Making An Exercise Plan

Designing An Effective Aerobic Exercise Program

The purpose of an Exercise Rx (prescription) is to provide a guide for your workouts that

  1. is specifically designed to help you meet your fitness goals,
  2. is controlled by how your body is responding, and
  3. will help prevent over or under-exercising

Your Exercise Rx will change over time as your body changes in response to physical activity and as you modify your goals. As the person in charge of your health and fitness, you will want to review your exercise program often and make the appropriate adjustments.

Your exercise program can best be described by the four letters F I T T. These four letters represent the variables inherent in any exercise program. The meaning of these letters is as follows:

F Frequency is how often you exercise.
Measured in days per week.
I Intensity is how hard you exercise.
Measured in heart rate (preferred) or perceived exertion (scale of 1 - 10).
T Time measures how long you spend working out.
T Type of exercise: aerobic, strength, or flexibility.

Each of these four variables in your Exercise Rx controls different aspects of the exercise program. By making adjustments to these four exercise elements you can fine tune your exercise program to maximize the benefits that are important to you. Two important factors will guide you as you make adjustments to your Exercise Rx: 1) your fitness goals; and 2) how your body is responding to your current exercise program.