Once you find a physical activity that’s a good match for you, you’re ready for action! But be sure to pace yourself. Each session to condition your heart and lungs should include the following:
Warmup (5 minutes). Start your physical activity session at a slow to medium pace to give your body a chance to warm up and get ready for more vigorous walking. Gradually increase your pace by the end of the warm-up period.
Slowly increase your physical activity time until you reach your goal of 30 to 60 minutes daily. To condition your heart and lungs, you should engage in your activity in your “target heart rate zone.” (See “Tracking Your Target Heart Rate” below). But don’t focus on big goals in the beginning. If you haven’t been active in a while, you might start with just 5–10 minutes of activity per day—or whatever amount of time you’re comfortable with. Build up gradually. Enjoy yourself.
Cool down (5 minutes). After being active, slow down gradually. For example, if you’ve been swimming, begin to do your stroke more slowly, or switch to a more leisurely type of stroke. You can also cool down by changing to a less vigorous activity, such as moving from jogging to walking. This process allows your body to relax gradually. Stopping abruptly can cause dizziness.
As you become more physically active, how will you know whether you’re improving your heart and lung fitness? The best way is to track your target heart rate during your activity. Your target heart rate is a percentage of your maximum heart rate, which is the fastest
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