Finding the right exercise program and the right preparation

Physical activity is an important action that people can do to improve their health. Experts advise getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity, aerobic physical activity every week for major health benefits.

Health professionals advise having a balanced fitness program:

  • If you have an existing health condition or are just starting an exercise program, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider first. Make sure the program that you choose is designed with your health and wellness in mind.

  • If you are just starting with an exercise program, start slowly. Gradually build up to 30 minutes a day, most days of the week.

  • Choose an activity that you will enjoy. You are more likely to continue exercising if you are doing something that you like.

  • At first, follow a program that includes moderate, not vigorous, physical activity. Start with 30 minutes a day. Add some variety to your fitness routine—not only in the fitness activity that you choose but also in the time and setting. This helps to limit boredom with any single activity or location.

  • Be sure to start any exercise session with a proper warm-up and stretching exercises. Doing so will help limit post-exercise soreness or injury.

  • Wear the proper clothing and shoes when exercising. Make sure your shoes have enough support for the activity. Also, be sure to dress right for the weather.

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

Experts now advise participating in two types of physical activity each week. This can help to ensure aerobic health and muscle strengthening. Muscle strengthening activities include lifting weights, using resistance bands, and practicing yoga or Pilates. Do these exercises twice a week. They should include the major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, chest, arms, shoulders, and abdomen).

Online Medical Reviewer: Dan Brennan MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Turley Jr PA-C
Online Medical Reviewer: Stacey Wojcik MBA BSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 8/1/2023
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