Your Personal Exercise Program

You will be more successful if you develop a complete, personal exercise program, rather than just becoming more active in general. If you are over age 40, remember to check with your doctor before starting any exercise program, especially if you have been inactive, or if you already have a health problem. Start slowly with an easy activity that you enjoy, such as walking. Walk for as long as you feel comfortable. Gradually increase the distance you walk, and walk at a faster pace as you get used to exercising. Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes every day. Other good aerobic activities are swimming, stair climbing, jogging, biking, and cross-country skiing. The best way to make sure you will stick with your exercise program is to choose an activity you enjoy.

Varying your weekly exercise program by including two or three different aerobic activities—for example, walking or jogging 3 days a week, swimming 2 days a week, and biking 1 day a week—will help to keep your routine interesting. This concept is called cross-training, and it is a good way to prevent boredom. Cross-training also helps give your entire body a workout.


60 In addition to aerobic exercises, work some weight training into your routine

Staying to build muscle strength. Do push-ups and sit-ups or use hand weights to per form repetitive sets of lifting exercises. Increase your flexibility by stretching your arms, legs, and lower back before and after your aerobic workout (see page 58).

The time of day you choose to exercise can be important. There is some evidence that exercise workouts are more productive when your body temperature is highest, which is usually in the late afternoon. At this time, your muscles are more flexible and your resting heart rate and blood pressure are both low. Of course, if your schedule does not allow you to exercise late in the day, or if you already have an established exercise time and are happy with it, do not switch to an afternoon workout. Exercising at any time of the day is better than being inactive.

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