Exercise is essential for a healthier you. But one of the biggest hurdles to any exercise program involves two things: setting it up and then, of course, doing it.

Most basic fitness programs include cardio work, strength training and flexibility exercises. But how do you make all three work for you and your busy schedule? Should you focus on cardio and strength on the same day? What kind of flexibility exercises are important?

We hope to inspire you to add more movement to your day. You’ll find practical tips and creative ways to get more active, even if it’s only 5 or 10 minutes a day to start. One thing that may actually help you is using a simple 6-week workout schedule that includes all the workouts you need, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or a more advanced exerciser.

Before you lace up those walking shoes, it’s important to take a snapshot of your health and fitness history to determine your current fitness level. You should check with your doctor before you begin any new fitness program. Once your doctor has okayed you to start exercising, the first step is to pick a start date. Take a look at your calendar, count out six weeks from that date, and circle it. Over the next six weeks, as you follow our workout schedule, you’ll notice big changes and, most importantly, you’ll have made exercise a habit.

Exercising with a Chronic Condition

For those with a chronic condition, like rheumatoid arthritis, regular physical activity may improve quality of life and reduce the risk of developing other chronic conditions, like heart disease or diabetes.  The US Department of Health and Human Services has recently released new guidelines for adults with chronic health conditions or disabilities. See below for the current guidelines:

  • Adults with chronic conditions or disabilities, who are able, should do at least 150 minutes a week (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) to 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Preferably, aerobic activity should be spread throughout the week.
  • Adults with chronic conditions or disabilities, who are able, should also do muscle-strengthening activities of moderate or greater intensity and that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, as these activities provide additional health benefits.
  • When adults with chronic conditions or disabilities are not able to meet the above key guidelines, they should engage in regular physical activity according to their abilities and should avoid inactivity.
  • Adults with chronic conditions should be under the care of a health care provider. People with chronic conditions can consult a health care provider or physical activity specialist about the types and amounts of activity appropriate for their abilities and chronic conditions.

An individualized physical activity plan is recommended for those with chronic conditions. Talk to your doctor or a physical activity expert to determine a plan that may be right for you and your abilities.


Aerobic activities work the large muscles of the body and increase a person’s heart rate. Running, brisk walking, bicycling, playing basketball, dancing and swimming are all examples of aerobic activities. Regular aerobic activity will result in a stronger heart and cardiovascular system.

  • Take a brisk, 10-minute walk after each meal.
  • Park farther away from your destination so your family gets in more steps.
  • On breaks at school or work, spend 5 to 10 minutes climbing stairs.
  • Have a family dance party. Put on your favorite music channel, and then dance like crazy.
  • Walk or ride your bike to work or school if you can.
  • Hide the remote from your kids and change channels the old-fashioned way—by getting up and walking to the television set.
Download our 6-Week Exercise Plan

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