In addition to aerobic activity and strength training, you may wish to include other forms of exercise in your physical activity program. Alternatives to traditional exercise provide variety and fun. They may also help reduce stress, increase muscular strength and flexibility, and increase energy levels. Examples of these exercises include yoga, Pilates, and tai chi.

Tips for a Safe and Successful Physical Activity Program

  • Check with your health care provider. If you have a chronic health problem, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure, ask your health care provider about what type and amount of physical activity is right for you.

  • Start slowly. Incorporate more physical activity into your daily routine and gradually work up to 30 minutes per day to improve health, 60 minutes per day to lose weight, or 60 to 90 minutes per day to manage weight.

  • Set goals. Set both short-term and long-term goals to keep motivated.

  • Set rewards. Celebrate every success—you earned it!

  • Track progress. Keep an activity log to track your progress. Note when you worked out, what activity you did, how long you did the activity, and how you felt during your workout. Also, record the days that you did not workout and what may have caused you to change your routine.

  • Think variety. Choose a variety of physical activities to help you meet your goals, prevent boredom, and keep your mind and body challenged.

  • Be comfortable. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes that are appropriate to the activity you will be doing.

  • Listen to your body. Stop exercising and consult your health care provider if you experience chest discomfort or pain, dizziness, severe headache, or other unusual symptoms while you work out. If pain does not go away, get medical help right away. If you are feeling fatigued or sick, take time off from your routine to rest. You can ease back into your program when you start feeling better.

  • Eat nutritious foods. Choose a variety of nutritious foods every day. Remember that your health and weight depend on both your eating plan and physical activity level. Healthful foods will give you the energy you need to be active.

  • Get support. Encourage your family and friends to support you and join you in your activity. Form walking groups with coworkers, play with your children outside, or take a dance class with friends.

Keep Moving!

Move at your own pace while you enjoy some of these activities:

  • brisk walking

  • jogging

  • bicycling

  • swimming

  • aerobic exercise classes (step aerobics, kick boxing, high- or low-impact aerobics)

  • dancing (square dancing, salsa, African dance, swing)

  • playing sports (tennis, basketball, soccer)


Get Strong!

Build strong muscles and bones with strengthening exercises. Try:

  • Lifting free weights or using weight machines.

  • Using resistance bands.

  • Using stability or medicine balls.

  • Doing push-ups and abdominal crunches.

Regular physical activity may help you feel and move better. Whether your goal is to achieve and maintain a healthy weight or improve your health, becoming physically active is a step in the right direction. It is never too early or too late to make physical activity a part of your life!

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Originally published by the NIDDK










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