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Exercise: The Right Program and the Right Preparation

Photo of woman's muscular arm

You do not have to exercise intensely for long periods of time to be physically fit. Experts agree that physical activity does not necessarily have to be vigorous. They recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate, uninterrupted physical activity daily, or on most days of the week.

To achieve and keep physical and cardiovascular fitness, health professionals advise following a balanced fitness program. This program should include the following:

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

  • If you are just starting with an exercise program, take it 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.

  • In the beginning, follow a program that includes moderate, not vigorous, physical activity. Start off with 30 minutes a day. Add some variety in your fitness routine. Variety does not only apply to the fitness activity that you choose, but also to the time and setting. This helps to eliminate boredom with any 1 activity or location.

  • Be sure to start off any workout or exercise session with proper warmup and stretching exercises. This will help to avoid injury or soreness after exercising.

  • Wear the right clothing for exercising. This includes shoes with proper support for the activity. Also, be sure to dress appropriately for the weather.

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

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Experts now recommend participating in 2 types of physical activity each week to achieve aerobic health and muscle strengthening. Muscle strengthening activities include lifting weights, using resistance bands, yoga, or Pilates. Such exercises should be performed twice a week. They should include the major muscle groups. These are legs, hips, back, chest, arms, shoulders, and stomach.

Last Reviewed Date: 05/09/2015
© 2000-2015 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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