Your goals, your present fitness level, age, health, skills, interest and convenience are among the factors you should consider when creating your workout schedule. For example, an athlete training for high-level competition would follow a different program than a person whose goals are good health and the ability to meet work and recreational needs.
Each workout should begin with a warmup and end with a cooldown. As a general rule, space your workouts throughout the week and avoid consecutive days of hard exercise.
Here are the amounts of activity necessary for the average healthy person to maintain a minimum level of overall fitness. Included are some of the popular exercises for each category.
The keys to selecting the right kinds of exercises for developing and maintaining each of the basic components of fitness are found in these principles:
SPECIFICITY - pick the right kind of activities to affect each component. Strength training results in specific strength changes. Also, train for the specific activity you’re interested in. For example, optimal swimming performance is best achieved when the muscles involved in swimming are trained for the movements required. It does not necessarily follow that a good runner is a good swimmer.
OVERLOAD - work hard enough, at levels that are vigorous and long enough to overload your body above its resting level, to bring about improvement.
REGULARITY - you can’t hoard physical fitness. At least three balanced workouts a week are necessary to maintain a desirable level of fitness.
PROGRESSION - increase the intensity, frequency and/or duration of activity over periods of time in order to improve.
Some activities can be used to fulfill more than one of your basic exercise requirements. For example, in addition to increasing cardiorespiratory endurance, running builds muscular endurance in the legs, and swimming develops the arm, shoulder and chest muscles. If you select the proper activities, it is possible to fit parts of your muscular endurance workout into your cardiorespiratory workout and save time.
(Provided by: The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports )