Design a doctor-approved fitness routine

By: Dr. Ronald Charles, Vice President of Medical Affairs, Buckeye Community Health Plan

It's a new year and you want to build a new you. And whether you're young or old, a beginner or an expert, there are a few things to keep in mind when starting a new exercise routine.

Assessing Your Fitness Level and Setting Goals
The first step is probably the most important step of all â?? speaking with your physician. Itâ??s important to speak with your physician before starting any exercise regimen to make sure they donâ??t have any restrictions for you related to working out. They may also give you suggestions on the types of exercises that would help improve any health conditions you may have.

Once youâ??ve spoken with your physician, set specific and easy fitness goals. When looking at your schedule, be specific on when and where you are going to accomplish your workout.

Find Your Motivation, Not Excuses
If you are thinking about starting an exercise routine, you need to get rid of some of the excuses of why you CANâ??T exercise. Most people say, â??it is too difficult,â?? or â??Iâ??m too old,â?? or â??I have no time.â?? Itâ??s time to get rid of those thoughts and focus on why you WANT to start exercising.

Designing a Fitness Routine
No matter what age you are, when starting an exercise routine you should consider three different areas â?? stretching, aerobic exercise, and muscle strengthening.

Whatever kind of exercise routine you design, make sure to include stretching at the beginning and the end. This may include static stretching, the more traditional form of stretching where you hold a position for up to 30 seconds, or dynamic stretching, which is a form of light aerobic exercise that increases range of motion and blood and oxygen flow.

Incorporating some form of aerobic exercise is recommended as part of a regular exercise routine. The goal should be either 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) every week, 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., jogging or running) every week, or an equivalent mix of moderate and vigorous- intensity aerobic activity. For more fitness for all ages information, visit

Make Exercise A Group Activity
If you are trying to balance exercise and family time, think about inviting your family members to join you. Having other people exercise with you keeps you accountable for completing the activities. If you want to include your kids, make sure to ask them what they like to do. If itâ??s an activity they already enjoy they (and you) will be more likely to stay motivated. You can visit for more ideas on how to stay active with your family.

And donâ??t forget: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!