You know you need exercise. Regular physical activity helps you control your weight, lower your risks of chronic diseases like high blood pressure and type II diabetes, and can even make you feel happier and more energetic. If you are like me, though, you don’t always get the amount of physical activity you need. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends the average adult should get two and a half hours of moderate physical activity per week.
Who is the NIH?
The National Institutes of Health is a branch of the US Department of Health and Human Services. Their primary mission is sponsoring research to help people live longer, healthier lives. Research can’t make a difference if people don’t know about it, so getting information and recommendations out to the public is an essential part of their mission.
Tips to Help You Get More Exercise
The NIH has published a booklet, Tips to Help You Get Active, to help people overcome various obstacles that stand in their way. You don’t need to read the whole thing, though, because many of the suggestions are the same, regardless of the problem. I’ll summarize the most important ones for you.
This is the most important tip if you are out-of-shape, even if you starting an exercise they you used to do with your eyes closed. The slower you start the less your chances of injury. Don’t be that guy or gal who enthusiastically starts a vigorous exercise program, works hard for a day, and then gives up for feeling so horrible the next day.
See a Medical Professional
If you have any medical conditions, this is the most important tip. Light physical exercise like walking is not usually a problem, but you should definitely follow your doctor’s advice for length, type, and intensity of workouts, even if you are healthy but are a man over 40 or a woman over 50.
Find Something You Enjoy
While different activities do have some different benefits, being physically active what is most important. Light exercise you do every day because you are having fun will pay off much more than vigorous exercise you only manage to struggle through a couple times a month.
Take a Class or Join a Fitness Center
Having a fixed time or place to do your workouts can help motivate you, especially when you know you’ve already paid the membership or class cost. Fitness centers can also provide environments that are more comfortable for your workout during hot summers or cold winters. You may also feel safer exercising in a group.
Use a Physical Trainer
Not only will using a physical trainer help motivate you to exercise, they will help make sure you don’t injure yourself by showing you the proper ways to warm up or use equipment. Also, if you already have an injury, they will customize your workout around your injury.
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