Exercise: Getting Started
You've heard you should be exercising regularly, but are unclear on the specifics. Knowing why you should exercise and how much will help you make goals and stick to them.
Why should I exercise?
The benefits of regular exercise go beyond getting toned. Among other things, exercise:
- Brings you peace: Exercise causes your body to release endorphins, chemicals that help you feel more peaceful and even help improve depression and anxiety.
- Relaxes your body, helping you sleep better.
- Helps you unwind and provides a break from the day. For example, going on a run is often a great way to clear your mind and relax after a stressful day.
- Tones your muscles and burns calories, helping you maintain a healthy weight. Keep in mind, this is only true for moderate amounts of exercise. Over exercising can be unhealthy and even dangerous if taken to extremes.
- Gives you energy: By increasing your physical stamina, you can do other activities without working so hard.
- Helps you age well: Studies have found that weight bearing exercises – like running, jumping, or brisk walking – will help keep your bones strong. This is especially important for women, who are more prone to developing osteoporosis, a condition that increases the likelihood of getting bone fractures.
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How much should I exercise?
Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that adults get at least two and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise every week. Aerobic activity is also known as cardio. Cardio exercise makes your heart beat faster and your breathing harder.
One way to meet the two-and-a-half-hour goal is to exercise for 30 minutes five days a week. Some examples of aerobic exercise are:
- Bike riding
- Canoeing or kayaking
- Martial arts
- Rock climbing
- Scuba diving
When exercising, try to pick something you are interested in, even if you haven't tried it before, and give it a shot. It is much easier to exercise consistently if you are doing something you enjoy.
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- Jen Hawkins, public health education intern
- Nicole Aguirre, college writer (Stanford ’12)
Below are links PAMF accessed when researching this topic. PAMF does not sponsor or endorse any of these sites, nor does PAMF guarantee the accuracy of the information contained on them.
A Report from the Surgeon General, Physical Activity and Health.
Aerobic Activity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For More Information:
See our Setting Exercise Goals article.
Reviewed By:Nancy Brown, Ph.D.
Last Reviewed: July 29, 2013