Creating a Physical Activity Schedule
Seniorlink Center for Clinical Excellence
Creating a Physical Activity Schedule
First, before starting any exercise routine, check with your doctor to determine which physical activities are right for you.
Secondly, find something you like to do. I have friends who love running. They compete in 5K’s and marathons and enjoy it (even when its cold outside). I hate running and being cold so I can tell you this is something I will not stick with! I do enjoy walking the dogs. I typically take the dogs to a local bike trail on Sunday’s and we walk a couple miles. If I increase the days we walk or increase the distance I am increasing my activity. Now increasing the distance is probably not the best option for us because both the dogs and I are out of shape, so it would be best for us to simply add another walk day. On days the weather doesn’t permit walking outside have an alternate plan in mind, like the mall, on a treadmill or local school. Obviously, the dog couldn’t join you at these places, but you’re still benefitting. When my dad came to visit, he walked up and down the driveway to keep up his routine. Below is a list of common activities you could chose from for an idea of where to start.
Third, schedule your activity like any other appointment. Life gets busy, especially as caregivers, and I find structure helps maintain stability. I am sure most of you have a typical routine for every day, what time people get up, have breakfast, take naps, etc. and sometimes things happen that alters that routine. A little leeway is always needed, but if something big happens it throws off the rest of your day. By scheduling your appointment to exercise, you are more likely to be successful. If you can find a buddy to keep you accountable, that would be great. If you’re a visual person, make a log, if you’re auditory set an alarm on your phone.
Lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself. If you miss a day just get back on schedule. Things happen. The important to remember Don’t let a bad week turn into a band month. You can start again by recommitting today.
Talk To Your Doctor
❖ Talking to your doctor is important to help decide which physical activities are safe for you. Ask if you need a physical exam (sometimes called an exercise stress test) before you start a new program. Once you start your exercise program, contact your doctor right away if you experience shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness or severe nausea during a workout.
Choose What You Like To Do
Physical activity can take many forms. Think of the things you like to do indoors or outside that involve movement and build a list. Here are some ideas:
Assess Your Fitness Level
You probably have some idea of how fit you are. But assessing and recording baseline fitness scores can give you benchmarks against which to measure your progress. To assess your aerobic and muscular fitness, flexibility, and body composition, consider recording:
❖ Your pulse rate before and immediately after walking 1 mile (1.6 kilometers)
❖ How long it takes to walk 1 mile, or how long it takes to run 1.5 miles (2.41 kilometers)
❖ How many standard or modified pushups you can do at a time
❖ How far you can reach forward while seated on the floor with your legs in front of you
❖ Your waist circumference, just above your hipbones
❖ Your body mass index
Build activity into your daily routine.
Finding time to exercise can be a challenge. To make it easier, schedule time to exercise as you would any other appointment. Plan to watch your favorite show while walking on the treadmill, read while riding a stationary bike, or take a break to go on a walk at work.
❖ Start low and progress slowly.
❖ If you're just beginning to exercise, start cautiously and progress slowly.
❖ Build activity into your daily routine.
❖ Finding time to exercise can be a challenge. To make it easier, schedule time to exercise as you would any other appointment and keep a log to keep yourself on track.
Physical activity tips
Get the most out of your active lifestyle by following these tips:
❖ Choose an activity you enjoy
❖ Start with easy, short activities and build on them to avoid injury
❖ Warm up before you start
❖ Stretch when you’re finished
❖ Drink plenty of water
Remember, gor most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. It only takes three weeks of consistency for a routine to become a habit.