The first step to adopting a lifestyle that includes physical activity is determining that it will be a useful addition to your life. Take some time to analyze your current schedule and write down when you can fit exercise into your day in addition to some goals to you want to accomplish. Goal setting is a great way to encourage self-motivation for a physically active lifestyle. Learn about the process of goal setting in this article on Motivation Through Goal Setting. Next, it is important to discuss your exercise plans with your health care provider. If you are currently sedentary or an infrequent exerciser, start off slowly providing enough time for rest in between sessions. Your ultimate goal is to participate in physical activity in accordance with the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans which includes 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week among guideline for muscle-strengthening exercises.
Modes of Exercise
Aerobic activity that is higher in frequency and intensity has been shown to be the most effective in individuals with anxiety and/or depression¹. Activity that is considered aerobic refers to walking, pushing, jogging, swimming, cycling, dancing or any exercise that is generally referred to as “cardio”. These types of activities should be performed at a moderate intensity for 150 minutes per week or at a vigorous intensity for 75 minutes per week. To determine your level of intensity the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale can be used. According to this scale, moderate-intensity activity is in the 4-6 range and vigorous-intensity activity is in the 7-8 range. View the RPE scale and learn more about the physical activity guidelines in this article on What are All the Numbers About. To reap the most benefits of exercise in relation to anxiety and/or depression try high-intensity options such as interval training or the Champion’s Rx program which is a high-intensity daily workout program designed to incorporate all ability levels.