Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How to Choose the Right Exercise Program for You

Do you want to lose weight, strengthen your muscles or bones, become more flexible — or all of these? Or is keeping your heart healthy the priority?

● If cardiovascular fitness is what you’re after, exercise that helps the heart and lungs is key. Try brisk walking, running, swimming or bicycling.

● If you’d like to shed a few pounds, brisk walking helps with that, too. In fact, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, brisk walking and other moderate physical activity can help women lose weight and keep it off just as well as more intense exercise, such as running. The key, it seems, is to work out at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. Plus, some research suggests that moderate exercisers are more likely than vigorous exercisers to continue working out in the long term.

● To build bones, choose weight-bearing activities. These include stair climbing, basketball, running, walking, tennis, racquetball, jumping rope and weight lifting. An added bonus: If you choose to lift weights, you’ll be strengthening your bones and your muscles.

● Need flexibility? Exercises that lengthen the muscles and encourage joints and muscles to work through their full range of motion are the ticket. Try swimming, water aerobics or a stretching class. Yoga is a great option, too.

Exercise Safely
If you’re younger than age 35 and in good health, it’s probably safe to start exercising. Those older than age 35 who have been inactive for several years should check with a doctor first. Also get a doctor’s OK if you have heart disease, asthma, diabetes, arthritis or any other chronic health condition, no matter what your age.

Join Today
Reshape your body — and your life — with a LIFE Fitness Center membership. You can even try a week for free. Visit www.fauquierhealth.org/lifecenter or call 540-316-2640.

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