Accessibility View Close toolbar

One, Two, or Three Miles?

Even experienced exercisers sometimes find it difficult to know how much to do. For the beginner this uncertainty represents a significant stumbling block. Fortunately well-established guidelines and protocols exist to provide assistance to all exercisers, regardless of your skill level.

In general, the beginning exerciser requires the most instruction. The key is to build up strength and endurance slowly and not do too much too soon. In terms of strength training, the best plan is to determine at what weight you can comfortably perform three sets of eight repetitions. If you can't do three sets of eight reps at the weight you've selected, it's too heavy. If doing three sets of eight reps with the weight you've chosen doesn't feel like anything at all, then the weight is too light. Overall, of course, too light is better than too heavy. The majority of strength training injuries occur when you're attempting to train with an inappropriately heavy weight.

For example, you've selected 15-pound dumbbells with which to perform your bench press routine. You can comfortably do three sets of eight reps. Fifteen pounds is not too light and not too heavy. During the course of your next several weight training sessions, build up to three sets of 12 reps using the 15-pound dumbbells. When you can do three sets of 12 reps successfully, the next time you do your bench press routine you'll increase the weight by approximately 10%. In other words, you'll use the next heaviest weight, which is usually 17.5 pounds in a well-equipped gym. Begin with three sets of eight reps with the 17.5-pound dumbbells, and progress over the next several sessions to three sets of 12 reps. Then you'll repeat the sequence with 20-pound dumbbells, starting at three sets of eight reps and building up to three sets of 12 reps. You'll follow this formula with all of your strength training exercises. In this way, using a safe, smart, and graduated program, you'll consistently build lean muscle mass, gain improved strength and efficiency of your cardiovascular system, and most likely lose several pounds as stored fat is converted to muscle.1

The same principles apply to cardiovascular exercises such as walking, running, biking, and swimming. If you haven't exercised in a very long time, walking is a good method with which to begin.2,3 On your first day, go for a normally paced 10- or 15-minute walk. Don't be concerned that your walk feels like it's over only a few minutes after it's begun. Your main focus should be on getting started, not on how much or how little you're doing in the first few sessions. Over the course of four to six weeks, build up a minute or two each session until you're able to comfortably walk for 30 minutes at a moderate pace. At this point you can begin to increase your pace gradually, building up to a 30- or 40-minute walk at a brisk pace. At this level, you're going a very good, vigorous cardiovascular workout and your heart, lungs, and other components of your cardiorespiratory system are becoming stronger, healthier, and more efficient.

In this gradual, steady, measured way, all exercisers, of whatever age, prior experience, and skill level, can gain a lifetime of benefit from their fitness programs and minimize the likelihood of setbacks or injury.

1Hawkins M, et al: Impact of an exercise intervention on physical activity during pregnancy: the behaviors affecting baby and you study. Am J Public Health 2014 Oct;104(10):e74-81. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302072. Epub 2014 Aug 14
2Hanson S, Jones A: Is there evidence that walking groups have health benefits? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Sports Med 2015 Jan 19. pii: bjsports-2014-094157. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2014-094157. [Epub ahead of print]
3Varma VR, et al: Low-intensity daily walking activity is associated with hippocampal volume in older adults. Hippocampus 2014 Dec 7. doi: 10.1002/hipo.22397. [Epub ahead of print]

Exclusive Offer

New patient offer $45 (exam & xrays if needed)

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

New Albany Office

Monday:

9:00 am-12:00 pm

2:00 pm-6:00 pm

Tuesday:

9:00 am-12:00 pm

2:00 pm-5:00 pm

Wednesday:

9:00 am-12:00 pm

2:00 pm-6:00 pm

Thursday:

Closed

2:00 pm-5:00 pm

Friday:

9:00 am-12:00 pm

2:00 pm-6:00 pm

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Location

Find us on the map

Testimonial

  • "My name is Debbie Lee and I have known Dr. Chris Rasmussen and his wife Sherry for 11 years. They were truly an answer to a prayer. When I first met them my mother was a patient in their office. I was so impressed..."
    Debbie Lee / New Albany, IN

Featured Articles

Read about interesting topics

  • The 5 Senses

    The 5 Senses The five senses, that is, the sense of sight, touch, hearing, taste, and smell, provide us with necessary information regarding the world around us.1 These precious capabilities enable us to navigate our environment with seemingly instantaneous feedback with reference to our actions and ...

    Read More
  • The Benefits of Sleep for Adults

    Obtaining sufficient restful sleep is an essential requirement for optimal human productivity. Such a practice is a key component of a healthy lifestyle, which includes a nutritious diet, regular vigorous exercise, and a positive mental attitude. How much sleep one needs varies from person to person. ...

    Read More
  • Back to School and Mental Wellness

    Summer is a subjectively fleeting season and school days are upon us once again. For children, this bittersweet time marks the completion of a period of relative freedom and the beginning of a new set of responsibilities. For adults, the onset of late summer and early fall signals yet another turn of ...

    Read More
  • Repetitive Motion Injuries

    A repetitive motion injury (or overuse injury) involves doing an action over and over again, as with a baseball pitcher throwing a baseball, a tennis player hitting a tennis ball, typing at a computer keyboard, and most notoriously, typing with your thumbs on the tiny keypad of your phone. It may be ...

    Read More
  • Left-Handers Day

    Left-Handers Day Left-Handers Day, celebrated on August 15th, was launched in 1992 by the Left-Handers Club, an organization based in the United Kingdom. Since then, Left-Handers Day has become a worldwide event and social media phenomenon. Around the world, approximately one in ten persons is left-handed. ...

    Read More
  • Peak Experiences

    Peak Experiences The American philosopher and naturalist Henry David Thoreau roamed far and wide over the hills and mountains of his native Massachusetts and neighboring New Hampshire. In his masterwork, "Walden," Thoreau famously stated that we must "reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical ...

    Read More
  • Dynamic Warm-ups

    In a common occurrence, you bend over to pick up the pencil you inadvertently dropped on the floor. Or you bend over to pick up the soap bar that has slipped through your fingers in the shower. Or you bend over to lift a bag of groceries out of your automobile trunk. These are all daily events. But on ...

    Read More
  • Summer Sports

    Summer Sports In the summertime, everyone's thoughts turn to the outdoors. We want to get out in the sun and have some fun. Some people do exercise outdoors, such as running, walking, and biking, all year long regardless of the weather.1 For others, summer's warmer temperatures make activity outside ...

    Read More
  • Wellness Gardens

    Wellness Gardens When time is spent in an office or indoors day in and day out, some can lose that connection to the outside world. And that loss of connection can lead to higher stress levels and more health ailments without even realizing it. But when that the gap between office life and outdoor life ...

    Read More
  • Smart Shoulders

    Our shoulder joints have the greatest range of motion of any of the musculoskeletal joints in our bodies. The shoulder joint is really two joints, the glenohumeral joint between the arm bone (humerus) and the shoulder blade (scapula) and the acromioclavicular joint between the acromion (a bony projection off the scapula) and the collarbone (clavicle). The glenohumeral joint is a ball-and-socket joint and the acromioclavicular joint is a gliding joint. ...

    Read More

NEWSLETTER SIGNUP

Sign up for more articles