How to Develop a fitness action plan

How to Develop a fitness action plan

If you have specific health problems, check with your doctor before implementing a routine to boost fitness. Once your doctor gives you the go-ahead, you have no more excuses. To improve your fitness level, take these important steps:

Follow U.S. guidelines for the minimum amount of exercise. That means exercising at a moderate intensity level for at least 2.5 hours spread over most days each week. At least twice a week, supplement aerobic exercise with weight-bearing activities that target all major muscles. Avoid inactivity; some exercise at any level of intensity is better than none while you’re building up your endurance.

Walking is the easiest way to get started. Get motivated by enlisting a friend to join you and adding variety to your routine. "Walking is simple and manageable for anyone," says Jill Grimes, MD, a family physician in Austin, Texas. "Wear a pedometer from day one. Think of it in three parts: a five-minute warm-up of walking slowly, followed by a fast walk, then a five-minute cool-down of walking slowly."

Compete only against yourself. No matter what activity you choose for getting fit, never compare your progress to someone else's. "Do set goals, and if you are out of shape and hate exercise, start low and go slow," recommends Dr. Grimes. "Do not compare yourself with your best friend who weighs 50 pounds less and just finished her 10th triathlon."

Avoid over exertion. One preventive step Pivarnik suggests is checking your resting heart rate before getting out of bed every morning and making a chart so you can see a consistent, but gradual, decrease over time. If your resting heart rate begins to increase, you may be over doing it. Another indicator of over exertion is muscle soreness that doesn't go away after a couple days.

As you work on improving your fitness, take it slow and steady to avoid injury or burnout. Above all, remember that consistency is key — if you keep at it, your hard work will pay off.

 

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