Making Workouts Worthwhile

Making Workouts Worthwhile

Make sure your workouts do the most for you.

Experts don't agree on exactly how much exercise is needed for optimum health – it depends greatly on your current fitness level and objectives. According to an expert panel from the Center for Disease Control and the American College of Sports Medicine, you should consider an average of 30 minutes of daily exercise, such as walking or golfing, a minimum. To improve fitness, include at least 20 minutes of challenging aerobic exercise on 3 or more days. Even better, also include strength training 2 or 3 days a week. And finish your aerobic and strength training activities with stretches to improve flexibility.

People who have achieved excellent fitness or maintained significant weight loss put in closer to an average of 60 minutes per day. In any case, to avoid injury or over training, it’s important to increase the duration and intensity of your workout gradually. And make sure to choose an activity you enjoy and can stay with. After all, it’s your time for yourself! It’s also a good idea to let your physician know if you're starting something new.

To get more out of working out, keep these tips in mind:

  • Studies show that people are motivated to continue exercise that is challenging but also realistic enough to fit into their lives for the long term.
  • If you vary your exercise routine you'll burn more calories and get better conditioning. So try something new -- and fun -- once in a while.
  • Consistency is more important than extreme efforts that you can't maintain. A half hour of brisk walking every day can help you keep off about 10 to 15 pounds!

The American Heart Association recommends that you include both aerobic and muscle toning exercise regularly. You'll be taking care of all your muscles, including your heart, and both forms of exercise also help burn off excess calories. Plus be sure to stretch after you're warmed up.

If you want to know more, here is a web sites with helpful information on fitness and weight loss:

  • - supplies nutrients, including fat and calories, in a comprehensive database of foods.
  • - includes a calculator to determine calorie expenditure for various activities, and has good recommendations for various levels of fitness improvement goals.

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