Planning your fitness program will require you to consider a number of things. They include factors of training such as flexibility, strength, endurance, body composition, balance, coordination, stress management, posture management and bioenergetics.

Principles for effective training are also important and should guide you as you establish your plan. The principle of adaptation, overload and progressive resistance are examples. In addition, an understanding of exercise intensity, frequency and duration are important.

As you proceed with the planning of your fitness program, keep in mind that it should be personalized and reflect your particular needs. Furthermore, you should consider its goals and objectives, your available days and times and the space (place where you will hold your sessions) and equipment available to you.

As you plan the overall program, consider the following points:

• Know the purpose of your program. Know what you want it to accomplish. Is it to lose weight, increase your endurance, lose your stomach, tone muscles or manage stress?

• Ensure that your goals are realistic and attainable. Losing 20 pounds in two days would certainly be unrealistic and even dangerous.

• Choose the factors of training that will be the basis of your program.

• Consider the principles that are appropriate to each factor.

• Consider your available time.

• Consider the terrain (indoor, outdoor, gym, home, etc.) and plan for the same. The clothing you wear, as an example, will be determined, to a great extent, on whether you exercise indoor or out.

• Decide on the specific exercise(s) that corresponds to each training factor. For instance, if you wanted to lose weight and had the choice of jogging for 30 minutes or performing several sets of crunches, you should know that the jogging activity would be the better choice.

• Know the difference between a set and a rep and decide on the number of sets and reps for each exercise in your program. If, for instance, you are going to perform the push up, the number of times you repeat it in one go would be the number of reps. If you did 20 reps, and, after a brief rest, you did another 20, you would have completed two sets of 20 reps.

• Decide on the length of time for each component of your program. Example: warm ups (5 minutes), aerobic activity (30 minutes), stretching (15 minutes), strengthening activities (20 minutes) and cool down (5 minutes).

• Determine the most suitable time(s) for your exercise session(s). If at all possible, you should plan your sessions for the early morning hours. If you have little time or are free at different points throughout the day, you might want to break up your single session into smaller sessions that you can carry out during those periods when you are free. You could, as an example, have your first session at some point in the morning, another session during your lunch break and a final session during the evening hours.

• Never leave the contents of your fitness program to memory. Write it out and review it frequently.

• Make use of the following exercise guidelines as you plan your program:

1. At least three sessions of exercise should be done each week.

2. Each session should last from 20 to 60 minutes; longer if necessary.

3. The contents of your exercise session should permit you to work at about 60 percent to 70 percent of your maximum capacity.

4. Whenever possible, your exercise sessions should be planned for the early morning hours.

• Attempting to improve your fitness and good health is always a good thing. Injuring yourself in the process is certainly something to avoid. It is, therefore, important that a well-planned exercise program include safety as one of its components.

For your fitness and good health, visit the Cultural Center’s Fitness Center or call 941-625-4175, ext. 263.

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