Starting An Exercise Program
- Start slowly.
Your body needs
time to get used to your new activity.
- Warm up.
Warm-ups get your body ready for action. Shrug
your shoulders, tap your toes, swing your arms, or march in place. You
should spend a few minutes warming up for any activity—even walking.
- Cool down.
Slow down little by little. If you have been
walking fast, walk slower to cool down. Or stretch for a few minutes.
Cooling down may protect your heart, relax your muscles, and keep you
from getting hurt.
- Set goals.
Set short-term and long-term goals. A short-term
goal may be to walk 5 minutes at least 3 days for 1 week. A long-term
goal may be to walk 30 minutes most days of the week by the end of 6
- Track progress.
Keep a journal
of your activity. You may not feel like you are making progress but when
you look back at where you started, you may be pleasantly
- Fit activity into your daily life.
Plan ahead and
try to be active when it works best for you.
- Get support.
Get a family
member or friend to be active with you. It may be more fun, and an
exercise buddy can cheer you on.
- Have fun!
Try different activities to find the ones you
See your health care provider before
starting any exercise program.
You should see your doctor if:
—you have not been active for years
—you are active now and are changing from a moderate to a more
—you have diabetes, heart disease, or high blood
—you have arthritis or an injury (like a knee
Be more active
If you are physically active for 30 minutes at least three
times a week,
strive for 30 minutes at least 5 days a week.
Moderate activities to try
• washing and waxing your car
for 45-60 minutes
• bicycling 5 miles in 30 minutes
• dancing fast for 30 minutes
•pushing a stroller 11/2 miles in 30 minutes.
More vigorous activities to
• walking the stairs for 15
• running 11/2 miles in 15 minutes
• walking 2 miles in 30 minutes
• playing basketball (or another game) for 15–20 minutes
• jumping rope for 15 minutes.
Exercises for Weight Control
and for Obesity
Drink plenty of
helps every cell and organ in your body work. It cushions your joints,
improves your bowel patterns, and keeps your body cool.
exercising right away if you:
- have pain or pressure in the left-chest or mid-chest area—or
left neck, shoulder, or arm
- feel dizzy or sick
- break out in a cold sweat
- have muscle cramps
- feel pain in your joints, feet, ankles, or legs. You could hurt
yourself if you ignore the pain.
down if out of breath. You should be able to talk while exercising
without gasping for breath.
lots of water before, during, and after exercise (even water workouts)
to replace the water you lose by sweating.
not do hard exercise for 2 hours after a big meal (but a 5- to 10-minute
walk is OK). If you eat small meals, you can exercise more often.
the right clothes:
- Wear lightweight, loose-fitting tops so you can move
- Women should wear a good support bra.
- Wear supportive athletic shoes for weight-bearing
- Wear clothes made of fabrics that absorb sweat and remove it
from your skin.
- Never wear rubber or plastic suits. These could hold the sweat
on your skin and make your body overheat.
- Wear a knit hat to keep you warm when you exercise outdoors in
cold weather. Wear a baseball cap in hot weather to help keep you
- Wear sunscreen when you exercise outdoors. Cover all areas of
exposed skin whenever outdoors.
Source: National Institutes of
Next Topic: Walking (weight bearing)
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