Starting an exercise programme
Congratulations! By researching this topic we can see that you are taking an interest in your own health and looking into ways to improve on it.
An exercise programme should not be seen as a daunting challenge, but rather one that will be unique to you. Don’t try to copy what you see on social media, Rather listen to your body and do what you enjoy. Remember that your main goal is to boost your health by meeting the basic physical activity recommendations: a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week (for example: 30 minutes per day, five days a week) and muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week (2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans).
Guidelines for healthy adults
(Under age 65 with no apparent chronic disease. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any chronic disease or find yourself in the over 65 years of age category.)
- Set aside time each day to exercise.
- Getting started with an exercise programme can often be the most difficult part of any such routine.
- Scheduling exercise into your day and making it a priority will increase the chance of being successful.
- Remember the aim is to get in 150 minutes per week and also give your body time to recover.
- Rather start with a low intensity form of exercise than a high intensity form when it comes to aiming for a time-based programme.
- Choose cardiovascular activities you enjoy, such as swimming, cycling, or playing soccer with friends to determine your daily physical activity.
- If you need a variety of activities to stay motivated, combine a few that appeal to you.
- Physical activity can be accumulated through a variety of activities, not just running.
- Walking is a great way to do moderate-intensity physical activity.
- Moderate-intensity physical activity means working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat, yet still being able to carry on a conversation.
- You can also start your routine with 10 to 15 minutes of cardiovascular exercise daily.
- Each week, add five minutes to your exercise programme until you reach 30 minutes of moderate intensity for a minimum of five days per week.
- Alternately, you may do 20 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise three days per week.
- The 30-minute recommendation is for the average healthy adult to maintain health and reduce the risk for chronic disease.
- It should be noted that to lose weight or maintain weight loss, 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity may be necessary.
Example of an exercise schedule
|MPA||25 min||25 min||25 min||25 min||25 min||25 min||REST|
|MPA||30 min||30 min||REST||30 min||30 min||30 min||REST|
A good way to monitor your body’s adaptation is what we call the ’24 hour response’.
- Take note of what time you do your first activity and the duration of your activity.
- 24 hours after the first activity, check in with your body.
- I feel good: do the same activity for the same duration.
- I am in discomfort: half the time and do the same activity.
- I am in pain: skip today and check in again in 24 hours.
Only after a whole week of reporting an ‘I feel good’ check in, can you increase your duration by 10%. eg. 25min will now become 27min 30sec.
This rule applies even if you had to half your duration due to an ‘I am in discomfort’ check in. eg. 25min halved turned into 12min 30sec and will increase to 13min 45sec. (Adapted method)
Incorporate strength training into your routine.
- Do eight to 10 strength training exercises, eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise twice a week.
- This can be accomplished by using dumbbells, resistance bands or your own body weight.
- Put it on paper where you can see your plan and your adjustments.
- It makes things easier when you need to get advice on exercise if you can demonstrate or explain what you have been doing in the past.
How can your physiotherapist help you?
- By assessing your fitness level if you find yourself struggling to keep up with your programme.
- Doing a posture and biomechanical assessment if you start experiencing pain.
- Assist you on how to use certain exercise equipment.
- Provide you with more personalised advice regarding your health journey.
This article was updated by Danielle Ross from the Douglasdale branch of Lamberti Physiotherapy. If you would like some assistance in getting started on your journey to good health, contact her directly or else complete this easy appointment form to book a session.
- Koep J, Rickard S 2017 Exercise for Pain Rehabilitation. Module 4, Train Pain Academy, Johannesburg