Does your fitness routine measure UP?

Whether you’re new to exercise or have led an active lifestyle for years, it’s important to strive for a balanced fitness program. All exercise has benefits — so don’t miss out on an opportunity to be active, even if all you’ve got is 10 minutes. Click here for 8 easy ways to get an outdoor workout this spring and summer.

The activities in which you participate should be safe, efficient, effective, and above all, FUN! It’s important to remember that when something’s fun, we’re more likely to look forward to it, make time for it, and stick with it over the long term. A balanced approach to fitness however should take into account four elements.

Aerobic fitness: Participation in aerobic exercise (brisk walking, Nordic walking, running, group fitness classes, etc.) causes you to breathe faster and more deeply, which maximizes the oxygen in your blood. The better your aerobic fitness, the more efficiently your heart, lungs and blood vessels transport oxygen throughout your body. The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that adults, ages 18-64, get at least 150 minutes of heart pumping exercise each week. Research also tells us that one long workout doesn’t offset an otherwise sedentary day, so you may be better off enjoying three mini workouts every day instead of one longer one.

Strength training: Muscular fitness is another important element of a fitness program. Aim to participate in strength training exercises at least twice a week.

Core exercises: The muscles in your abdomen, lower back and pelvis are known as your core muscles. Happily, Nordic walking with proper form engages these muscles, helping to strengthen them.

Flexibility and stretching: Flexibility is an important part of fitness. Stretching exercises can help us increase flexibility, improve our range of motion, and lead to better posture. Even one yoga session a week can help us maintain or gain flexibility.

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