Choosing Activities for a Exercise Balanced Program

Choosing Activities for a Exercise Balanced Program

An ideal fitness program combines a physically active lifestyle with systematic exercise to develop and maintain physical fitness. This overall program is shown in the physical activity pyramid in Figure 2.3. If you are currently sedentary, your goal should be to focus on activities at the bottom of the pyramid and gradually increase the amount of moderate-intensity physical activity in your daily life. Appropriate activities include walking briskly, climbing stairs, doing yard work, and washing your car. You don’t have to exercise vigorously, but you should experience a moderate increase in your heart and breathing rates. As described earlier, your activity time can be broken up into small blocks over the course of a day.

The next two levels of the pyramid illustrate parts of a formal exercise program. The principles of this program are consistent with those of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the professional organization for people involved in sports medicine and exercise science. The ACSM has established guidelines for creating an exercise program that will develop physical fitness (Table 2.3) . A balanced program includes activities to develop all the health-related components of fitness:

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(Reserve refers to the difference between resting and maximum values of heart rate or oxygen consumption.) The lower-intensity values (55-64% of maximum heart rate and 40-49% of heart rate reserve plus rest) are most applicable to unfit individuals. For average individuals, intensities of 70-85% of maximum heart rate or 60-80% of heart rate reserve plus rest are appropriate. These methods increase exercise intensity within the limits of each person’s reserve capacity.

20-60 total minutes per day of continuous or intermittent (in sessions lasting 10 or more minutes) aerobic activity. Duration depends on the intensity of activity; thus, low-intensity activity should be conducted over a longer period of time (30 minutes or more). Low- to moderate-intensity activity of longer duration is recommended for nonathletic adults.

Any activity that uses large-muscle groups, can be maintained continuously and is rhythmic and aerobic in nature for example, walking-hiking, running-jogging, bicycling, cross-country skiing, aerobic dancing and other forms of group exercise, rope-skipping, rowing, stair-climbing, swimming, skating, and endurance game activities.

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