ARE YOU IN SHAPE NOW AND FOR THE FUTURE? – PATH TO LIFE SUCCESS
- I exercise hard for at least 30 minutes three times a week.
- I ride a bike or walk whenever I’m given the option.
- I belong to a gym or health club.
- I’ll walk up a flight of stairs instead of taking an elevator.
- My work ethics are consistent with my values.
- My emotional life tends to be stable.
- I can relax most times without using drugs.
- I maintain my appropriate weight.
- I eat a balanced breakfast.
- I have a balanced diet.
- I avoid fast foods.
- I feel that my everyday appearance is important.
- My teeth are healthy and clean.
- I am quick to treat my minor ailments.
“Keep It Simple And Short” points that immediately trigger a yes/no response in the conscious mind! There is a tendency to let the body run down with increasing age, coddling it into inactivity. Taking it easy leaves you with joints and muscles that are less able to utilize oxygen effectively. Investing in regular fitness activities results in increased energy reserves to get you going.
THE IMPORTANCE OF STRIVING FOR REGULAR, AND SOMETIMES INTENSE, PHYSICAL ACTIVITY CAN NOT BE UNDERSTATED!
For those who wish to become, or remain, vital and active the following ‘prescription for physical activity’ is recommended:
Walk, climb, ride a bike.
Dosage: Every day, as often as possible
Stretch and deep breathe:
Take an exercise break and relax.
Dosage: Daily, as needed when tense.
Push, pull, bend, twist, swing:
Use your body as it was designed to be used.
Dosage: At least three times per week.
Walk, Swim, Cycle, Ski:
Continuous aerobic activity of 15-20 minutes; enough to increase your heart rate and make you breathe deeply.
Dosage: At least three times per week
Spend time at sports, hobbies, or outdoor activities.
Dosage: Periods of two hours at least once a week.
NOTE: Keep this prescription within easy reach.
Courtesy of the Federal Department of Fitness and Amateur Sport
If you are new to the fitness game, a good beginning is to take up brisk walking. Walking is one of the simplest, safest, and most enjoyable routes to good overall muscle tone and a base level of cardiovascular fitness. Your initial walking regime could be 4 or 5 miles, two to three times per week. As you progress, you may wish to quicken your pace or intersperse your walks with intervals of easy jogging.
If you are well along the road to total fitness and are getting your regular dosage of intense physical activity, try “cross-over training”, introducing less customary activities and routines into your familiar ones. If your main workout is playing tennis, try swimming or jogging. If cycling is your preferred conditioner, add on cross-country skiing. In addition to giving you variety, cross-over training prevents your cardiovascular system from conforming to any one physical activity. If you jog 3 miles 3 times per week, your system will quickly adjust to the ritual, preventing you from progressing to higher levels of fitness. In fact, you may not even be maintaining an adequate fitness level. Switching to some other fitness activity forces the cardiovascular system to work, continuing to improve fitness levels.
The best way to assess the benefits of fitness activities to your system is to take periodic readings of your heart rate. You can check your pulse rate by placing your index and second fingers to your neck, just above the collar bone. You should detect a strong pulse. Check it periodically for 10 seconds. For every age grouping, there is an ideal personal “target zone” — a specific range in which the heart is working hard enough to increase its volume, strength, and efficiency. The ideal is to work your heart at 70% to 80% of its maximum rate in order to improve your cardiovascular system. For example a 60 year old should work out at 126-144 beats per minute to reach his/her ideal target zone. This would equate to between 21 and 24 beats every 10 seconds when you are checking your pulse.
Remember: if you are just starting out, go easy especially at the beginning of each workout. Do stretching exercises to loosen muscles and ease joints and tendons. Avoid activities involving sudden direction changes that jar or twist the body. Use common sense to avoid doing damage to yourself. One final caution — if you have not been on a regular fitness program, do not begin one without a complete physical fitness check-up with your doctor.
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