Starting a fitness program may be one of the best things you can do for your health. After all, physical activity can reduce your risk of chronic disease, improve your balance and coordination, help you lose weight, and even boost your self-esteem. And the benefits are yours for the taking, regardless of age, sex or physical ability.
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that healthy adults include aerobic exercise and strength training in their fitness plans, specifically:
- At least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week
- Strength training exercises at least twice a week
Regular exercise can help you control your weight, reduce your risk of heart disease, and strengthen your bones and muscles. But if you haven't exercised for some time and you have health concerns, you may want to talk to your doctor before starting a new fitness routine.
When you're designing your personal fitness program, consider your fitness goals. Think about your fitness likes and dislikes, and note your personal barriers to fitness. Then consider practical strategies for keeping your fitness program on track.
Starting a fitness program is an important decision, but it doesn't have to be an overwhelming one. By planning carefully and pacing yourself, you can make fitness a healthy habit that lasts a lifetime.
April 03, 2014
- 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.health.gov/PAGUIDELINES/guidelines/default.aspx. Accessed Dec. 27, 2013.
- Physical activity and health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/health/index.html. Accessed Jan. 13, 2014.
- Tips to help you get more active. Weight-control Information Network. http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/tips.htm. Accessed Jan. 13, 2014.
- Peterson DM. Overview of the benefits and risks of exercise. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 13, 2014.
- Information about flexibility. National Institute on Aging. http://go4life.nia.nih.gov/stay-active-flexibility-info. Accessed Jan. 14, 2014.
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- Laskowski ER (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 15, 2014.
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