As I write this blog, I’m thinking about the three days left until the end of spring quarter. I’m mentally exhausted and intermittently lethargic. All of which is due to the combined pressures of school, work and family. June is the time when grad students are winding down studies and making plans to enjoy the summer. Now is a good time to reflect on current fitness and make changes to personal exercise plans that will improve mental and physical health. Since exercise is a critical component to being healthy, this blog will share tips on ways to create individual exercise plans. We all have different health needs, so each exercise plan should be designed to meet individual needs.
My current physical exercise plan consists of 10 minutes stretching and deep breathing every morning around 4:30AM, three or four days of tennis for 1 hour, and weight lifting in the gym two or three days weekly. My mental health plan consists of taking 2 or 3 daily breaks of 20 mins to walk around my office, watching the evening news on television, and weekend shopping and visiting favorite restaurants. This summer I plan to read as many historical fiction novels as I can, plan day trips to museums and art galleries, and go the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament in New York.
You may find it hard to believe that only 3 out of 10 American adults are active enough to stay healthy and fit, and nearly four out of 10 admit they aren’t active at all, despite research proving that exercise is a powerful preventive, and sometimes an antidote, for disability and illness. As further incentive to convince you how important exercise is, here is a list of what exercise can do for you.
- Prevent cardiovascular disease
- Diminishes diabetes
- Offers a dose of cancer prevention
- Fights fractures and reduces falls
- Tunes up immune function
- Prevents gallstones
- Eases arthritis
- Helps you attain a healthy weight
- Extends life span
If you don’t have an exercise plan, here’s what you need to know to get started.
- How much exercise do I need?
- How often should I exercise?
- How long must my exercise sessions be?
- How vigorously should I exercise?
A comprehensive, safe and effective fitness program should include three components: cardiovascular/aerobic exercise, muscular strength/resistance training, and flexibility exercise.
- Aerobic exercise benefits your cardiovascular system and is an important part of weight management.
- Resistance training can improve strength and posture, reduce the risk of low-back pain and injury, and is an important component of a weight-management program.
- Proper stretching / flexibility exercise is needed to maintain joint range of motion and reduce the risk of injury and muscle soreness.
Before You Begin An Exercise Plan
Doing activity that requires moderate effort is safe for most people. If you have a chronic health condition such as heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, or other symptoms be sure to talk with your doctor about the types and amounts of physical activity that are right for you.
Cardiovascular exercise also called cardio respiratory exercise, or just ‘cardio’ involves movement that gets your heart rate up to improve oxygen consumption by the body. It is an essential part of every exercise program to get in shape, keep you healthy and fit, lose weight or maintain weight, lower cholesterol, and help to prevent other diseases and disorders.
I hope you’re now convinced and excited to get started on developing an exercise plan that is fun and personalized for you that will help you achieve your fitness goals. Take advantage of the warm weather to get outside and exercise. Use this time to reflect on your fitness plan, make improvements, and enjoy yourself while you’re working on summer fitness.