If you want to significantly improve your health, increase your physical activity now! Exercise reduces the risk for heart disease, diabetes, and many other health problems. It can help you relieve stress and maintain an appropriate body weight. It literally benefits every organ in your body. An exercise program can be tailored to fit almost anyone independent of age or physical disabilities. If you have a concern about exercise, contact your care provider to find out what kind of exercise may be appropriate for you.

Aerobic exercise (cardiovascular exercise) is any exercise that raises your heart rate. Examples include walking, jogging, bicycling, swimming, and cross county skiing. Anaerobic exercise (weight-bearing exercise) is an exercise that increases the strength of your muscles. Examples include walking, climbing stairs, hiking, and weight training. Both aerobic and anaerobic exercises are important for a healthy body.

What is the best exercise?

The best exercise is the one that you will do. To make exercise a lifelong habit, you must enjoy it. Find something you like and stick to it. Walking is an excellent choice of exercise especially for beginners because it is safe, easy, and inexpensive. It is less likely to cause injuries than is running or jogging.

How to make exercise a habit

Many people start an exercise program, but few stick with it. To be successful exercise needs to become as important in your day as is brushing your teeth. There are many things you can do to help make exercise a permanent part of your life:

  • Exercise at the same time everyday
  • Exercise with a partner or group; you can motivate one another.
  • Set goal. For example plan on participating in a 5k run.
  • Chart your progress.
  • Think about joining a health club or hiring a trainer.
  • Mix it up. Keep exercise fresh by varying what you do.

Get Started

Start with an activity that you can do comfortably. Doing too much too soon can result in soreness and places you at risk for injury. It is very important to stretch your muscles before and after exercise for at least 10 minutes. This can significantly reduce your risk for injury. Start by exercising three to four times per week for at least 20 minutes. This can be increased after your body becomes more conditioned. Try to keep your heart rate at 60-80% of your maximum heart rate. You can calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. If you have an underlying health problem such as high blood pressure or heart disease, be sure to consult your care provider prior to beginning an exercise program.