Fitness basics

Starting a fitness programme may be one of the healthiest things you can do. Physical activity, after all, can lower your risk of chronic disease, enhance your balance and coordination, aid in weight loss, and even raise your self-esteem. And you may enjoy these advantages regardless of your age, gender, or athletic ability.

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends the following exercise guidelines for most healthy individuals.

  • Aerobic exercise. Get at 150 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise or 75 minutes of strenuous aerobic activity every week, or an equal combination of the two. The instructions recommend spreading out this activity over the period of a week. At least 300 minutes per week is advised to give even higher health benefits and to aid in weight reduction or maintenance of weight loss. However, even minor quantities of physical activity are beneficial. Being physically active for small amounts of time throughout the day can give health advantages.
  • Strengthening exercises. At least twice a week, perform strength training exercises for all major muscle groups. Aim for one set of each exercise with a weight or resistance level hard enough to exhaust your muscles after 12 to 15 repetitions.

Exercise on a regular basis can help you lose weight, lower your risk of heart disease and some cancers, and strengthen your bones and muscles. However, if you haven’t exercised in a while and have health issues, you should consult your doctor before beginning a new fitness plan.


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