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  • Writer's pictureJim

Are You Ready?

Robert Sweetgall took a walk in 1981. The walk covered 10,600 miles and 37 states on a trip around the perimeter of the United States. During the trip, he wore out 25 pairs of shoes. Robert Sweetgall took his first step on the road to fitness long before he began his trip around the country. The first step for Robert Sweetgall took place in 1976 when his father, aunt, and two uncles died of heart disease. These personal losses proved to be the motivation he needed to change from a sedentary to an active lifestyle.

Prior to embarking on the fitness trail, Mr. Sweetgall left a high paying job as a chemical engineer. For almost 30 years, Robert Sweetgall was the Johnny Appleseed of fitness, spreading the word on fitness walking to anyone who will listen, during his lectures, on his trips across the United States and through his books on fitness walking.

Fortunately, a dramatic personal loss isn’t necessary to start an exercise program. Everyone needs to fit exercise into their daily routine. Before starting an activity program, you should know the answers to the following questions. How much exercise is enough? What type of exercise should be done? How do I know if exercise is safe for me? Analyze the benefits and risks of starting an exercise program before beginning your program. Family history, age, cholesterol level, blood pressure, bodyweight, smoking, sex and activity level all influence the risk of starting an exercise program. Consult with your physician or an exercise specialist is you have any concerns that exercise may not be safe for you.

Exercise is important for many reasons. The primary reasons to exercise are to improve the capacity of the heart and lungs to process oxygen and to improve or maintain strength as we age. Exercise also helps give you more energy, increases resistance to fatigue, helps counter anxiety and depression, tones muscles, burns calories to assist in losing and maintaining weight, helps control appetite, improves athletic performance and body shape.

The best type of exercise to improve the cardiovascular system is aerobic exercise. Cardiovascular exercise, sometimes referred to as aerobic exercise or cardio exercise, or conditioning is exercise which helps the heart and blood vessels keep the blood circulating efficiently throughout the body. Aerobic exercises are those which are rhythmic in nature, uses large muscle groups, and can be done over a long period of time. Another benefit of cardiovascular exercise is improved heart function. The heart works efficiently by pumping more blood with fewer strokes and recovers more rapidly from exercise than before cardiovascular training. As blood flow is increased, greater amounts of oxygen are delivered and used by the muscle cells which enables you to perform work. Other benefits may include a lowering in blood pressure in individuals with high blood pressure and reduced total cholesterol levels in the blood. Walking is a good example of aerobic exercise. Bicycling, swimming, jogging, and cross-country skiing are other examples of aerobic exercise. Conditioning and group exercise classes also fall into this category.

To achieve benefits from aerobic exercise, your goal should be to perform aerobic type exercises three or more times per week, for 30-60 minutes at approximately 60% of your maximum capacity. Many people who have not exercised, may need to begin with a program of lower intensity and gradually work up to these goals.

Resistance exercise improves strength, balance, body composition and metabolic rate, (how many calories your body burns at rest). Resistance or strength training includes using barbells or dumbells, kettlebells, bodyweight, and weight resistance machines.

Robert Sweetgall knew where he was going. His fitness journey was born out of personal loss. Start your own personal journey towards achieving a healthy lifestyle. Take the first step in improving your fitness level by committing yourself to an exercise program.

If you are ready to change your lifestyle, complete our contact form at and we will help you get started on the road to fitness and health.

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