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.
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
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.
Move at your own pace while you
enjoy some of these activities:
aerobic exercise classes (step
aerobics, kick boxing, high- or low-impact aerobics)
dancing (square dancing, salsa,
African dance, swing)
playing sports (tennis, basketball, soccer)
Build strong muscles and bones
with strengthening exercises. Try:
Lifting free weights or using
Using resistance bands.
Using stability or medicine
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