Exercise to a Better You 2017-01-28T09:36:02-06:00

Exercise to a Better You

Are you tired? Feeling run down? Do you run out of steam when others are still going strong? Maybe exercise is the answer. Turn off the TV and turn on to exercise! You’ll be amazed at the results!

It won’t take long before you will have more energy, feel less tense, and be able to cope better with daily stress if you will make a commitment to exercise three times a week for 15-30 minutes each time. You could feel like a new person. You will have added strength, fall asleep easier, and you will look great! Your muscles will become firm as you burn off the extra calories and extra pounds!

But the benefits don’t stop there. Exercise helps fight heart disease and common health problems, too. Even blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, and being overweight are all affected positively with exercise.

So if you are ready to get started, first check with your doctor if . . .

  • You have been told by your doctor that you have heart trouble or a heart murmur.
  • You have had a heart attack.
  • Someone in your family has heart trouble or has had a heart attack before age 55.
  • You often have pains or pressure if your left or mid-chest area, left neck, shoulder, or arm during or right after exercise.
  • You often feel faint or have dizzy spells.
  • You feel out of breath after a light workout.
  • You have high blood pressure that is not under control or you don’t know what your blood pressure is.
  • You are more than 60 years old and you’re not used to exercising.
  • Or you have a medical condition such as insulin-dependent diabetes or arthritis.

Once your doctor gives you the ok, start your exercise routine with a five minute warm-up. After five minutes, pick up the pace. Build to your goal level of exercise. Keep this pace for the next 15-30 minutes. Finish each workout with a cool down: walk and stretch for five minutes. Pick an activity that you enjoy; you are more likely to stick to it if you are enjoying yourself!

Target Heart Rate

To get the most of each workout session, keep track of your heart rate. Your heart should beat faster than normal during exercise. How fast it shoudl beat depends on your age. Each person has a heart rate target zone. Your number of heartbeats per minute hsould fall within your target zone to make exercise “heart-worthy.” Working out below your target zone gives the heart little conditioning. Working out above your target zone is too hard on your heart. Find your target zone below.

Age Target Zone
20 years 120-150 beats per minute
25 years 117-146 beats per minute
30 years 114-142 beats per minute
35 years 111-138 beats per minute
40 years 108-135 beats per minute
45 years 105-131 beats per minute
50 years 102-127 beats per minute
55 years 99-120 beats per minute
60 years 93-116 beats per minute
70 years 90-113 beats per minute

Give yourself time to raise your heart and breathing rates. Then check your pulse once in a while throughout the routine to see if you’re in your target zone. With your index finger, find your pulse on the wrist of your other hand. Press lightly. Now count the beats for 30 seconds, and multiply the number by 2. If your pulse falls below your target zone, exercise a little harder. If your pulse is above your target zone, ease up.

If a vigorous workout is too demanding, try a leisure sport like softball, golf, bowling or volleyball. Any physical activity is better than not exercising at all. The important thing is to get up and get moving.

A Few Pointers to Get You Started

  • Begin slowly; if you’re out of shape, it’s best to start at an easy pace. Set goals and work toward them.
  • Ask someone to join you. An exercise buddy is fun and can provide support.
  • Switching from outdoors to indoors prevents boredom and adds variety.
  • Become active throughout the day, taking advantage of every opportunity:
    • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
    • Take a brisk walk on your lunch break, even for just 10 minutes.
    • Park your car farther away at work, the grocery store and the mall.
    • Clean the house (i.e. vacuuming, scrubbing, sweeping and mopping).
    • Walk a few laps around the shopping center or join a mall walking club.
    • Walk down the hall to talk with coworkers instead of using the phone or computer.
    • Hop off the bus a few blocks early and walk the rest of the way.
    • Ride a stationary bike, jump rope or jog in place while you watch TV.
    • Get up from the couch during commercials and move around (i.e. jumping jacks or stretches).
    • Play catch, frisbee, touch football or tag with your children.
    • Skip the golf cart and carry your clubs.
    • Walk with a friend or neighbor to keep motivated.
    • Turn on your favorite tune and dance around the living room.
    • Join a community walk-a-thon to raise money for charity.

Check out this activities chart to see how many calories you burn during exercise.