The evidence is clear: exercise leads to positive changes in your body and brain.
Exercise can help you:
- Prevent or minimize illness, such as heart disease and diabetes
- Lower inflammation
- Strengthen muscles and joints
- Lower stress levels
- Improve sleep
- Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
How do I kick-start my exercise program?
To get the full benefits of this program, exercising every day is recommended. If this seems daunting, we have some tips on how to create and stick to an exercise routine. See the section on "What might keep you from exercising every day?"
Aim for moderate intensity when you exercise.
Target heart rate: how many times your heart should beat to achieve moderate intensity exercise.
Maximum heart rate: how many times your heart can beat for it to still be safe.
Exercise for at least 30 minutes each day. You can exercise the full 30 minutes all at once or break it into two, 15-minute-sessions or three, 10-minute-sessions. You will get the same great mind-body benefits.
What types of exercise do we recommend?
Here are some examples that count as moderate intensity exercise:
- Brisk walking
- Riding a bike
- Playing tennis
- Lifting weights
- Aerobics or water aerobics
Everyone has different interests and abilities, so as long as you get to your target heart rate, any activity will work. Consider mixing things up and trying more than one type of exercise.
Are there any types of exercise that don’t meet the program recommendations?
People who do the WILD 5 program often ask if yoga or gardening are acceptable types of exercise. While activities like these have other great health benefits, they don’t meet the FID principle of intensity. You’ll get the most out of your 30 minutes of exercise if you do activities that reach a moderate intensity level.
What might keep you from exercising every day
Here are a few challenges you might come across, and tips on how to overcome them:
Health conditions and physical limitation
You might have a health condition that stops you from following all the FID principles, such as chronic pain. If you’re unable to reach 30 minutes of exercise per day or unable to reach moderate intensity, that is okay. There may be days when your health condition stops you from exercising altogether – that is okay too.
Here are some tips that might help:
- Talk to your healthcare provider about activities that are safe and healthy for you
- Take small steps to raise the duration and intensity of your exercise, such as adding a few minutes of walking per day
- Be kind to yourself on this journey – if you exercised to the best of your capabilities, you successfully completed your exercise practice for the day
Lack of time
Finding extra time in your busy schedule can be a challenge. However, it’s important to make time if you want to positively impact your overall wellness. Consider these tips:
- Break down your 30 minutes of exercise into two, 15-minute sessions or three, 10-minute sessions
- Add your exercise plan to your calendar and set reminder alerts
If you’re planning to exercise outside, it’s good to have a backup plan in case weather gets in the way. If it’s raining, or it’s too cold or too hot, you can:
- Exercise at home
- Drive to the nearest mall for a brisk walk
- Go to your local gym or recreation center
Low motivation is a common feeling when starting a new exercise routine. There may be days when you don't feel like exercising. Here are some tips that might help:
- Choose a friend or family member to be your accountability buddy. Let this person know each day when you complete your workout and ask them to remind you if they don’t hear from you by a certain time of day. You may even want to recruit a buddy to do WILD 5 with you.
Perfection is not the goal.
Be kind to yourself as you begin making these changes. Change can be challenging. If you miss a day or two, shake it off, regroup, and keep going!