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Designing an Exercise Program

Photo of a middle aged woman getting ready to serve a tennis ball

How to design an exercise program

Exercise is essential to maintaining your health and can also improve your overall sense of well-being. Even low-to-moderate intensity activities, for as little as 30 minutes a day, can be beneficial. These activities may include:

  • Pleasure walking

  • Climbing stairs

  • Gardening

  • Yard work

  • Moderate-to-heavy housework

  • Dancing

  • Home exercise

However, more vigorous aerobic activities, that you do three or four times a week for 30 to 60 minutes, are best for improving the fitness of your heart and lungs. Regular, aerobic activity increases your capacity for exercise and helps prevent  cardiovascular diseases and even certain cancers. Aerobic exercise may also help to lower blood pressure.

These activities may include:

  • Brisk walking

  • Running

  • Swimming

  • Playing tennis

  • Cycling

  • Roller skating

  • Jumping rope

Benefits from regular exercise or physical activity

According to the American Heart Association, the following are key benefits of physical activity:

  • Improves blood circulation throughout your body

  • Keeps your weight under control

  • Improves your blood cholesterol levels

  • Prevents and manages high blood pressure

  • Prevents bone loss

  • Boosts your energy level

  • Releases tension

  • Improves your ability to fall asleep quickly and sleep well

  • Improves your self-image

  • Helps manage stress

  • Counters anxiety and depression

  • Increases your enthusiasm and optimism

  • Increases your muscle strength

A daily exercise program can provide a way for you to share an activity with your family and friends, while helping you establish good heart-healthy habits. Daily exercise can help your child deter conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, poor cholesterol levels, and poor lifestyle habits that lead to heart attack and stroke later in life. If you are an older adult, daily physical activity can help delay or prevent chronic illnesses and diseases associated with aging, and help you maintain your quality of life and independence longer.

Last Reviewed Date: 01/28/2013
© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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