Welcome to the first post in our series devoted to improving your physical health. We will be using information provided to us by the Exercise IS Medicine campaign. If you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend that you visit the Exercise IS Medicine website for useful information and valuable resources.

In today’s post, we are going to be discussing: STARTING AN EXERCISE PROGRAM

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.


Here are a few guidelines for healthy adults under age 65 with no apparent chronic disease or condition:

  • STEP 1 - Set aside time each day to exercise. Getting started can often be the most difficult part of any exercise routine. Scheduling exercise into your day and making it a priority will increase the chance of being successful.
  • STEP 2 - Choose cardiovascular activities you enjoy, such as swimming, biking, or playing basketball with friends to get your daily physical activity. If you need a 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. Moderate-intensity physical activity means working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat, yet still being able to carry on a conversation.
  • STEP 3 - Start with 10 to 15 minutes of cardiovascular exercise daily. Each week, add five minutes to your exercise routine until you reach 30 minutes of moderate-intensity for a minimum of five days per week. Alternately, you may do 20 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise three days per week. The 30-minute recommendation is for the average healthy adult to maintain health and reduce the risk for chronic disease. It should be noted that to lose weight or maintain weight loss, 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity may be necessary.
  • STEP 4 - Incorporate strength training into your routine. Do eight to 10 strength-training exercises, eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise twice a week. This can be accomplished by using dumbbells, resistance bands or your own body weight. If you are unsure how to perform the exercises correctly, seek the advice of an exercise professional.

Here are a few guidelines for adults over age 65 (or adults 50-64 with chronic conditions, such as arthritis)*:

  • STEP 1 – Begin by following the four steps listed above. Both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity is critical for healthy aging.
  • STEP 2 - If you are at risk of falling, perform balance exercises. If you are unsure how to perform the exercises correctly, seek the advice of an exercise professional.
  • STEP 3 - Have a physical activity plan. Older adults or adults with chronic conditions should develop an activity plan with a health professional to manage risks and take therapeutic needs into account. This will maximize the benefits of physical activity and ensure your safety.

*If your physician has not cleared you for independent physical activity, you should exercise only under the supervision of a certified professional.

Now that you’ve read the guidelines, are you ready to get started? I hope so! Once you are ready to begin, I invite you to download a My Commitment to Exercise! worksheet by clicking here. Research shows that the best way to turn good intentions into great results is to be specific about what you plan on doing and to put your plan into words. The My Commitment to Exercise! worksheet will help you do that.

Download it, fill it out, initial it, and sign it and then get started. I’d love it if you faxed me a copy of your signed commitment. That way I can congratulate you for taking that important first step and also support you when the going gets tough and old habits and patterns rear their ugly heads.

I also encourage you to share this information with your friends and invite them to join you in your commitment to exercise. Surrounding yourself with social support will make it easier for all of you to achieve your goals.

I look forward to hearing from you as you start this journey.

Warmest Regards,

Coach Paul


“And if your home is just another place where you’re a stranger, and far away is just somewhere you’ve never been. I hope that you’ll remember, I am your friend.” – Rich Mullins

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