It?s best to increase your activity in all three
areas of fitness: flexibility, aerobic fitness, and muscle fitness. You can
work on all three areas without leaving home.
Flexibility and stretching
Flexibility is the ability to move your joints
and muscles through their full range of motion. Stretching is an activity that
helps you to be more flexible. It's also something you can easily do at
Stretching at home
Warm up your muscles slightly
before you stretch them. Walk or do some other light aerobic exercise for a few
minutes, and then start stretching.
Ease yourself into the stretch, relax, and don't push or bounce. You should feel a
stretch, but not pain, in the muscle.
Exhale as you do the stretch. While you hold the stretch, inhale deeply.
Try closing your eyes while you stretch. It
helps you relax.
Take a moment to enjoy the
good, warm feeling that comes after a good stretch.
Exercise DVDs can teach you more about stretching various
Aerobic fitness (endurance)
Aerobic fitness means increasing how well your
body uses oxygen. Look for activities that make your heart beat faster and make
you breathe harder.
Experts suggest that you do at least 2½ hours
of moderate activity a week or at least 1¼ hours of vigorous activity a week.
It's fine to do blocks of 10 minutes or more throughout your day and week.
Aerobic activities you can do from home
Take a brisk walk.
stationary bike about 10 to 12 miles per hour.
perhaps to lively music.
Rake leaves or shovel snow.
Play actively with your children.
Jog or run.
Ride a stationary
bike at least 12 miles per hour.
Play a basketball game in the
Use an aerobic dance DVD.
Use a stair-climber or skiing machine.
Muscle fitness (strength)
fitness means building stronger muscles and increasing how long you can use
them. You can strengthen a muscle by doing any activity that pushes or pulls
against that muscle.
Experts say that you should work on
strengthening your muscles at least 2 times a week. Focus on the large muscle
groups in your arms, legs, back, chest, and core.
Strengthening your muscles at home
Do familiar exercises, like push-ups
and leg lifts.
Use rubber tubing or
stretchable bands to add resistance as your muscles work against the elastic.
Use free weights ("dumbbells") or a
weight-training machine. If you don't have free weights, you can lift soup
cans, water bottles, or books.
Do housework and yard work, such as scrubbing the bathtub, washing walls, tilling the
garden, or pulling weeds, on a regular basis.
Strengthen your core. Pull in your
belly. Imagine pulling your belly button back toward your spine. Hold this for
5 to 10 seconds, then relax. Breathe normally as you hold the muscle tight.
Repeat. You can do this exercise anywhere, in any position.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.