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Exercising for a Healthier Lifestyle

Exercise for a Healthier Lifestyle
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Added on December 22, 2015

By Meryle Richman, PT, DPT, MS, Senior Director at Ivy Rehab Briarcliff & Ivy Rehab Jefferson Valley

For many of us, working work full time, sitting at jobs all day, commuting to work or being busy taking care of children and/or family, leaves little time to take care of ourselves and not enough time to exercise. How can you make fitness part of your life, improve your health, feel better about yourself and help you to lose weight? How do you begin?

Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Before starting a daily exercise program consult with your doctor if you have a current medical condition, disability or have not been exercising and would like to start.
  • Start slowly and set realistic goals for yourself. Start gradually with exercising for 15 minutes twice a week, and then add another session. Also, slowly increase your training times by a few minutes each session.
  • Plan ahead and make yourself a priority. Set time for yourself on a daily basis as to when you will exercise.
  • Set achievable goals for yourself. Start with small goals and when you achieve them reward yourself.

Guidelines from The American College of Sports Medicine suggest that:

1) Healthy adults under the age of 65 should aim for:

  • Moderate intense cardiovascular exercises 30 minutes a day (aerobic exercise), five days a week or vigorous intense exercises 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week and strengthening-exercises twice a week.
  • Flexibility or stretching exercises are also recommended a minimum of 2-3 days a week

2) Healthy adults 65 years or older:

  • Low-to-Moderate aerobic exercises, 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week and gentle strengthening-exercises (very light weights), 2- 3 times a week
  • Flexibility or stretching exercises at a minimum of 2-3 times a week

Aerobic and Low-to-Moderate Exercises:

For beginners, you can simply start out by learning the basics of the talk test, which is a rule of thumb for doing moderate-intensity activity and you can still talk, but not sing during an activity. However, if you are doing a vigorous-activity you would want to learn how to find your target heart rate and determine what intensity range you should be exercising at for optimal cardiac performance. Check out theStay Healthy Websiteto determine a simple way to find your target heart rate at: www.cancer.org/healthy/toolsandcalculators/calculators/app/target-heart-rate-calculator. Once you find your target heart rate, wearing a heart rate monitor will make it easier to monitor your desired rate.


(1) Exercise: Designing a Cardiac exercise Program. New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Retrieved September 2, 2011 from http://nyp.org/health/cardiac_exercis3.html

(2) American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand. Retrieved September 2, 2011 from http://www.mhhe.com/hper/nutrition/williams/student/appendix_i.pdf

(3) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved September 2, 2011 from http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/measuring/index.html

(4) American Cancer Society.Stay Healthy. Target Heart Rate Monitor. Retrieved September 2, 2011 from: www.cancer.org/healthy/toolsandcalculators/calculators/app/target-heart-rate-calculator


If you want to determine your fitness level, refer to the reference guide from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/measuring/index.html.

Photo credit:(c) Can Stock Photo




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