If you’re ready to create a complete fitness program based on the activities you enjoy most, begin by preparing the program plan and agreement in Lab 7.1. By carefully developing your plan and signing an agreement, you’ll increase your chances of success. The step-by-step procedure outlined here will guide you through the steps of Lab 7.1 to create an exercise program that’s right for you. (See Figure 7.1 for a sample personal fitness program plan and agreement.)

If you’d like additional help in setting up your program, choose one of the sample programs at the end of this chapter. Sample programs are provided for walking/jogging, cycling, swimming, and rowing. They include detailed instructions for starting a program and developing and maintaining fitness.


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1. Set Goals

Ask yourself, “What do I want from my fitness program?’’ Develop different types of goals general and specific, long term and short term. General or long-term goals might include lowering your risk for chronic disease, improving posture, having more energy, or improving the fit of your clothes.

It’s also a good idea to develop some specific, short-term goals based on measurable factors. Specific goals might be:

• Raising cardiorespiratory capacity (VO2max) by 10%.

• Reducing the time it takes you to jog two miles from 22 minutes to 19 minutes.

Answers (Test Your Knowledge)

1. All Three. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, you can perform any of these activities for 75 minutes per week to obtain health and wellness benefits.

2. False. Older adults receive the same health benefits from exercise as younger adults, including improvements in strength, body composition, cardiorespiratory health, flexibility, balance, stability, and cognitive functioning. A far greater danger is posed by inactivity.

3. False. Swimming is excellent for developing cardiorespiratory endurance and muscular endurance, but because it is not a weight-bearing activity, it does not enhance bone density. Swimmers are advised to include weight training in their exercise program to maintain bone mass.

An overall fitness program includes activities to develop all the components of physical fitness.

• Increasing the number of push-ups you can do from 15 to 25.

• Lowering your BMI from 26 to 24.5.

Having specific goals will allow you to track your progress and enjoy the measurable changes brought about by your fitness program. Finally, break your specific goals into several smaller steps (mini-goals), such as those shown in Figure 7.1. (For detailed discussions of goals and goal setting in a behavior change or fitness program, refer back to Chapters 1 and 2.)

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