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Exercise and Fitness

Exercise

07/23/2002

Question:

I am a 42 year old, overweight women. I need to start some type of exerise plan. I really enjoy walking. How far should I start out walking? What other type of low impact exercise could I do to help with tone my body, as I lose weight? Thank you.

Answer:

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. Made 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. Walking is an excellent form of cardiovascular activity. Other cardiovascular conditioning activities include bicycling, group fitness classes, swimming, and jogging. You will want to work up to 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. As always, you will want to check with your personal physician before beginning your exercise program. Best of luck to you in beginning your exercise program! 

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Response by:

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