3 Things Every Fitness Program Needs

By at September 27, 2011 | 12:18 pm | Print

3 Things Every Fitness Program Needs

A complete and effective exercise program needs to include aerobic exercise, muscular endurance training and flexibility exercises.  Aerobic exercise does good things for you heart and blood vessels and is an important part of managing your weight.  Muscular endurance training will improve posture, reduce the risk for lower-back injuries and is also an important part of weight management. To maintain joint health, range of motion and reduce injury risks flexibility training is needed.

Any activity that uses large muscle groups in a continuous, rhythmic motion for a period of time counts as an aerobic exercise.  This includes walking, jogging, jumping rope, dance, bicycling, swimming and rowing (this is not a complete list).  One important factor in aerobic training is to keep the pace comfortable.  You do that by measuring the intensity of the exercise.  This is done by measuring heart rate.  Take pulse your pulse after your finish your activity for 10 seconds and multiply by 6 to get your one-minute heart rate.  If this number is between 60-85% of maximal heart rate (to figure maximal heart rate take 220 minus your age) (to figure if your heart is between 60-85% take the maximal heart rate you just figure and multiply by .6 and .85 – that is your heart rate range) you are doing good.  A less scientific way to figure intensity is the “talk test”.  You should be able to carry on a labored conversation during the activity.  As for how many times per week – it depends on your goals and fitness level.  It is recommended you get a minimum of 4 days per week.  How long again depends on your fitness level and goals but it is recommended that you work up to at least 30 minutes.

Strength training should include all major muscle groups.  Start with weights that are comfortable when completing 8 repetitions.  When that becomes too easy increase the repetitions up to 15 before you increase the weight.  All major muscle groups should be worked out a minimum of 2 sets of 12, 2 times per week.

Flexibility often gets overlooked as part of a complete fitness program.  Stretching should involve holding a stretch to the point of mild discomfort (not pain) for at least 30 seconds.  Always warm up the muscles before your stretch and all major muscle groups should be stretched a minimum of 3 times per week.

Always check with your physician before starting any fitness / exercise program.
Make the most of the day you are given.

Randy Bergman, PhD

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