The 5 basic elements of a fitness program

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well-designed fitness program
the 5 must of a well-done fitness routine


Whether you are a beginner taking the first steps toward fitness or an exercise master hoping to optimize your results, designing an organized and effective fitness training program is essential and crucial in order to achieve the best results. When designing a fitness program, try to make sure you include these five basic elements to create an effective program.


Flexibility and stretching


Flexibility is an important part of physical fitness. Some types of physical activity, such as dancing, require more flexibility than others. Stretching exercises are effective in increasing flexibility, and thereby can allow people to more easily do activities that require greater flexibility. Stretching also improves the range of motion of your joints and promotes better posture. Regular stretching can even help relieve stress. For this reason, stretching and flexibility activities are an appropriate part of a physical activity program. Before you stretch, warm up by walking or doing a favourite exercise at low intensity for 5-10 minutes. And much better if you stretch after you exercise when your muscles are warm and receptive to stretching. Ideally, you will stretch whenever you exercise. If you do not exercise regularly, you might want to stretch at least three times a week after warming up to maintain flexibility. Activities such as yoga promote flexibility too.

Balance training

Older adults in particular should include in their routine exercises to maintain or improve balance. This is important because balance tends to deteriorate with age, which can lead to falls and fractures. Try standing on one leg for increasing periods of time to improve your overall stability. Activities such as tai-chi can promote balance too.

Strength training

Muscular fitness is another key component of a fitness training program. Strength training at least twice a week can help you increase bone strength and muscular fitness. It can also help you maintain muscle mass during a weight-loss program. Most fitness centers offer various resistance machines, free weights and other tools for strength training. But you do not need to invest in a gym membership or expensive equipment to reap the benefits of strength training. Hand-held weights or homemade weights will work just as well. Resistance bands are another option. You can even use your own body with calisthenic exercises such as push-ups, abdominal crunches and leg squats.

Core exercises

The muscles in your abdomen, lower back and pelvis, known as core muscles, help protect your back and connect upper and lower body movements. Core strength is a key element of a well-designed fitness training program. Core exercises help train your muscles to brace the spine and enable you to use your upper and lower body muscles more effectively. Any exercise that uses the trunk of your body without support, including abdominal crunches would be good enough. You can also try various core exercises with a fitness ball.

Aerobic exercise

Aerobic exercise, also known as cardio, is fundamental on most fitness training programs. Aerobic exercise causes you to breathe faster and more deeply, which maximizes the amount of oxygen in your blood. The better your aerobic fitness, the more efficiently your heart, lungs and blood vessels transport oxygen throughout your body, and the easier it is to complete routine physical tasks and rise to other physical challenges. Aerobic exercise includes any physical activity that uses large muscle groups and increases your heart rate such as walking, jogging, biking, swimming, dancing, water aerobics. Aim for at least 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 1 hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity, preferably spread throughout the week.

Whether you create your own fitness training program or enlist the help of an online or gym personal trainer, aerobic fitness, strength training and core exercises, balance training, and stretching and flexibility should be part of your overall exercise plan. It is not necessary to fit each of these elements into every fitness session, but factoring them into your regular routine can help you promote fitness for life.

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