Starting an Exercise Program

 

 Starting an exercise program may seem like a daunting task for those who have not been involved in sports or who have had a sedentary existence.  Most adults 18 -65 would do well to remember that their main goal is to boost their health by meeting the basic physical activity recommendations of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association (AHA).    The basic recommendations from ACSM and AHA for adults 18 – 65 from ACSM and AHA are:

 

              Do moderately intense cardiovascular exercise 30 minutes a day, five days a week.

                                                                          Or

              Do vigorously intense cardiovascular exercise 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week.

                                                                          And

              Do 8 to 10 strength-training exercises, 8 to 12 repetitions of each exercise twice a week.

Moderate-intensity physical activity means working hard enough to raise your heart and respiratory rates and to break a sweat, yet still being able to carry on a conversation.  Aerobic exercise or activity whether moderate- or intense, is in addition to the routine activities of daily living that are of light intensity.  However, moderate- or vigorous-intensity activities performed as a part of daily life such as walking to work, gardening, carpentry, and house cleaning that are performed in bouts of 10 minutes or more can be counted towards the recommendation. It should be noted that the recommendations listed above represent a minimum requirement according to the ACSM and AHA experts.  To lose weight or maintain weight loss, 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity may be necessary.  The 30- minute recommendation is for the average healthy adult to maintain health and reduce the risk for chronic disease.  Older adults or adults with chronic conditions should develop an activity plan with a health professional to manage risks and take therapeutic needs into account.

Exercise objective of adults over the age of 65 are essentially the same as those for adults under 65 that are give above.  The exceptions are that the over 65 group should do 10 strength-training exercises, 10-15 repetitions for each exercise twice to three times per week.

Because flexibility is important in promoting the ease of performing everyday activities it is recommended that with each day of aerobic activity people in this age group should add 10 minutes to stretch the major muscle groups. Do each stretch for 10 – 30 seconds and repeat each one 2 or 3 times.