Exercise

Exercise

Finding the right exercise program and the
right preparation

To be fit, you don’t have to
exercise intensely for a long time. Experts agree that physical activity does not
necessarily have to be vigorous. They recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate,
continuous physical activity daily, or on most days of the week.

To achieve and maintain physical,
heart, and lung fitness, health professionals advise having a balanced fitness
program:

  • If you have an existing
    medical condition, or are just starting an exercise program, be sure to talk with
    your healthcare provider before starting an exercise program. Make sure
    the program that you choose is designed with your health and wellness in mind.

  • If you are just starting with
    an exercise program, start slowly. Gradually build up to 30 minutes a day.

  • Choose an activity that you
    will enjoy. You are more likely to continue exercising if you are doing something
    that you like.

  • At first, follow a program
    that includes moderate, not vigorous, physical activity. Start with 30 minutes a
    day. Add some variety to your fitness routine—not only in the fitness activity
    that you choose, but also in the time and setting. This helps to limit boredom
    with any single activity or location.

  • Be sure to start any exercise
    session with a proper warm-up and stretching exercises. This will help to avoid
    post-exercise soreness or injury.

  • Wear the proper clothing and
    shoes when exercising. Make sure your shoes have enough support for the activity.
    Also, be sure to dress right for the weather.

  • Just as warming up and
    stretching are important as you start each exercise session, so is a cool-down
    period at the end of your exercise activity. Include at least several minutes of
    stretching or walking to allow your heart rate to come down slowly.

Experts now recommend participating
in two types of physical activity each week. This can help to ensure aerobic health and
muscle strengthening. Muscle strengthening activities include lifting weights, using
resistance bands, and practicing yoga or Pilates. Do these exercises twice a week. They
should include the major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, chest, arms, shoulders, and
abdomen).