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A Resolution Worth Keeping: Exercise Regularly

By Lisa E. Stafford
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10, 1998 – We are well into the new year. Now is the time to start keeping one of your New Year's resolutions. You know, the one about exercising regularly and losing those extra pounds from the holidays.

Service members don’t have much of a problem – physical fitness standards take care of that. Also, DoD has various health and wellness programs for family members and civilian workers to ensure that fitness is a priority.

Numerous activities can burn off those extra pounds, such as swimming, cycling, jogging, skiing, tennis, aerobic dancing -- or just a walking briskly in the evening after dinner.

Many people find it hard to start an exercise program and even harder to stick to one. Maybe you're the kind of person who needs a structured program with a trainer. Or maybe you can make exercise part of your daily routine. Either way, the goal is a healthier, happier you -- don't make exercise an overwhelming chore.

The American Heart Association attributes heart attacks and strokes partially to a sedentary lifestyle. If you are overweight, or have a high risk of heart disease, or have other chronic health problems, see your doctor for a medical, evaluation before beginning any physical activity program. After getting your doctor's permission, exercise gradually if you have been sedentary a long time.

The American Heart Association recommends the following tips for exercising success:

  • Choose activities that are fun and not exhausting.
  • Don't rely too much on one activity. Developing a variety of activities you enjoy will prevent boredom and dissatisfaction.
  • Be sure to wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Choose loose-fitting clothing that is appropriate for the weather and the activity.
  • Have a convenient time and place to exercise, and try to make it a habit. However, be flexible. If you must miss a session, try to work exercise into your day in another way.
  • Try using music to keep you entertained as well as motivated.
  • Find a partner. Workouts are sometimes easier and more fun if you can find someone to exercise with you regularly.
  • If you have children, also get them involved. Be a role model -- instilling physical activity early will help them avoid weight problems later.
  • Start slowly. Try not to overdo. Start with low to moderate level activities and slowly increase the duration and intensity over a period of time. o Keep a record of your activities. Reward yourself once you have reached certain goals. Success is a powerful motivator.

The chart below shows the approximate calories spent per hour by a person weighing 100, 150 and 200 pounds doing these particular activities:

Activity 100 lb. 150 lb. 200 lb.
Bicycle, 6 mph 160 240 312
Bicycle, 12 mph 270 410 534
Jog, 7 mph 610 920 1,230
Jump rope 500 750 1,000
Run, 5.5 mph 440 660 962
Run, 10 mph 850 1,280 1,664
Swim, 25yds/min 185 27535
Swim, 50 yds/min 325 500 650
Tennis singles 265 1,400 535
Walk, 2 mph 160 240 312
Walk, 3 mph 210 320 416
Walk, 4.4 mph 295 440 572
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