It is well known that people who exercise regularly have a reduced risk for heart disease, diabetes, obesity and some cancers.
Regular exercise has also been shown to improve mood and decrease feelings of depression, anxiety and stress.
Additionally, exercise can increase the production of endorphins, which are known to help produce positive feelings and reduce pain. In the short-term, exercise increases blood flow, specifically to the brain, which leaves you feeling more alert, focused and productive.
How much exercise is necessary for better health?
Both the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association say adults should include 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, like brisk walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, such as running on a weekly basis.
The minute intervals per week can be broken up into shorter sessions of 10 minutes or more for ease. Strength training and slow, static stretches should be included to target major muscle groupings and increase range of motion.
If you are ready to work toward these goals but aren’t sure how to begin, the following tips will help you get started.
Start slow and increase your physical activity gradually
Many people try to do too much when they first start exercising. Begin with 10-15 minute walks throughout the day and slowly increase to the 150 minutes recommended per week.
Set a goal and track your progress
Tracking the minutes per week is just one way to measure progress. You can also count your steps with the help of a phone app, such as MapMyFitness or by using a pedometer. The goal when using a pedometer is to log 10,000 or more steps per day. This gives you all the health benefits of moderate physical activity.
Increase your steps
A simple way to increase your steps is to park your car a bit farther from your destination. Another suggestion is to take 10-15-minute walking breaks during the day on the Bulldog Walking Trails by following Victor E’s paw prints throughout campus.
Invest in a good pair of workout shoes
Make sure they have good cushioning and arch support. For motivation, leave your exercise shoes by the door to remind you to get moving.
Find ways to stay motivated
Try setting new goals or try a new fitness class or activity at the Student Recreation Center. Exercising with a friend will make exercise more fun, and you can help remind each other to focus on your goals.
Starting an exercise program is an important step toward better health, but it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming one. With planning, you can establish a healthy habit that lasts a lifetime.
Want a fun way to kick off your fitness program? Join us this Friday, Sept. 28, from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. in front of the Kennel Bookstore as we attempt the LARGEST group fitness class on a college campus. Whether you are a Zumba expert or a first-time attempter, all are welcome to participate in this fun and upbeat experience!
Healthy Bulldogs is written by the staff of the Student Health and Counseling Center to encourage Fresno State students to build and maintain a healthy lifestyle.