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Starting Your Aerobic Exercise Program

Exercise Overload - Your aerobic exercise program should be based upon three important (ACSM) overload components remembered as the F.I.T. Components.

1. F = Frequency - A minimum of three exercise sessions per week is necessary for aerobic fitness development. A Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule gives you a day of rest between exercise sessions.

2. I = Intensity - An intensity between 40% and 50% of maximum heart rate reserve is necessary for fitness development. Start at 40% and increase as fitness develops. (See the Walking For Fun and Fitness sheet for the Karvonen formula to calculate your target heart rate.)

3. T = Time - You must exercise continually for 20-40 minutes for fitness development. Start with 10 minutes of walking and gradually increase to the 20-40 minute range as fitness develops.

Warning - Consult with your physician prior to beginning your aerobic exercise program. Slow down if you experience any muscular discomfort or excessive fatigue.

Getting Started

1. Start with walking. (Walking For Fun and Fitness Program).
2. Measure a one-mile course. (The arena track is six laps to the mile).
3. Slowly walk for 10 minutes each day of the first three-day exercise week.
You may not feel that this is much of an effort. However, you must build muscular strength during the initial stages of your exercise program. Check your target heart rate at 5 minutes and at the end.
4. Walk for 20 minutes on each of the three exercise days of your second week. Check your target heart rate at 10 minutes and at the end.
5. Walk for 30 minutes on each of the three exercise days of your third week. Check your target heart rate at 15 minutes and at the end.
6. You are now ready to pick up the pace (speed) of walking and, if you have not made the full mile, you should be nearing that target distance.
7. As you gain muscular strength and cardiorespiratory fitness, you will be able to push past that one-mile limit using your 30-minute duration as your end point.
8. With improved fitness, you will be able to stretch both the time and distance of walking.

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