”Set targets that are right for your level of fitness and choose a type of exercise you will enjoy”
Choosing the right balance of activities to suit your personal objectives and putting in the appropriate amount of time and effort to suit your current level of fitness is the key to creating a successful exercise programme.The routine your eventually decide on should include a combination of aerobic, muscle-strengthening, and flexibility exercise.
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Decide why you want to improve your fitness and make a note of your objectives. It will be much easier to keep yourself motivated once you are clear about your reasons for wanting to exercise more. Setting yourself realistic targets and working your way gradually towards them will help you achieve your exercise goals.
Whatever your objectives, you should devote at least 20 minutes of your time, three times a week, to physical activity.
Aerobic activities, such as brisk walking or swimming, will improve your endurance, enabling you to exert yourself for longer periods without getting tired.
Muscle-strengthening exercises will tone up your muscles and improve your figure an posture.
Stretching exercises will help to keep your body supple and counteract the aches, pains, and stiffness that are the result of a sedentary, inactive lifestyle.
To reduce tension and relieve anxiety, try doing relaxation exercises. They will also help you sleep. In addition to specific relaxation routines, many sports aid relaxation as long as they are not played in a fiercely competitive way.
A daily record of the type and amount of exercise you have taken will allow you to monitor your progress. As your fitness improves you can increase the time or distance you walk, jog, cycle, swim, or row, by about 10 percent a week. If you find the next level of exercise uncomfortable, ease off a little. A week in your diary might look something like this.
SUNDAY Played bowls all afternoons.
MONDAY Walked to the shops and back about 40 minutes.
TUESDAY Took 1/2 hour evening walk to stream.
WEDNESDAY Cleaned windows and did your gardening.
THURSDAY Went on a nature walk with friends.
FRIDAY Played bowls all morning then walked home from the club.
SATURDAY Swam with grandchildren at the local leisure center.
Ted Robinson is a 63-year-old retired surveyor whose hobbies are bowls, bridge, and bird-watching. His only health problem is some fitness in his back. Ted does not smoke and is reasonably fit. He would, however, like to become fitter in order to improve his bowls game and to get ready for a walking holiday in France during the spring bird migration.
Ted’s diary reveals that he already leads a reasonably active life. But he still wants to improve his fitness. He decides to swim twice a week to reduce stiffness in his back and to go for more evening walks. He also joins a local rambling group on their nature hikes twice a month.
SAMANTHA WALKER is 13 years old, eats only junk food, and watches TV for three hours a day. She weights 14 kg(30 lb) more than she should and is teased at school. She gets breathless when running upstairs and cannot touch her toes.
You cannot force children to exercise, but you can make it fun and then they will want to take part. Children also need encouragement from their friends. Samantha’s weight problem, however, requires more than just exercise. She needs advice on her dietary habits to help her see how harmful junk food is
GEORGE GRESTY is a 54-year-old solicitor. He smokes heavily and has not exercised properly for many years. He is 20 percent overweight. George’s doctor has advised him to stop smoking and to lose weight to help reduce his blood pressure.
George should start slowly and build up his exercise routine gradually because he is out of shape. Although George’s blood pressure is not dangerous(it was only slightly raised), he should be aware of the warning symptoms of overstraining his heart, such as chest pain and palpitations.
ELSIE TAYLOR, 68 has mild heart failure and osteoarthritis. Joint pain and stiffness have made it impossible for her to go outdoors unaided. Although cooking and housework are hard to manage, Elsie wants to stay independent.
Elsie asks her doctor if exercise would help. The doctor advises her to do gentle loosening-up, stretching, and strengthening movements. They should also help her heart condition, but she should ease up if she starts to get very tired or out of breath. Special gadgets can make housework and cooking easier.
JOANNE BESFORD is a 29-year-old shop assistant who works six days a week. She suffers from aching legs and swollen ankles in the evening. Although Joanne does not play any sport, she would like to go on a skiing holiday in two months time.
Lack of fitness can cause skiing injuries. Unfit people fatigue quickly, making injury far more likely. To get fitter, Joanne should take a walk on her lunch break and use the stairs, not the lift. In addition to exercise, Joanne’s leg symptoms would be helped by wearing support hose while at work.