Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Fitness tip

Start Smart: Beginning an Exercise Program

A regular physical exercise program can lower your risk of heart disease and some cancers, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. And exercise can also improve your mental health and help prevent early death. In other words, exercise can help you live a longer and healthier life. So what are you waiting for?

Your Exercise Program: Key Components

If you’ve never followed an exercise program before, it's best to start gradually. Three types of exercise should be included in a complete exercise program: aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility training.

* Aerobic exercise. This is exercise that uses large muscle groups, is repetitive, and lasts long enough to get your heart and lungs working harder than usual.

* Strength training. Designed to build muscle and increase strength, these exercises target muscle groups in the arms, legs, chest, and stomach, using free weights, weight machines, push-ups, or sit-ups.

* Flexibility training. Stretching and range of motion exercises both work to increase flexibility. For older women, this type of exercise is integral to staying limber and for preventing stiffness.