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Fitness 101: Foundation for a Healthy Movement

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend a minimum of 150 minutes/week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity). These minutes can be spread throughout the week as it works best for your schedule and physical abilities. Begin slowly and gradually increase to the overall goal. Strength training 2-3 times/week is also recommended. A rest day between strength activities (weights, resistance bands, etc.) is necessary to allow muscles to repair between strength-focused workouts.

Stretching is crucial in overall healthy movement. Gently warm up muscles before stretching at the beginning of a workout: casual walking, marching in place, or side steps, with arm circles and shoulder rolls, are examples of a gentle warm-up. Stretching after a workout helps to prevent muscle cramps and tightening and improves overall flexibility. Pilates and yoga workouts can be added to your weekly routine for focused flexibility work.

Benefits of exercise:

  • Weight management
  • Blood sugar control
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Brain health
  • Decreased cancer risk
  • Improved mood
  • Increased energy
  • Improved concentration
  • Strength
  • Improved sleep
  • Flexibility
  • Balance

Common excuses NOT to exercise:

  • “Too tired”
  • “Too busy”
  • “Too expensive”
  • “Too weak”
  • “Too stiff”
  • “Too old”
  • “Too boring”

Alternatives to excuses:

  • Start slowly
  • Increase activity gradually
  • Buddy up
  • Set achievable goals
  • Move in small segments throughout the day
  • Prevention of health issues through exercise and diet saves money!
  • Choose movement that is enjoyable for YOU

Make movement FUN!

  • Dance
  • Bike
  • Play tennis/pickleball
  • Take nature walks
  • Participate in water aerobics
  • Swim
  • Hike
  • Garden
  • Ice skate
  • Roller blade
  • Play team sports

What movement do YOU enjoy??

About the author

Leslee Blanch

Leslee Blanch is a registered dietitian and group fitness instructor with a passion to promote wellness for individuals and for the community. As a Family and Consumer Sciences associate educator with University of Idaho Extension in Bonneville County, she offers a variety of wellness topics, including nutrition, fitness, and mental/emotional well-being.

Registered Dietitian
Certified Group Fitness Instructor

Family and Consumer Sciences Associate Extension Educator

[email protected]