Exercise is essential for maintaining proper body weight, cardiovascular health, muscle strength, flexibility and bone density. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, regular exercise, including both cardio and strength training, reduces the signs and symptoms of conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, back pain and depression. A good exercise program balances cardio with weight training and follows the recommended guidelines or organizations such as the American College of Sports Medicine.
The ACSM recommends you train each major muscle group at least two to three times per week using free weights, machines or some other form of resistance. Adults should allow 48 hours of rest between exercising the same muscle group. For example, if you target your arms on Monday, you should not work your arms again until Wednesday. The ACSM recommends performing two to four sets of eight to 12 repetitions for each exercise.
Adults should participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 60 minutes of vigorous-intensity per week. You can do this in one exercise session or break it down throughout the week. Shorter sessions should be at least 10 minutes.
Exercise intensity varies for each individual. Determining the level of exercise intensity depends on how it is affecting your body. For moderate-intensity exercise, MayoClinic.com states that it should feel somewhat difficult. Breathing should quicken, a light sweat should develop after 10 minutes and you can still carry on a conversation. In contrast, vigorous-intensity exercise causes deep and rapid breathing, sweat after a few minutes and conversation becomes difficult.
In addition to weight training and cardio exercise, the ACSM recommends stretching exercises to increase flexibility, improve range of motion and reduce injury. Adults should perform stretching exercise two to three days a week. Before starting any new exercise program, consult a physician. Monitor your heart rate on a regular basis to make sure you are staying within your target heart rate. According to MayoClinic.com, the maximum heart rate for you is roughly calculated by subtracting your age from 220. Your physician can also recommend a target heart rate specific for you.
Deborah Lundin is a professional writer with more than 20 years of experience in the medical field and as a small business owner. She studied medical science and sociology at Northern Illinois University. Her passions and interests include fitness, health, healthy eating, children and pets.