One size doesn’t fit all when developing an effective fitness program. In the upcoming ACSM’s Complete Guide to Fitness & Health (Human Kinetics, 2011), Barbara Bushman, an ACSM-certified program director and exercise specialist, explains how every person has a unique fitness ID they must discover, develop, and evolve throughout their lifetime.
“Your exercise program should be your own,” Bushman says. “You are unique in terms of your health, current level of activity, and fitness goals.”
Developing a fitness ID begins by examining personal goals and considering how an activity fits into daily life. Specifics of what to include in the program can then be determined. According to Bushman, an effective program should consist of aerobic activity, resistance training, flexibility, and balance; exercises in each category should be customized according to personal preference and skill level.
“A balanced exercise program is like a sturdy three-legged stool. If one leg is weak or too short, the stool isn’t stable,” Bushman explains. “In the same way, ignoring one of the exercise components will put your fitness program out of balance.”
A balanced fitness ID also evolves with time. “No matter your age, a physically active lifestyle and wise choices in nutrition allow for an ongoing evolution of your fitness ID,” Bushman says. “Change is part of life, and your exercise program and diet evolve over time as well.”
ACSM’s Complete Guide to Fitness and Health provides scientifically based guidance on beginning or improving any exercise program. The guide also offers the most current activity and nutrition guidelines along with exercises, activities, and programs for every age and fitness goal.
“Understanding what it means to be fit, active, and healthy is the first step toward discovering your personal fitness ID,” Bushman says. “With specific information on cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular fitness, flexibility, and nutrition, people of all ages and health conditions can take charge of their fitness and develop a fitness ID unique to their needs.”
For more information, see ACSM’s Complete Guide to Fitness & Health.