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Exercise and Fitness

How Much?

02/03/2004

Question:

how many times a week should you work out and for how long?

Answer:

The frequency, intensity and duration of activity depends on the specific exercise component you are working on. In general, every exercise session should begin with 5-10 minutes of light activity to prepare the body for more vigorous activity. After your body is warmed up, flexibility exercises for all the large muscle groups should be performed. Make sure you do not bounce! Each stretch should be held for 10-30 seconds and repeated 3-4 times per muscle group.

The first component is 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, minimum three times per week.

A standard exercise program will also include the second component, strength or muscular training exercises. Specific strength training equipment, free weights, and/or your own body weight are excellent ways to 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, which 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, check with your personal physician before beginning an 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