What you should know to design a safe and effective exercise program
A complete fitness program must include aerobic exercise, muscular
strength and endurance conditioning, and flexibility exercise. Aerobic
exercise does good things for your cardiovascular system and is
an important part of weight management. Muscular conditioning can
improve strength and posture, reduce the risk of lower back injury,
and is also an important component of a weight management program.
Flexibility exercise is needed to maintain joint range of motion
and reduce the risk of injury and muscle soreness.
Aerobic exercise can be as simple as walking
Walking is a weight-bearing aerobic exercise. So are jogging, rope
skipping and dance-exercise. Aerobic exercise is any activity that
uses large muscle groups in a continuous, rhythmic fashion for sustained
periods of time. There are also non-weight-bearing aerobic exercises,
such as bicycling, stationary cycling, swimming and rowing.
the pace comfortable.
very important aspect of your exercise program is the intensity.
You should exercise at a comfortable pace. You can measure your
exercise heart rate to check the intensity of your exercising, or
you can take the 'talk test.'
measure your heart rate, take your pulse as soon as you stop exercising.
Count your heartbeat for 10 seconds, then multiply that by six to
convert it to a one-minute heart rate. If you keep your exercise
heart rate within a range of 55 percent to 80 percent of an estimated
maximum heart rate (220 minus your age), you're doing well.
talk test is easier to accomplish. Just exercise at a pace that
allows you to carry on a conversation while you're exercising.
often should you exercise?
Three to four days of aerobic activity is fine for general
health maintenance. If you're trying to lose weight, aim for four
or more days a week, being sure you take off at least one day a
long should you exercise?
Work up to 20 or more minutes per session for general
health maintenance. For weight loss, gradually work up to 45 minutes
or longer at low to moderate intensities in a low- or no-impact
Strength conditioning gives you a choice
Pick calisthenics, free weights or machines. Just be sure that your
strength training includes exercises for every major muscle group,
including the muscles of the arms, chest, back, stomach, hips and
with a weight that's comfortable to handle and keep it up for eight
repetitions. Gradually add more repetitions until you can complete
12 repetitions. For greater strength conditioning, add more weight
and/or more repetitions, in sets of eight to 12, when the exercise
Proper stretching involves holding a mild stretch of 10 to 30 seconds
while you breathe normally. Always warm up before you stretch. Like
strength conditioning, flexibility exercises should include stretching
for all the major muscle groups.
last thing to remember . . .
check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program, especially
if you're over 40, or have cardiovascular risk factors, such as
smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or a family
history of heart disease.
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