Exercise Program

What Can I Do Today?

Interested in starting or revving up your fitness program? Then, grab a piece of paper and a pencil and let’s get started! One of the best places to begin is by setting personal goals. Carefully crafted goals can help you achieve what you really want in life. It’s time well spent for a healthy, fulfilling, and rewarding life. If you haven’t recently taken the time to set goals, why not do it today? Think about what is really important to you and then set goals that are truly meaningful. Review them often — perhaps placing them in your wallet or on your refrigerator — and if necessary revise them.

When developing goals and a fitness program, it’s best to keep the following characteristics in mind and make your goals SMART.

Goals need to be specific. Instead of setting a goal of “getting into better shape,” think about the specific area you want to improve. For example, if you want to improve your cardiovascular health so you don’t feel winded after going up a flight of stairs, a specific fitness goal may be “I will take a 30 minute walk everyday before dinner instead of watching television.” If you’re interested in building muscle mass and feeling more toned, a specific goal may be “I’ll go to the gym two times this week and lift weights — performing 1 set of 8-10 exercises that conditions my major muscle groups.” (To help you determine appropriate long-term cardiovascular, weight training, and flexibility goals see Table 1. Exercise Recommendations from the American College of Sports Medicine).

In order to evaluate your success, goals need to be measurable. For example, if your goal is “I’m going to walk 30 minutes everyday after work, ” be sure you can tell whether you are achieving it by wearing a watch so you can track your time. The point of setting "measurable" goals is to determine whether you are making progress on a daily, weekly or monthly basis or whether you need to stop, re-evaluate, and adjust what you are doing.

A goal needs to be attainable, yet it also needs to present a challenge. Too easy or too difficult goals lead to boredom or frustration, respectively. Stop and ask yourself whether the goal is reasonable based on the amount of time and resources you have towards achieving it. It is better to break a lofty goal into “bite sized chunks,” starting slowly and working your way up to a larger goal then to try too much initially, get discouraged, and then quit.

When setting goals make sure they are realistic. Set goals that are within your capabilities, and consider your limitations. Let’s face it, a person who is 50 years old and wants to look 20 again is just not being realistic. Likewise, trying to train for and complete a marathon in a week’s time is not realistic for someone who has not exercised regularly. If goals aren’t realistic, you set yourself up for failure.

Putting a time frame on the achievement of a particular goal is essential for success. This allows you to be proactive today. Otherwise, you may become victim to the “I’ll do it tomorrow” approach.

When setting your goals realize that small, gradual changes in your behavior can have a tremendous impact on your health. For example, adding one extra 30 minute brisk walking session to your weekly routine instead of sitting will help burn 17,000 extra calories in a 200-pound man over the course of the year and contribute to cardiovascular health (and about a 5-pound annual weight loss). For those soda drinkers out there, substituting sparkling water for one can of regular soda each day, will amount to about a 16-pound weight loss at the end of the year! Are you getting the picture? It’s these small, consistent, changes that add up over time and help you achieve your health goals.

Give some serious thought to what YOU really want to accomplish in your life. The more you put into setting SMART goals the closer you become to making your dreams a reality. Today is a great day to start your journey to be the best possible you! We wish you the best of success, we know you can do it!

Exercise Recommendations from the American College of Sports Medicine for Healthy Adults

Type Amount (Duration) Frequency Intensity
Cardiovascular 20-60 minutes 3-5 days per week 55/65 – 90%
maximum heart rate
For weight loss2 60-90 minutes 7 days per week Moderate
Resistance 1 set of 8-10 exercises that conditions
the major muscle groups*
2-3 days per week 40/50 – 85%
maximum weight
Flexibility Stretch major muscle groups 2-3 days per week  

* Most people should complete 8-12 repetitions of each exercise; however for older (older than 50 years) and more frail persons, 10-15 repetitions at a lower intensity may be more appropriate.

Lower ranges (i.e., 55-64% maximum heart rate and 40-49% maximum) are intended for individuals who are unfit.

  1. The recommended quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, and flexibility in healthy adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1998;30:975-91.
  2. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005.US Dept of Health and Human Services, US Dept of Agriculture. Accessed 3/6/06. Available at

‡This product is to be used in conjunction with a healthy reduced calorie and exercise program.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent, any disease.