Getting Started on the Right Track

General exercise guidelines

  • All physical activity is important, however, there is greater benefit with moderate to vigorous intensity exercise for bouts of 10 minutes or more.
  • For most individuals, the goal is to accumulate 150-300 minutes of moderate to vigorous cardio-based exercise and at least 2 days of resistance training per week.
  • For individuals over the age of 65, balance exercises should be completed regularly.
  • Cardio-based exercise:
    • Includes large muscle groups and causes a sustained increase in your heart rate for at least 10 minutes.
    • Options include: walking, cycling, using the elliptical, rowing, aerobic classes, swimming, and aqua fitness classes.
  • Resistance training:
    • Improve the strength and endurance of the muscles.
    • Can be completed using: dumbbells/hand weights, tubing, resistance bands, bodyweight, household items, or machines.

How to monitor your intensity

  • Monitor your exercise intensity by using the Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scale, or by monitoring your heart rate either manually or via technology.
  • Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scale:
    • A scale from 6-20, where you rate how hard you feel you are working during exercise.
    • Watch this video to learn more about the RPE Scale.
  • Monitor your heart rate manually:
    • Place your middle and pointer finger on the thumb side of the wrist.
    • When you feel a pulse, count the number of beats you feel in 10 seconds.
    • Multiply the number by 6 to determine your beats per minute.
  • Monitor your heart rate via technology:
    • Watches, chest straps, etc., available for purchase online or in-store.
    • Download an application on your phone to check your heart rate. If you choose to do this, always read the terms and conditions of the application before downloading.

Tips for exercising safely

  • Complete a warm-up before you begin exercising. A warm-up generally lasts 3-5 minutes; however, some individuals may need longer. Here is an example of a safe warmup routine.
  • Complete a cool-down after you exercise. A cool-down generally lasts 3-5 minutes; however, some individuals may need longer.
  • Follow the exercise prescription you were given by your Exercise Therapist; this prescription was developed based on your medical history, fitness levels, and goals.
  • If you are experiencing new symptoms, do not exercise without receiving clearance from your Exercise Therapist or Doctor.
  • If you experience symptoms during exercise, slow down, and stop exercising if symptoms persist.
  • Always take your medications as prescribed. If you have been prescribed emergency medications, such as Nitroglycerin spray or inhalers, always carry these with you. If you have been advised to carry health devices or treatments, always carry these with you as well.
  • Avoid heavy meals 1-2 hours before you exercise.
  • Wear comfortable and breathable clothing, and well-fitted running shoes. If exercising outdoors, consider reflective gear.
  • Always check the “feels-like” temperature before you exercise, and consider indoor alternatives if the weather is too hot, too cold, or has other dangerous conditions. For information on exercising in the heat, view our Hot Weather & Exercise section. For information on exercising in the cold, view our Cold Weather & Exercise section.
  • Let your Exercise Therapist know if you have any symptoms, concerns, recent medication changes, or appointments. Regular communication with your Exercise Therapist is key to your safety in this program.

For more information speak to your Exercise Therapist, or view our Keeping Exercise Safe section.