Start a Regular Exercise Program
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Related Media: Exercise – Take an Energy Break
Exercise helps keep your body healthy. This may ward off many health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and many others.
Adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic (cardiovascular) activity per week. For more health benefits, you can do 300 minutes per week.
Your program should have:
This puts your heart and lungs to work by moving large muscles in the legs and buttocks. You can do this through:
Strength Training (Resistance) Exercise
This builds lean muscle mass, which makes your muscles and bones stronger. It can be done through:
Stretching can improve:
Some muscle groups to stretch are the back, arms, legs, and chest. Yoga and Tai chi are just two types of classes that focus on stretching.
Here are some tips to stretch safely:
Make sure you do not:
Before you start, check with your doctor about any problems that would limit your workout program.
Think about setting up some time with a certified athletic trainer to make a safe and effective program that you will enjoy. You can find a trainer at a local gym or through your doctor or a friend. Make sure this person understands your goals and can help you create exercise program that you will enjoy and stick with.
American Council on Exercise
American Heart Association
Canada Safety Council
Public Health Agency of Canada
2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. United States Department of Health and Human Services website. Available at: https://health.gov/sites/default/files/2019-09/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf. Accessed April 23, 2020.
Exercise: how to get started. American Academy of Family Physicians website. Am Fam Physician. 2006 Dec 15;74(12):2095-2096. Available at:
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Accessed April 23, 2020.
Last reviewed April 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board
Last Updated: 4/23/2020