has my detailed food plan.

What is the essential thing to keep in mind about working out when starting an exercise routine?
Make short-term goals every two weeks whether it’s more walking, adding a day of strength training, etc. But remember, the goal is the long term health and strength.