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Starting an exercise program

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The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association (AHA) released updated physical activity guidelines in 2007. These guidelines outline exercise recommendations for healthy adults and older adults and are an update from the 1995 guidelines. Choose your category below, and find recommendations, research and tips from ACSM and AHA. Together, we are proud to serve as a public resource to help people live healthier, more active lives.

Starting an exercise program can sound like a daunting task, but just remember that your main goal is to boost your health by meeting the basic physical activity recommendations: 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity at least five days per week, or vigorous-intensity activity at least three days per week, and strength training at least twice per week.

Choose activities you enjoy, such as swimming, biking, or playing basketball with friends to get your daily physical activity. If you need variety of activities to stay motivated, combine a few that appeal to you.

Physical activity can be accumulated through a variety of activities, not just running. Walking is a great way to do moderate-intensity physical activity. This issue of ACSM’s Fit Society Page® Newsletter contains an article on walking for health, as well as other features on getting active.

Watch these videos, courtesy of ACSM’s Exercise is MedicineTM program, to learn about types of exercise, strength training, flexibility and more.

These Current Comments and brochures may also be helpful in designing your own activity program, gathering ideas for ways to accumulate physical activity, or learning about exercise and health:

  • Exercise While Traveling
  • Women’s Heart Health and a Physically Active Lifestyle
  • Energy Expenditure in Different Modes of Exercise
  • Exercise and Age-Related Weight Gain

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