Alcohol and Other Drugs | Exercise and Stretching | Nutrition | Sexual Health | Stress and Emotional Health

Why Exercise?

Regular physical activity has been shown to have the following benefits, as supported by The Center for Disease Control and the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans:

  • Decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome
  • Increased muscle strength and bone health
  • Improved mental health and mood
  • Improved quality of sleep
  • Weight Control

Components of Exercise

Apple with Face On Bike

Cardiovascular Exercise is the body’s ability to supply fuel (energy) during a sustained activity.  Indicators of cardiovascular activity are an increased heart rate and breathing rate throughout the majority of the activity.  Recommendations for cardiovascular exercise for maintaining “good” health are:

2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week


1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise per week


Any mix of the two above.

Are you working hard enough?  Sometimes distinguishing the difference between moderate and vigorous intensity exercise can be challenging.  See the examples below for help:

Moderate Intensity Vigorous Intensity
Brisk walking Jogging or Running
Swimming for fun Swimming laps
Water Aerobics Dance Aerobics (e.g., Zumba or Step)
Light house cleaning Rearranging furniture
Weight lifting (body is supported) Jumping rope
Heart rate below 70% of Max Heart Rate Heart rate between 70% and 85% of Max Heart Rate

Don't have enough time? Research supports that that getting at least 10 minutes of aerobic activity and exercise at a time is sufficient to see positive health benefits.  

  • Strength training is the ability of the muscle to exert a force during an activity. Strength training is important in maintaining health  muscles and bones, and helps maintain muscle mass during weight loss or weight gain. In addition to meeting Cardiovascular recommendations, it is important to Strength train at least 2 days per week.
    • You don't need a gym! A common misunderstanding is that one cannot strength train without a gym and strength machines. utilize hand weights, elastic tubes, home-made weights (such as a water bottle full of sand, canned food/drinks, a bag of flour/sugar), and your own body weight to engage in effective strength training.

Apple with face stretching

  • Flexibility is the last component to a well rounded exercise routine. Flexibility, also known as stretching, is the range of motion around a joint. Benefits to a regular flexibility routine include improved posture, decreased stress, and improved circulation.  Ideally, you’ll want to stretch if you exercise.  Stretching is most effective if you stretch after you exercise because your muscles are warm and receptive. If you don’t currently engage in a regular exercise routine, it’s still important to stretch. Try to warm up first (a quick 5 minutes gets the job done).
    • Yoga, Pilates, and static stretching are great ways to increase muscle length by engaging in stretching. Not sure of simple stretches? Read about some simple ideas that are easy and can be done at home, in the dorm, or at the gym. 

Goal Setting and Barriers to Exercise

  • Research has shown that self change is a staged process. We move from not thinking about a changed behavior, to thinking about it, to planning change, and then testing out ways to do it before we actually start.  When we think about changing or adopting a behavior, questions we ask ourselves are:
  1. Why do I really want to change the behavior (benefits or "pros")
  2. Why shouldn't I try to change the behavior (the challenges or cons)
  3. Do my pros outweigh my cons?
  4. What would it take to change the behavior and overcome my cons (what's my strategy?)

To move forward, our pros must outweigh our cons and we need realistic strategies to meet our challenges and overcome our cons.

  • Sticking to a regular exercise routine isn't easy. There are often too many potential hindrances - time, boredom, self confidence, injuries, class work, and a social life. Below are a few examples of barriers and thoughts to overcoming them:

    1. I don't have enough time to exercise or be physically active...use some creativity to make the most of your time.
      • Squeeze in at least 10 minutes at a time
      • Get up earlier
      • Park in the back row
      • Rethink rituals...go for a bike ride or hike instead of ordering out and watching a movie
    2. I don't like the way I look when I exercise...don't get down on yourself!
      • Remember all the benefits to exercise
      • go by yourself, or to the gym when it isn't busy, or try exercising outside for a change of scenery
    3. I'm too lazy to exercise.
      • Set realistic expectations
      • Work with nature, not against it...exercise when you feel more energetic, not during lazy times of the day
      • Schedule exercise and physical activity as though it's an important meeting, appointment or exam.
    4. I've tried to exercise in the past and failed...don't throw in the towel!

Appointments & Resources

  • The Wellness Center offers appointments with Peer Health Educators in regard to exercise and weight management. Please call 909-869-5272 or come by to schedule your appointment.
  • Resources are a great tool to gather information to help build your exercise program today
    • Center for Disease Control - Exercise and Physical Activity
    • Spark People - Interactive nutrition and exercise website
    • ChooseMyPlate.gov - Get a personalized nutrition plan
    • ExRx - Free information on exercise and nutrition including muscle directories, strength training demonstrations, and fitness calculators