Exercise Basics

Recommendations
For basic health benefits, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends:

  • 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate physical activity a week, or
  • 75 minutes (1.25 hours) of vigorous physical activity a week, or
  • Any equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous-intensity activity.

As well as two or more days a week of muscle-strengthening activities that are moderate or high-intensity and involve all major muscle groups each week.

When it comes to weight management, people vary greatly in how much physical activity they need. For more extensive health benefits, you may need to increase your activity to:

  • 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate intensity, or
  • 150 minutes (2.5 hours) a week of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity, or
  • Any equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous-intensity activity.

As well as two or more days a week of muscle-strengthening activities that are moderate or high-intensity and involve all major muscle groups.

Exercise Components
A good weight loss program includes aerobic exercise, strength training, and stretching. Each type of exercise provides different benefits and is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.

  • Aerobic Exercise
  • Strength Training
  • Stretching

Taking a baseline fitness test will help you assess your current fitness level and provide a way to track your progress. A good fitness test can be found at the following link: Basic Fitness Test.

Keeping F.I.T.T.
If your exercise program isn't giving you the results you want, try using these FITT principles to add variety and to give you a more effective workout.

  • Frequency
    If you work out only every other day, you may want to increase your workouts to 5-6 days a week. Frequency is key to being healthy. Exercising most days of the week should become part of your routine.
  • Intensity
    As you become more fit, you will need to add intensity to your workouts to get the same results. This means lifting heaver weights in your strength training workouts or picking up speed, running hills or adding higher intensity moves to your cardio workouts.
  • Time
    This refers to the duration of your workout. If you are exercising 30 minutes a day and are not getting the results you want, increase your exercise time to 45 minutes. If your goal is to improve endurance or to lose weight, 45-60 minute workouts may be necessary.
  • Type
    There are endless options for exercising. Choose several types of exercise that you enjoy and switch them up on occasion to prevent burn out.

 

Tips For Beginners
When starting an exercise program, select a physical activity that you enjoy and that matches your current fitness level. If you aren't currently very active, start slowly and gradually increase your activity level as your fitness improves.

If you have a chronic health condition such as diabetes, heart disease, or arthritis, you will want to consult with your doctor before starting an exercise program. Together, you can come up with a physical activity plan that matches your abilities. Remember, even a little activity is better than no activity.


Additional Resources