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Patients often ask me what kind of exercise is the best to do. My response is typically, “the kind you will do”. The most important thing about exercise is that you have to do it consistently. The following is a list of physical activity that would be good for anyone trying to achieve optimal health.


Walking vigorously, hiking, climbing stairs, swimming, aerobics, dancing, bicycling, skating, skiing, tennis, basketball, volleyball, or other sports are just some examples of physical activity that will give you a good aerobic workout; that is increase your heart rate and make you breathe harder both are important for increasing your physical fitness. It is also important to include some strength training in your program. Strength training is best accomplished with resistance training such as weight lifting with hand held weights, elastic bands, or weight machines these activities can help you build lean muscle mass. Flexibility is also very important so activities such as stretching and yoga should be added to your regimen as well.

I think one of the most important aspects of a fitness regimen is that you do physical activities you really enjoy. So if you don’t like walking, don’t start a walking program. Why torture yourself! The more fun you have, the more likely you are to do it each day. Try something that you have never tried before like zumba or line dancing. Who knows you might find a new passion. I personally find it helpful to listen to music when I exercise. It makes it feel more like dancing than exercise. If I am on the treadmill I read, before I know it the time has passed. Sometimes I stay on a little longer so that I can get to the end of the chapter. It can also be helpful to exercise with a family member or friend, but it is important to find someone who is dedicated to their fitness regimen. Whatever it takes just figure out how you can exercise, and do it consistently.

In addition to the physical benefits, studies have shown that regular exercise elevates mood, increases feelings of well-being, and reduces anxiety and depression.

Exercise includes a variety of movements and activities.

RECREATIONAL EXERCISE is meant for enjoyment and relaxation, while THERAPEUTIC EXERCISE is intended to alleviate or prevent a particular problem. Sometimes an exercise can serve as both recreational and therapeutic. Swimming is such an exercise because frolicking and splashing in the water has always been recreational. Yet, with careful attention to arm and shoulder movements, swimming can meet both the recreational and therapeutic needs of someone who has arthritis of the shoulder. THERE ARE ANUMBER OF TYPES OF EXERCISE, EACH OF WHICH HAS A SPECIFIC PURPOSE.

AEROBIC OR ENDURANCE EXERCISE improves the body's capacity to use fuel and oxygen. Swimming, bicycling, jogging and power walking are examples of this type of exercise. The body's cardiovascular system bene- fits through increased blood supply to the muscles, and enhanced oxygen delivery throughout the body. Just twenty minutes a day of sustained aerobic activity can lower blood pressure and strengthen heart function.

RANGE OF MOTION EXERCISESTRENGTH EXERCISES help a muscle's ability to con- tract and do work. Doing sit-ups, weight lifting or Pilates is a way of strengthening the body's muscle groups. One exercise rarely achieves two goals. For instance a STRENGTHENING EXERCISE will not significantly affect endurance, and RANGE OF MOTION exercises will not necessarily improve strength. A total exercise program must consider the individual's goals, and include activities designed to achieve those goals.

Don't view exercise as a chore. Try to select activities that you enjoy and look forward to doing. Whatever exercise program you choose, begin slowly, listen to your body, and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workout.

To maintain health and wellbeing, you must maintain physical fitness.

“My Sister’s Keeper…” has a complete discussion of the various types of exercise. As you put your plan together for optimal wellness this tool will help you determine what exercise will help you attain your fitness goals.


Dr. Jill Waggoner
Charlton Medical Group
3450 West Wheatland Road
Physician Offices II, Suite 340
Dallas, Texas  75237

T 972.217.3007

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PO Box 2118

Desoto, Tx 75213


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