For many of us, the temptation to live life to the fullest can result in doing too much, too soon, too quickly. Starting an exercise program is a key example of this concept. We know it’s good for us. Perhaps we’ve been ‘intending’ to transition into an active lifestyle for many years. But then, when the time comes, we try leaping directly from a sedentary existence into a run-ten-miles-a-day Jack LaLanne lifestyle! The result: the agony of the ‘weekend warrior’ causes us to hobble back to the couch, where we moan, ‘Never again’.

Sound familiar? Even if you’re an adult who regularly plays golf or tennis on the weekend or goes for a long bike ride every Saturday, the limited number of muscles used may be in great shape, but many other muscle groups are underused. In addition, you’re depriving your body of the full amount of cardiovascular activity it needs. You’ll get the message from your body, though, if you undertake a project or chore that requires using underused muscles and taxes your cardiovascular system. Your body will quickly become sore, with the potential for becoming easily injured.

To live life to the fullest and enjoy a long and healthy life, it’s necessary to regularly exercise all parts of your body. You need to include strength development as well as cardio activity.

The good news: it’s never too late to get in shape! You can choose from a wide range of options, whether you go for long walks and then do strength training exercises in a park that contains outdoor fitness equipment, such as a TriActive Fitness Zone, or whether you choose to join a gym. You can turn yourself into an example of fitness that will inspire others to join you.

Just remember: if you have been inactive, you need to aim for a gradual transition. For example, start with a short walk around the block (if you have a dog, make this an opportunity to earn Fido’s gratitude!) Most of us are too impatient. We want quick results, and we engage in exercise or activity beyond our capabilities. Take the time needed to make exercise part of your daily lifestyle, and you’ll become a success story.

Be sure to check with your physician or other health care provider before starting your exercise program. Your doctor is aware of your special needs and can help you tailor your activity to any health concerns that you may have. Choosing the right exercise, activity, and diet for your own physical condition is a critical part of achieving success.

For details on how to become more active, we recommend that you begin by studying the U.S. Government’s guidelines for exercise.

In general, seek to do about thirty minutes minimum of cardio activity each day, if your doctor approves it. This can be as simple as walking or as complex as an aerobic dance class. Do what.s right for you, if your doctor approves. If just starting out, then do less initially. In addition, strength-training is important. For example, even using one-pound cans of soup from your home cupboard to perform simple bicep curls can improve your arm muscles! An excellent resource for learning more about strength training and weight-lifting is the American Council on Exercise (ACE).