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3 Tips in Your Exercise Prescription

Our Waukee Family Medicine physician, Dr. William Schupp, shares 3 flexible and important exercise tips to incorporate into your daily life.

Exercise is one of the most important ways to maintain your health and well-being. It’s the most effective way to improve your cardio-respiratory fitness – the number 1 predictor of how long you will live. It’s also the most effective treatment for type 2 diabetes.

Here are 3 exercise tips that are flexible and open-ended, so you can fit them into your everyday life.

1. Aerobic Fitness

The intensity of aerobic fitness should be moderate – meaning you’re just at the point where you begin to breathe more rapidly, but are at a pace that is sustainable and controlled. The overall goal is to get 20 to 60 minutes of continuous aerobic activity 3 to 5 times a week. It’s very important to start low and increase the duration as you see fit.

2. Muscular Fitness

Muscular fitness has two parts: muscular strength and muscular endurance – both achieved through weight training. This helps to maintain lean body weight, increases basal metabolic rate, improves bone mass and connective tissue strength, and improves hormone regulation.

Some tips to keep in mind while weight training:

  • Perform a minimum of 8-10 separate exercises that train the major muscle groups
  • Perform a set of 8-12 repetitions of each exercise to the point of fatigue
  • Perform exercises at least 2 days a week
  • Perform every exercise throughout a full range of motion
  • Perform both lifting and lowering of the weights in a controlled manner
  • Hold weights firmly but not too tightly in your hand
  • Maintain normal breathing pattern

3. Flexibility

Properly performed stretching exercises should be part of every exercise routine and should be performed in a slow and controlled manner with gradual progression to greater ranges of motion.

Some recommendations for your stretching regimen:

  • Frequency: at least 3 days per week
  • Intensity: to a position of mild discomfort
  • Duration: 10-30 seconds for each stretch
  • Repetitions: 3-5 for each stretch
  • Type: Static (fixed position) with an emphasis on lower back and thigh area

Most people can begin an exercise program without consulting their doctor. You should talk to your doctor about exercise if you are a man over the age of 40 or a woman over the age of 50 engaging in a vigorous or intense program. You should also talk to your doctor if you have symptoms during exertion such as chest pain, nausea, abdominal discomfort, dizziness, or excessive fatigue.