Home HealthTopics Health Centers Reference Library Research
Join us on Facebook Join us on Facebook Share on Facebook

Exercise and Fitness

Getting in Shape for the Summer

03/04/2001

Question:

How do I get in shape for the summer?

Answer:

If you haven`t been keeping your New Year`s resolutions, there`s still time to shape up for summer. However, before you begin your exercise program get permission from your physician. Once you receive the go-ahead, decide which fitness activities are best suited for you and get moving!

Getting in shape for the summer season can be fun and easily accomplished at home, outdoors, and/or at a fitness center. Regardless of where you choose to exercise, your well-rounded fitness program should include:

* Developing and maintaining cardio respiratory fitness * Muscular strength training and endurance * Flexibility stretches

Every exercise session should begin with 5-10 minutes of light activity to prepare the body for more vigorous movement. After your body is warmed up, do flexibility stretches for all the large muscle groups. Make sure you do not bounce! Each stretch should be held for 10 - 30 seconds and repeated 3-4 times per muscle group.

After your warm-up, begin your cardiovascular or aerobic activity. Adopt an exercise program that allows you to perform cardiovascular activity (brisk walking, jogging, bicycling, group fitness classes, etc.) for at least 20 minutes per session, for a minimum of three times per week.

Your exercise program should also include strength or muscular training. Strength training equipment, free weights, and/or your own body weight can all be used to strengthen your body and achieve muscular fitness. Aim to perform between 8-12 repetitions per exercise until you reach momentary muscular fatigue. Be sure to include strength exercises for both the lower and upper body to achieve a balanced, strong body. Your strength training routine should be performed 2-3 days per week, with a day of rest in-between workouts.

Exercise sessions should end with a 5-10 minute cool-down period including light activity. This allows the body to gradually return to a near-normal temperature. Once again, flexibility exercises should be performed at the end of your workout.

Remember, beginning a fitness program doesn`t have to be complicated. By following the above guidelines, you`ll be well on your way to shaping up for summer. Be creative with the activities you choose and vary your routine. Have fun with exercise because, after all, it will keep you motivated to stick with the program!

*Only your personal physician or other health professional you consult can best advise you on matters of your health based on your medical history, your family medical history, your medication history, and how information from NetWellness may apply to you.

For more information:

Go to the Exercise and Fitness health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Carolyn   Nickol, RD, MEd Carolyn Nickol, RD, MEd
Director
Fitness Center at CARE\Crawley
University of Cincinnati