Whether you’re in good health, rehabbing a recent injury or have arthritis, osteoporosis or other chronic condition, the following key points should be followed to ensure you get the most out of your workout. Remember to talk to your doctor first so the two of you can work together to design an exercise program that’s right for you.
LESSON 1: Before starting an exercise program, you and your health professional need to understand what your immediate goals are. Are you trying to lose weight? Increase strength? Train for a particular sport? Do you have any swelling? Pain? Weakness? Are your joints stiff? Once you know what you want to accomplish, it’s a lot easier to figure out where to start.
LESSON 2: Exercise should consist of three clear phases. Begin with five to 10 minutes of warm-ups. Keep in mind that a “warm-up” is not the same as stretching.
LESSON 3: Type of exercise is just as important as the three phases. Try to incorporate different types of programs, such as stretching, strength training, balance training, and aerobic conditioning. Each of these affects the joints and body in different ways. By using all of them, you’ll be able to make better gains in your health.
LESSON 4: There can be some discomfort with exercise at first. Therefore, precaution should be taken to ensure you don’t injure yourself. Remember that your body’s response to exercise can change day by day. You shouldn’t feel pain, particularly sudden/sharp pain, when you are exercising.
LESSON 5: Rest time is crucial for strength training. In the past, people tended to weight train every day. Research is showing that if a body doesn’t get enough rest, it will break down instead of building up. Therefore, never strength train the same body part two days in a row. Always allow at least two days in between, if not longer.
LESSON 6: Lifestyle activities are also effective forms of exercise. For example, gardening, going for hikes, taking the stairs at work, or playing catch with your kids or grandkids is just as effective in producing positive effects as a more traditional “gym” program.
LESSON 7: Most guidelines recommend 20 to 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per day. However, if you are not able to do this, then break it up into five-minute bouts several times a day. Research shows that doing smaller bouts of exercise through the day is just as beneficial as one continuous session.