The Basics

Physical fitness is a key part of a healthy lifestyle and has a myriad of positive effects besides managing your weight and looking your best. Being active helps prevent chronic diseases, improve your mood, lower stress, boost energy, get better sleep, and keep those aches and pains away.

There are three main areas of physical fitness. Each area has its benefits and should all be worked into your weekly health routine:

Cardiovascular - Your lungs and hearts capability to get oxygen and nutrients to the body during exercise

  • Cardiovascular training can be both Aerobic(oxygen main energy source) and Anaerobic (Glycogen main energy source)
  • Benefits include:
    • Reduce: high blood pressure, cholesterol, body fat
    • Increase: cell sensitivity to insulin to help diabetics and cardiovascular capabilities to aid athletes
  • Examples: running. jogging, walking , swimming, cycling, aerobics classes

Strength – The amount and efficiency of your muscle to perform a given task

  • There are many different types and ways to strengthen the body. You do not always need a weight room or heavy weights to strength train. It is important to educate yourself on how to properly workout and find ways to challenge your body.
  • Benefits:
    • Aids in: posture, muscle balance, building muscle, building strength, proper body composition, increasing metabolism
    • Helps Prevent: Chronic pain, muscle loss through aging, overuse and athletic injuries
  • Examples: free weights, selectorized machines, cables, bands, body weight resistance

Flexibility – The range of motion your muscle and joints are able to move through

  • Flexibility training can be accomplish through static stretching(holding a stretch) or dynamic movement(moving your body through different ranges of motion)
  • Benefits:
    • Prevent: injuries to muscles and joints, chronic pain, muscle imbalances
    • Increase: flexibility, athletic potential, quality of life
  • Examples: Yoga, partner stretching, band stretching, static stretching, Dynamic warm Up

Take Action

The US Department of Health has these recommendations:

For the basic health benefits:

  • 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic activity (such as brisk walking or gardening) and 2 or more days of strength training of all major muscle groups OR
  • 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (such as jogging or playing basketball) and 2 or more days of strength training of all major muscle groups OR
  • An equivalent combination moderate and vigorous aerobic activity and 2 or more days of strength training of all major muscle groups

For greater health benefits:

  • 5 hours of moderate aerobic activity and 2 or more days of strength training of all major muscle groups OR
  • 2.5 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity and 2 or more days of strength training of all major muscle groups OR
  • An equivalent combination moderate and vigorous aerobic activity and 2 or more days of strength training of all major muscle groups

Remember

  • Set realistic and smaller goals: don’t push yourself too hard, if you don’t work out at all now, don’t plan to get to the gym 7 days a week. Start small and make it your goal to get exercise twice a week.
  • Add variety to your workout: mix it up between aerobic activity, strength training and stretching, also look at incorporating a class which can help make it more fun!
  • Make it part of your daily routine: find a way to add exercise to your schedule every day, even if it is just using the stairs to your dorm room instead of the elevator.
  • Make it fun and find support: workout with a friend or get to be friends with the others in the class or working out in the gym at the same time as you.