Developing an Exercise Programme

For most people who are not already active, starting a regular exercise programme means making a new habit or routine in your life.

This usually involves setting aside a period of time on most days of the week to make exercise a part of your day to day.

Exercise programmes that are recommended in guidelines today talk about four types of fitness:


Being flexible means you can move comfortably to do everything you need and want to do. Limited flexibility can cause pain, lead to injury, and make muscles work harder and tire more quickly. You lose flexibility when you’re inactive and as a result of illness or disease, but you can increase flexibility by doing some gentle stretching exercises, or trying Yoga and Pilates.


Muscles need to be exercised to maintain their strength. When inactive, muscles weaken and atrophy (shrink). When your muscles get weak, you feel weak and get tired quickly. Exercise programmes that ask muscles to do more work (such as lifting weights) strengthen muscles.

Endurance (aerobics)

Feeling energetic depends on the fitness of your heart, lungs, and muscles. The heart and lungs must work efficiently to send oxygen-rich blood to the muscles. The muscles must be fit enough to use the oxygen. Aerobic (“with oxygen”) exercise uses the large muscles of your body in continuous activity such as aerobic classes, walking, running ,swimming, dancing, mowing the lawn and riding a bike.

Aerobic exercise improves cardiovascular fitness, lessens heart attack risks, and helps control weight. Aerobic exercise also promotes a sense of wellbeing, eases depression and anxiety, promotes restful sleep, and improves mood and energy levels.


Good balance helps to keep you from falling. Strong and co-ordinated muscles in your trunk and legs are an important part of good balance. Flexibility, strength, and endurance also contribute to balance. Of course there are other causes of falls (poor vision, poor lighting, trips, getting dizzy), but being strong and co-ordinated are also very important. Certain exercises are especially good for improving balance like Yoga.

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