Regular exercise produces a mental attitude of self-care and self-esteem that bolsters confidence and the desire to continue to improve.
Lower risk of:
*Coronary heart disease
*High blood pressure
*High cholesterol or triglycerides
*Type 2 diabetes
* Colon cancer
* Breast cancer
*Prevention of weight gain
*Weight loss, particularly when combined with reduced calorie intake
*Improved cardio respiratory (aerobic) fitness and muscular strength
*Prevention of falls
Keeps muscles strong and body toned
Causes your body to create more brain cells
Helps develop compliance and adherence
“If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.” – Hippocrates
- Record your pulse rate before and after you walk 1 mile (1.6 kilometers)
- How long it takes you to walk 1 mile (1.6 kilometers)
- How many push-ups you can do at a time
- How far you can reach forward while seated on the floor with your legs in front of you
- Your waist circumference as measured around your bare abdomen just above your hipbone
- Your body mass index
Step 2: Design your fitness program
- Consider your fitness goals. Are you starting a fitness program to help lose weight? Are you preparing for a marathon? Having clear goals can help you gauge your progress.
- Create a balanced routine. Most adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity — or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity — a week.
- Go at your own pace. If you’re just beginning to exercise, start cautiously and progress slowly. If you have an injury or a medical condition, consult your doctor or a physical therapist for help designing a fitness program that gradually improves your range of motion, strength and endurance.
- Build activity into your daily routine. Plan to watch your favorite show while walking on the treadmill, or read while riding a stationary bike.
- Plan to include different activities. Different activities (cross-training) can keep exercise boredom at bay. Cross-training also reduces your chances of injuring or overusing one specific muscle or joint.
- Allow time for recovery.
- Put it on paper. A written plan may encourage you to stay on track.
- Start slowly and build up gradually. Walking or gentle stretching. Speed up to a pace you can continue for five to 10 minutes without getting overly tired. As your stamina improves, gradually increase the amount of time you exercise. Work your way up to 30 to 60 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
- Break things up if you have to. You don’t have to do all your exercise at one time. Shorter but more-frequent sessions have aerobic benefits, too. Fifteen minutes of exercise a couple of times a day may fit into your schedule better than a single 30-minute session.
- Be creative. Maybe your workout routine includes various activities, such as walking, bicycling or rowing. But don’t stop there. Take a weekend hike with your family or spend an evening ballroom dancing.
- 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.
Step 4: Monitor your progress
Retake your personal fitness assessment six weeks after you start your program and then again every three to six months. If you lose motivation, set new goals or try a new activity. Exercising with a friend or taking a class at a fitness center may help, too. Starting an exercise program is an important decision. But it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming one. By planning carefully and pacing yourself, you can establish a healthy habit that lasts a lifetime.
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