Why Get Fit?
- Although the case for physical fitness has been clearly established by scientific evidence, many people hold on to their sedentary lifestyle. Physically active people lower their risk of dying from and developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers, yet only three in 10 Americans get the amount of physical activity that's recommended to prevent illness and improve their quality of life.
- According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, healthy adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week to obtain the full health benefits of exercise. Examples of aerobic activities are yard work, walking, running, dancing, swimming, and biking. A combination of moderate and vigorous activities can be performed in varied mixtures, as long as the time spent per week totals the recommended amount. Each session should last at least 10 minutes. The total amount of time spent in these brief sessions should also equal the recommended 2 hours and 30 minutes per week.
- Muscle strengthening exercises like weightlifting, working with resistance bands, or calisthenics should be done at moderate to high intensity levels at least two times per week. Each of these sessions should include exercises for each of the major muscle groups--chest, back, shoulders, legs, hips, abdomen, and arms. Strength exercise can also be broken up over the course of a week, as long as the activity done equals two exercise sessions for each muscle group.
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Getting Started and Staying On Track
Many people complain about a lack of time as a major barrier to a regular exercise program. We offer programs you can do right in the comfort of your own home in as little as 25 minutes!. Try applying these 10 quick fitness tips.
Ten Ways to Start and Stay With A Fitness Routine
- Find activities you enjoy to meet your physical activity goals. If the exercise is fun, you're more likely to stick with it.As you begin to increase your physical activity level, set challenges for yourself.
- Establish measurable goals using your current fitness level and the level of fitness you'd like to achieve. If you currently walk a mile, work toward running a mile in four to six weeks.
- A balanced approach to physical activity protects the body from injury. Include aerobic, strength, and flexibility activities in your fitness routine.
- Schedule your exercise or physical activities on your daily calendar. Fitness is important and should be treated with the same forethought as your job or family activities. If you block out the time, and treat it as off limits, you'll stay with it.
- Commitments to yourself sometimes get lost in the demands of daily living. Find a partner or group to workout with--it helps create a sense of accountability to yourself and the others. Identify a friend who is pursing physical fitness and schedule a regular time to get together and work out or take a fitness class. A buddy can encourage you.
- Celebrate your successes. When you run your first mile or your first 5K race, share your success with people who support your efforts. Reward yourself with a new piece of fitness gear or a great massage. Then plan for your next challenge.
- Whatever physical activity you pursue, make sure you have the right equipment. If you plan to walk outdoors, make sure you have walking shoes, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. If you're going to lift weights, you may need a pair of lifting gloves to protect your hands and a weightlifting belt to protect your back.
- Your body needs a balanced, nutrient-dense diet to fuel it. Eat tasty and nutritious meals to keep your body strong.
- Keep a fitness journal. It allows you to record and review your fitness progress, and can help you determine the things you like to do and what has proved successful as you work to improve your level of physical fitness.
- Keep a bag or a box to hold your gear: running or training shoes, a protein bar, gloves, etc. When you prepare ahead of time, you're preparing yourself mentally. Not having to look for things like hand weights or your favorite workout play list keeps you focused and prevents procrastination, or worse, not being physically active at all.