Everyone Needs Exercise
“If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always got.”
— W. L. Bateman
What is the best form of exercise?
The one you will continue to do!
Exercise has many great benefits, it can:
- Improve your mood
- Strengthen your heart and lungs
- Help combat chronic diseases (ex. osteoporosis)
- Promote better sleep
- Exercise can even put the spark back into your sex life!
For the greatest overall health benefits, experts recommend that you do 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic activity three or more times a week and some type of muscle strengthening activity and stretching at least twice a week. However, if you are unable to do this level of activity, you can gain substantial health benefits by accumulating 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity a day, at least five times a week.1
With your doctor’s approval to exercise, physical activity can reduce your risk of chronic disease, improve your balance and coordination, help you lose weight — even improve your sleep habits and self-esteem.
Design your individual fitness program
It is easy to say that you’ll exercise every day. But you’ll need a plan — and no one plan is perfect for everyone. As you design your fitness program, keep these tips in mind:
Consider your fitness goals:
What is your motivation for getting in better shape? Are you preparing for a race such as a 5K? Having clear goals can help you gauge your progress.
What do you enjoy doing?
Choose activities you’ll enjoy. If you have fun doing the exercises you’ve selected, you’re more likely to keep doing them.
If you have an injury or a medical condition
Consult your doctor or a physical therapist for designing a fitness program that gradually improves your range of motion, strength and endurance.
Build activity into your daily routine:
Finding time to exercise can be a challenge. To make it easier, schedule time to exercise as you would any other appointment. Plan to watch your favorite show while walking on the treadmill, or read while riding a stationary bike.
There are many ways you can increase daily physical activity in addition to your regular exercise program. All types of activity add to your health.1
- Use the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible.
- Take your groceries to the car yourself and return the shopping cart to the front entrance of the store.
- Park at the far end of parking lots and walk to your destination.
- Clean! Clean! Clean!
- During television commercials, stand up and stretch or walk around.
- Dance to your favorite music.
- Walk the dog.
- Use a push mower instead of a power mower or a riding mower.
- Wash your car yourself instead of taking it to an automatic car wash.
- At work, walk to a co-worker’s office to talk instead of calling or writing a memo.
It isn’t important how much you did, it is important that you simply did something.
Allow time for recovery:
Many people start exercising with frenzied zeal — working out too long or too intensely — and give up when their muscles and joints become sore or injured. Plan time between sessions for your body to rest and recover.
Tell a friend & also write your plan down: A written plan may encourage you to stay on track. Make sure this friend will support and encourage your fitness goals.
Now you’re ready for action.
Start slowly and build up gradually. Give yourself plenty of time to warm up and cool down with easy walking or gentle stretching. Then speed up to a pace you can continue for five to 10 minutes without getting overly tired. If you can’t carry on a conversation while you exercise, you’re probably pushing too hard. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
Listen to your body. If you feel pain, shortness of breath, dizziness or nausea, take a break. You may be pushing yourself too hard.
Be flexible. If you’re not feeling good, give yourself permission to take a day, or two, off.
Getting Started with Exercise
Most people can safely start a program of moderate intensity exercise such as brisk walking. But first, take a few minutes to complete the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire. If you answer “yes” to one or more of these questions, check with your doctor about the type of activity that is right for you before becoming more active. Tell your doctor about the quiz and the questions you answered “yes.” If you answer “no” to all seven questions, you can be reasonably sure it is safe for you to become more physically active. Begin your exercise program slowly and build up gradually.1
There are some basic guidelines you should follow when exercising to improve your health and fitness.
- Exercise only if you are feeling well.
- Do not try to exercise through a cold, flu, fever or other illness.
- Wait until you are feeling better before exercising again.
- Exercise should help you feel more energetic throughout the day. You may feel tired when you finish your exercise session, but if you are still tired more than two hours after exercise, slow down your pace.
Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire1
- Has your doctor ever said that you have a heart condition and that you should only do physical activity recommended by a doctor?
- Do you feel pain in your chest when you do physical activity?
- In the past month, have you had chest pain when you were not doing physical activity?
- Do you lose your balance because of dizziness or do you ever lose consciousness (other than normal sleep)?
- Do you have a bone or joint problem that could be made worse by a change in your physical activity?
- Is your doctor currently prescribing drugs for your blood pressure or heart condition?
- Do you know of any other reason why you should not do physical activity?
If you answered yes to even one question, talk with your doctor before increasing your level of exercise.
Develop a Plan:
Not knowing where to start is often the most significant roadblock that keeps people from exercising. However, with the right information in hand; you can get started, know where you are going, and enjoy the ride to your success.
Planning ahead- what is your overall goal? Here are my goals for the next 60 days. (Make these goals challenging, but within your capabilities! You should be excited by them, but not overwhelmed!)
Start incrementally, increase gradually
When it comes to exercise, more is not always better. If you want to be successful with your fitness program and want to feel good both during and after your exercise, then you will need to start slow, listen to your body, and increase gradually! Before you start strength training, you should be checked out by your doctor to make sure it’s safe for you to lift weights and do cardio exercises.
A healthy lifestyle consists of cardio workouts, strength-training exercises, & a healthy diet!1
How to measure your heart rate:
When you exercise, your body speeds up, and so does your heart as it works to meet your increased energy needs.
Ideally, your exercise target heart rate should range from 60% to 80% of your maximum heart rate, which is normally calculated as 220 minus your age (for example, for a 40-year old, the answer would be 180 beats per minute). If you want to improve stamina and performance, your maximum heart rate should range from 60% to 80% of this number. Multiply your maximum heart rate by .06 and .08 to get the correct range (108 to 144 for a 40-year-old).1
(1) AIPM. 2007. Benefits of Exercise. retrieved May 9, 2009 from http://healthylife.com/search.asp?zoom_query=exercise/nutrition