Monday, January 16, 2012

Don't Underdo It

So it's 2012 and you set a goal of exercising more.  Maybe you didn't read my last blog on how to set SMART goals, so you don't have a plan yet.  Where do you start?  How much should you do?

For most people you should begin with a visit to your doctor.  A physical by your physician can determine if you are healthy enough to begin a moderate to vigorous exercise program.

A sedentary lifestyle, diet, age, and hereditary factors all combine to determine your risk factors for heart disease.  27.1 million Americans currently have a diagnosis of heart disease.  You can't alter your age or hereditary factors, but diet and lifestyle changes can reduce your risk significantly.

The American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five times weekly or 20 minutes of vigorous activity three times weekly.  That's the "how much" for aerobic activity. 

Take a look at the list below.  Pick activities that you like or think you'll enjoy.  You'll be more likely to stick to your plan if it includes activities that are fun for you.  If you get bored or hit a plateau, mix it up and try something different.  You don't have to belong to a gym or health club to participate in the cardiovascular activities that will improve your health and fitness.

     Walking, leisurely cycling, hiking, aqua aerobics, and slow dancing are all usually considered moderate intensity activities.  Jogging, running, rowing, spinning, Zumba, ellipitical exercise, stair stepper, and swimming are generally considered vigorous activities.

Start slowly and build consistency.  A exercise buddy or fitness professional can help you stay accountable.  Start today and implement those goals you just set for yourself!

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