Thinking about signing up for an aquatic exercise class? Or trying water exercises on your own? Check out these pool moves.
Find out how much exercise you need and how to get it.
Get the most benefit from walking by following the four components of a good walking program: 1. Warm up for five minutes. Walk slowly, then increase your pace until you feel warm. 2. Stretch for five minutes. Stretch gently and slowly. Stretch only until you feel a slight tension in the muscle. 3. Walk for at least 30 minutes. 4. Cool down for five minutes. End each walking session by walking slowly, then repeating your stretches. Cooling down gradually reduces stress on your heart and muscles.
Starting a walking program is easy. Sticking with it is trickier. To stay motivated, try these tips: 1. Set goals, such as walking every day or walking for a set amount of time. 2. Make walking enjoyable. Find someone to walk with you or simply soak in the scenery. 3. Vary your routine. If you walk the same route every day, boredom may set in. Instead, mix it up with several different routes. Just remember to be safe: Tell a family member which route you're taking.
Don't give up if your walking program goes off track. Get back in the game with these four tips: 1. Stop beating yourself up. Shrug it off as a temporary setback, even if it happens more than once. 2. Re-evaluate your goals. Make sure your goals are neither too hard nor too easy. 3. Get going. Just do some form of exercise today, even if it's only for 5 minutes. 4. Keep planning. Figure out ways to fit in a walk even if you're going on a trip, working overtime or juggling family duties.
For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. Moderate aerobic exercise includes activities such as brisk walking or swimming. Vigorous aerobic exercise includes activities such as running or aerobic dancing. The guidelines suggest that you spread out this exercise during the course of a week. The guidelines also recommend that you do strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least twice a week.
You're aiming for moderate intensity when you exercise, but how do you know if you're achieving it? You're probably exercising at moderate intensity if you're breathing faster and you break into a light sweat after about 10 minutes of activity. If you're not sure, try the talk test: If you can carry on a conversation but you can't sing, you're probably exercising in the moderate-intensity range.
Want to get the most out of your workouts? Try interval training! This simply means alternating bursts of intense activity with intervals of lighter activity. Take walking. If you're in good shape, try incorporating short bursts of jogging into your regular power walks. If you're less fit, alternate leisurely walking with periods of faster walking. (For example, if you typically walk outdoors, walk faster between certain mailboxes, trees or city blocks.) The more vigorously you exercise the more calories you'll burn, even if you increase intensity for just a few minutes at a time.
For cardiovascular fitness, aerobic exercise can be done in short bursts or longer sessions.
Do you want the health benefits of aerobic exercise but need help getting started? Try this easy 12-week walking plan.