The key to a successful program is choosing an activity (or
activities) that you will enjoy. Even moderate levels of activity
have important health benefits.Here are some things to think about
that can help you choose the right kind of activity for you:
- Your fitness level
If you've been inactive for a while, you may want to start with
walking or swimming at a comfortable pace. Beginning with less
strenuous activities will allow you to become more fit without
straining your body. Once you are in better shape, you can
gradually change to a more vigorous activity if you wish.
- Your age
If you are over 40 and have not been active, avoid very strenuous
programs such as jogging when you're first starting out. For the
first few months, build up the length and intensity of your
activity gradually. Walking and swimming are especially good forms
of exercise for all ages.
- Desired benefits
If you want the benefits of exercise that condition your heart and
lungs, refer to the list on the previous page of
Beginning an exercise program.
- Solitary or group activities
Do you like individual activities such as swimming, team sports
such as soccer, or two-person activities such as racquetball? How
about an aerobics class or ballroom dancing? Companionship can help
you get started and keep going. If you would like to exercise with
someone else, can you find a partner easily and quickly? If not,
choose another activity until you can find a partner.
- Outdoors or indoors
Outdoor activities offer variety in scenery and weather. Indoor
activities offer shelter from the weather and can offer the
convenience of exercising at home as with stationary cycling. Some
activities such as bench stepping, running in place or jumping rope
can be done indoors or outdoors. If your activity can be seriously
affected by weather, consider choosing a second, alternate
activity. Then you can switch activities and still stay on your
Many activities require little or no equipment. For example, brisk
walking only requires a comfortable pair of walking shoes. Also,
many communities offer free or inexpensive recreation facilities
and physical activity classes.
- Your schedule
Do you feel more like being active in the morning, afternoon, or
evening? Consider moving other activities around. Schedule your
activity as a regular part of your routine. Remember that exercise
sessions are spread out over the week and needn't take more than
about 10 to 15 minutes at a time. By choosing activities you like,
you will be more likely to keep doing them regularly and enjoying
the many benefits of physical activity.
Adapted from The National
Institutes of Health
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a
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