Having a regular, structured fitness program can provide cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and even psychological benefits and also improve athletic performance. Dr. Scott Rodeo, Orthopedic Surgeon, provides the following tips for starting a fitness program:
1. Perform cardio and strength training. An optimal fitness program includes a mix of aerobic exercise for cardiovascular fitness and resistance training for development of muscle strength and endurance.
2. Aerobic exercise. Swimming, cycling, using an elliptical machine and jogging are typical aerobic activities that are highly effective in developing aerobic fitness.
3. Strength training. Resistance exercise is necessary to build muscle strength and endurance. This is done with light weights, resistive elastic bands or various machines.
4. Switch days for exercises. Different exercises should be done on different days, which allows time for recovery for specific muscle groups and also helps minimize the risk of overuse injury.
5. Include stretching exercises. Flexibility is also critically important for optimal muscle function and injury prevention, and thus regular stretching exercises should be part of the overall program.
6. Injury prevention. Any new exercise or activity should be started gradually to allow the joints, muscles, and supporting structures to adapt to the new loads. If there has been a prior joint injury, it may best to review the planned exercises with a physician prior to beginning a new program.
For complete tips on starting a fitness program, click here.
Dr. Scott Rodeo is a clinician-scientist at Hospital for Special Surgery. He specializes in sports medicine injuries of the knee, shoulder, ankle, and elbow. He also performs arthritis surgery of the knee and shoulder, including joint replacement surgery.