Exercise has been shown by doctors and researchers to be an important component of health and fitness. Whether you are interested in maintaining an ideal weight, lowering your blood pressure, reducing stress and depression, reducing your cholesterol levels, or working to maintain a strong heart, bones, and muscles, exercise has many potential benefits. When starting an exercise program, choose an activity that you are comfortable doing. Walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or any other activity that uses large muscle groups in a continuous movement is an excellent form of exercise.
Once you have decided on a type of exercise, there are a few things to keep in mind. Start out slowly. Stretching and flexibility exercises are recommended once you have walked 2-3 minutes. Do not try to do too much too soon. You should increase the length of time you exercise slowly. Start exercising 20 minutes per day, 3 days per week. If this feels like too much, exercise twice a day for 10 minutes each. A way to tell how hard you are working is by using the Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scale. Choose a number that matches how hard you feel you are working. Adjust your work level so your number stays between 11-15. Generally, you can exercise at an "11" all day. Most people can exercise at a 15 for about 30 minutes. Working at a 19 would be work that you could only sustain for about 20 to 30 seconds. Another way to measure how hard you are working is the talking vs. singing rule. You should be able to talk while you exercise but not sing. If you are able to sing, then you need to work harder. If you are unable to talk, then you are working too hard. You need to slow down. You can use these methods to determine if your intensity is appropriate:
Once you have started your exercise program, it is important that you maintain it. Once you feel comfortable with what you are doing and it gets easier, then try to increase your time and intensity. Work up to 30-40 minutes per session. Exercise 3 to 5 days per week. Maintain your appropriate intensity. You may be able to increase your intensity as the work gets easier. Use the RPE scale previously described, and stay between 11 and 15.Keep a log of your activity. It can be very rewarding to look back on your commitment to yourself.
Several factors can really affect how much work your heart has to do when you exercise. When exercising in any of the following situations, start slowly and adjust your intensity as needed:
DONT WAIT TO GET STARTED! THE SOONER YOU BECOME ACTIVE, THE BETTER YOU WILL FEEL.