Fact Finder: Fitness

March 10, 2010 

Getting Started

Take your age and previous level of fitness into consideration as you start. It is always a good idea to check with you doctor before starting on a new fitness program. The American Council on Exercise suggest the following tips* as you begin your program.

  • Start slowly and be realistic. If you try to do too much too soon you may get discouraged.
  • Warm up with a few minutes of light activity such as stretching before starting your exercise program
  • Listen to your body, it may normal to feel a bit of soreness after exercise but you should not feel serious pain.
  • Monitor yourself as you exercise, make sure you are working at the level that is best for you.(Learn more about "Target Heart Rate")
  • Pay attention to potential warning signs such as chest pain, dizziness or breaking out into a cold sweat.

Cool Down! Walk slowly or stretch to return your heart to a normal pace. Cooling down the muscles is just as important as warming them up.

Staying Motivated

Now that you've started your new exercise program, how do you stay motivated? The American Academy of Family Physicians suggest the following tips* to keep you going strong.

  • Try to exercise the same time everyday.
  • Make an exercise pact with a friend with both of you holding each other to the deal.
  • Write exercise appointments on your calendar.
  • Keep a daily log of your activities
  • Record your weight, it can give you valuable feedback on how your weight-loss efforts are paying off and what's not working.
  • Think about joining a health club. The cost gives some people an incentive to exercise regularly.
  • Staying Fit on a Budget Are you buying fewer groceries during this economic downturn, did you have to drop your gym membership? Don't despair here are some ideas to get you through these tough times. Downturn Diet-Check out Consumer Reports. org's healthy alternatives including planning your menu for the week. Home Equipment Buying Guide- More useful information from Consumer Reports on finding the right exercise machine. Get more out of your walking- Ramp up your fitness routine with these walking tips. Blogs What in the world is former N&O fitness writer Joe Miller doing....to keep fit that is? Check out his Blog!  National Resources Action for Healthy Kids-a nonprofit focused on fighting the increasing epidemic of childhood obesity. The American Council on Exercise -Visit the Web site of this non-profit for health and fitness tips including healthly recipes. HealthierUS.gov The HealthierUS initiative is a national effort to improve people's lives, prevent and reduce the costs of disease, and promote community health and wellness. The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports - Learn about the council and its work, view publications and link to the resources of other government agencies. Shape Up America- A non-profit organization founded in 1994 to raise awareness of obesity as a health issue. YMCA- The Young Men's Christian Association was founded in England in 1844 in response to unhealthy social conditions arising at the end of the Industrial Revolution. Dieting and Fitness Resources Do-It-Yourself Workout System MyFoodCount.com MyFit Nutrition.gov Healthy Recipes from the Mayo Clinic EatingWell.com Smallstep Staying Fit at Every Life Stage- Think you are too young or too old to exericse, think again. Follow the links below to learn how to say fit at every life stage. Kids and Exercise- This website was created by The Nemours Foundation's Center for Children's Health Media and provides doctor-approved health information about children from before birth through adolescence. Older Adults and Exercise- A Guide from the National Institute on Aging on motivating seniors to stay active.

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