Editor's Note: May is National Physical Fitness and Sports month. The following information about health and fitness if from the The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports web site at: http://www.fitness.gov/fitness.htm.
Fitness Fundamentals: Guidelines for Personal Exercise Programs
Make a commitment
You have taken the important first step on the path to physical fitness by seeking information. The next step is to decide that you are going to be physically fit. This information is designed to help you reach that decision and your goal.
The decision to carry out a physical fitness program cannot be taken lightly. It requires a lifelong commitment of time and effort. Exercise must become one of those things that you do without question, like bathing and brushing your teeth. Unless you are convinced of the benefits of fitness and the risks of unfitness, you will not succeed.
Patience is essential. Don't try to do too much too soon and don't quit before you have a chance to experience the rewards of improved fitness. You can't regain in a few days or weeks what you have lost in years of sedentary living, but you can get it back if you persevere. And the prize is worth the price.
The following is just the beginning of the information available about physical fitness from the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.
Checking your health
If you're under 35 and in good health, you don't need to see a doctor before beginning an exercise program. But if you are over 35 and have been inactive for several years, you should consult your physician, who may or may not recommend a graded exercise test.
Other conditions that indicate a need for medical clearance are:
- High blood pressure.
- Heart trouble.
- Family history of early stroke or heart attack deaths.
- Frequent dizzy spells.
- Extreme breathlessness after mild exertion.
- Arthritis or other bone problems.
- Severe muscular, ligament or tendon problems.
- Other known or suspected disease.
Vigorous exercise involves minimal health risks for persons in good health or those following a doctor's advice. Far greater risks are presented by habitual inactivity and obesity.
For further information, see the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports web site at: http://www.fitness.gov/fitness.htm.