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After completing this chapter, you should be able to do the following:

  • Identify the basic principles of a fitness program.

  • Discuss the importance of the warm-up and cool-down periods.

  • Determine your individual goals for your fitness program.

  • Identify precautions for beginning a fitness program.


  • overload

  • SAID principle

  • progression

  • consistency

  • specificity

  • warm-up

  • cool-down

At this point, you should have some idea about why you need to get fit. Your individual reasons and motivations have been identified in Chapter 1. Beginning a fitness program is not difficult. But some individuals do find it challenging to find the time and occasionally the motivation to fit physical activity into their busy schedules. There are several strategies that you can use to ensure that your program will be successful at achieving your goals and yet fun and enjoyable.

The Program Should Be Fun and Enjoyable

Enjoying yourself may be one of the most critical factors for a successful fitness program over the long run. The activity you select must be one that you enjoy and that provides motivation to continue for a lifetime (Fig. 3-1). If you like playing tennis, soccer, or basketball or maybe riding your bike you may be more likely to continue engaging in that activity over the course of your life than if you choose an activity that you don't really enjoy. For example, a quick look at the streets on a sunny day will show that running is a popular form of physical activity. There is no question that a running program eventually will result in significant improvement in cardiorespiratory endurance. Personally, I hate to run and would prefer to do any other activity. If I were to select running as my fitness activity because it is "in" and not because I enjoy doing it, then chances are that I would not stick with it for long. This is not to say that there is not some potential value in doing some things you don't enjoy with the understanding that "enjoyment" will come later. For example, although golfing can be extremely frustrating initially, with practice it can become a rewarding and enjoyable activity as you improve. You should enjoy getting into good physical condition, and a successful fitness program will be considered fun rather than work.

Figure 3-1

Exercise programs. An exercise program should be fun and enjoyable. Courtesy of Shironosov/iStock/Thinkstock.

Adhering to an Exercise Program

Motivation plays an important role in your ability to stick with an exercise program. You should select the type of activity that will allow you to do two things: (1) achieve the ultimate goals of physical fitness improvement that you have established for yourself, and (2) maintain your interest and motivation for a long ...

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