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Exercise (cont.)

Why Is Exercise Important?

The list of exercise benefits goes on and on. Without going into all the details, below is a list of exercise benefits, all backed by research to support every claim.

What's the Best Time to Exercise?

There isn't a best time to exercise. An exception might be if you exercise when you are tired and can't put 100% into your workouts. That could be late afternoon or late evening. But there has never been a study to prove that you get more benefit at one time of day compared with another.

How to Get Started if You're New to Exercising

Below are a few different routines for getting started with aerobic exercise. Walking is the most popular activity in the country and so it's featured in these routines.

  1. The simplest is the five-minutes out, five-minutes back plan by Mark Fenton. Just like it sounds, you walk out for five minutes, turn around and walk back. That's it, and off you go about your day. When you can do that easily enough, then go ahead and add two and a half minutes so that it's seven and a half out, seven and a half back, and on to 10 and then 15 minutes for a 30-minute walk. You can do this with outdoor biking as well, using 10-15 minutes out as the starting point.
  2. Below is a sure-fire weekly walking plan to get you fit. Work up to any time-limit you like.
Week Warm-Up Time Brisk Walk Time Cool-Down Time Total Time (min)
1 walk slowly 5 min walk briskly 5 min walk slowly 5 min 15
2 walk slowly 5 min walk briskly 8 min walk slowly 5 min 18
3 walk slowly 5 min walk briskly 11 min walk slowly 5 min 21
4 walk slowly 5 min walk briskly 14 min walk slowly 5 min 24
5 walk slowly 5 min walk briskly 17 min walk slowly 5 min 27
6 walk slowly 5 min walk briskly 20 min walk slowly 5 min 30
7 walk slowly 5 min walk briskly 23 min walk slowly 5 min 33
8 walk slowly 5 min walk briskly 26 min walk slowly 5 min 36
9 walk slowly 5 min walk briskly 29 min walk slowly 5 min 39
10 walk slowly 5 min walk briskly 33 min walk slowly 5 min 43
11 walk slowly 5 min walk briskly 37 min walk slowly 5 min 47
12 walk slowly 5 min walk briskly 42 min walk slowly 5 min 52
13 walk slowly 5 min walk briskly 47 min walk slowly 5 min 57
14 walk slowly 5 min walk briskly 53 min walk slowly 5 min 63
15 walk slowly 5 min walk briskly 60 min walk slowly 5 min 70

Walk three to five times per week. If you drop below three times per week, then keep the total Brisk-Walk-Time the same as the previous week. Walking briskly means you feel somewhere between "warm and slightly out of breath" to "out of breath and sweaty."

Check out the following sites for training programs for walking and running:

http://www.coolrunning.com/index.shtml (The site has a "Couch-to-5K Running Plan," which is a great way to get started.)

http://www.halhigdon.com

http://www.jeffgalloway.com/

http://www.runnersworld.com/home/ (Click on "training plans" in the left margin.)

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/20/2014

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