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Fitness tips

Your body is meant to move. By moving more, you can get big benefits — like a healthier heart and weight. The hardest parts? Starting. And sticking with it. We’re here to help.

Types of fitness

  • Aerobic fitness (also called cardio or cardiovascular training) makes you breathe faster and makes your heart work harder. Aerobic activities include walking, running, cycling and swimming.
  • Muscle fitness protects your joints, builds stronger bones and makes it easier to do things like pick up heavy bags or carry children. You can increase your muscle strength through push-ups, leg squats and other exercises using your own body weight. Or you can try resistance training with rubber tubing or bands, or weight training with free weights and fitness center weight machines. Even heavy housework and yard work count!                        
  • Flexibility is the ability to move your joints and muscles through their full range of motion. Activities like yoga, dance, Pilates exercises and static stretching increase your flexibility.

It’s good to try improving all three types of fitness because they work together to make you stronger and healthier.

Tips to get fit

  • Talk to your doctor. He or she can help you figure out your fitness level and what activities are best for you.
  • Set goals. Decide how you will challenge yourself and what goals you plan to reach.
  • Start the right way. Turn to your fitness center or a professional trainer to learn proper form for strength training.Activity leaders can provide do’s and don’ts to help you as a beginner.
  • Go slow at first. Easing into exercise will make it less scary. It can help you avoid injuries, too.
  • Warm up and cool down. Most fitness activities have recommended ways to get ready for the activity and then wind down afterward that help protect you from getting hurt.
  • Have fun. Pick activities you enjoy and mix them up. That will help you stick with them.
  • Plan time every day. If you’re tempted to skip a workout, remind yourself why you deserve it.

How much and how often?

Experts say to follow these general guidelines, depending on your personal situation:

Moderate aerobic activity,

like brisk walking

At least 10 minutes at a time

At least 3 times a week

Totaling 2½ hours a week or more

 

Vigorous aerobic activity,

like running

At least 10 minutes at a time

At least 3 times a week

Totaling 1¼ hours a week or more

 

Muscle fitness activity,

like weight training

8 – 12 repetitions per exercise

2 – 3 sets of repetitions

2 – 3 times a week (alternating days)

 

Flexibility activity,


like static stretching

At least 15 seconds per stretch

5 – 10 minutes at a time

Daily

Aetna® is a trademark of Aetna Inc. and is protected throughout the world by trademark registrations and treaties.

Source: Healthwise, Incorporated. Available at www.healthwise.net/aetna. Accessed 1 March 2017.

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