If today is a sign winter has finally come to an end for this year. Most of us attending the Coffee Club this morning agreed that it is time to get serious about getting fit. Some of us want to lose a few pounds for a summer trip. Others are planning to attend a family or class reunion. A couple of the ladies said they are just ready to do what they can to be healthier. Uncle Bud does not care why. He is simply elated that we are actually talking about wanting to be fit. Not sure how the old fellow does it but once again he seems to have known what we would be thinking about today and is ready, and oh so willing, to share with us a sample plan for an exercise program.
We joke about how nice it would be to have the ability to just “think fit” while taking a few minutes to finish our coffee, tea, or water. Then Uncle Bud takes the floor. He has a sample workout program printed out but lets us know it is only a sample and each of us should modify the plan to suit our personal needs.
Uncle Bud tells us it is important to consider three components as we plan our physical fitness program. These components are:
F – Frequency (how often should you exercise?)
I – Intensity (how hard should the exercise be?)
T – Time (how much time needs to be devoted to each exercise session?)
When Carl brags on Uncle Bud for using the word fit to label the components he laughs and tells us he did not come up with it but found it while reviewing information. He shares that the recommendations for each section he is going to give us are adapted from the American College Sports Medicine’s guidelines. Not one to waste time he gets back to the program quickly.
F – Three to five times a week.
I – 60 to 85% of your maximum heart rate (consult an exercise professional to set a safe target heart rate zone)
T – Start with two 10 minute sessions or one 20 minute session of continuous activity.
You should be able to carry on a light conversation without becoming breathless while doing your aerobic exercise.
F – Two to three times per week.
I – Four repetitions per muscle group in a slow, controlled fashion.
T – Each stretch should be held for 10-30 seconds.
Avoid stretching to the point it is painful. If your muscles are tight, only stretch for 10 seconds. Repeat the stretch several times until you are able to do it for the 30 seconds. Exhale as you stretch. (This does not replace the stretching you should do before all workouts)
F – Two to three days per week is optimal.
I – Minimum of one set of 8-12 repetitions. The last few reps should be harder than the first few but still doable.
T – 8-10 exercises involving the major muscle groups should be performed.
In order to provide muscular balance for function and symmetry it’s important to work the muscles in the front of the body as well as those in the back.
Time has run out. As we leave we promise each other to put a real effort into starting our workouts. Uncle Bud is so excited we do not want to let him down. He reminds us not to do this for him but for ourselves.