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In the Fitness Spectrum, we focus on aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility. In each area, we use the FITT Principle to tell us about the “Frequency” of  “Intensity” and “Types” of exercise we do, and how much “Time” we should spend doing them. These are the four tenets we use in the Ornish Program to create an exercise plan for someone, and to make adjustments to their routines as they progress.

The idea here is the more you move, the more you improve.

Here is the FITT principle for aerobic exercise. Remember, these are general guidelines and there are always circumstances where we change the variables. If you’re just starting, take your time and build up slowly. For some people, it can take a few weeks to begin meeting the aerobic exercise aspect of the FITT principle and that’s absolutely fine –the idea here is the more you move, the more you improve.

F – Frequency (How Often to Exercise) 

This will vary from several times per day to 3-6 times per week depending on the exercise intensity and time. For most adults, one exercise session per day is the recommendation unless you are training for a special event such as a race or long bike ride.

I – Intensity (How Hard to Exercise)

The goal here is somewhere between 45-80% of an individual’s maximum exercise capacity determined by a treadmill test. If you don’t have a treadmill stress test using the RPE scale, which is a good guide to the intensity of your exercise. The goal with the RPE or Borg scale is to exercise between what you feel is between an 11 and a 15.

T – Time (How Long to Exercise) 

Aerobic exercise should be sustained for 30-60 minutes, for a minimum of 3 hours per week up to five hours per week. Time is the main goal here not necessarily intensity. Even if you can achieve this level of exercise time, but your intensity is on the low side, you’re doing great! We can always work on intensity down the road.

T – Type (The Type of Exercise)

Walking, jogging, aerobic dance, bicycling, swimming, rowing, cross-country skiing, etc. Exercise doesn’t need to be a chore or brutal. The key is to choose a form of activity that you enjoy and can sustain for 30 minutes or more.

What keeps you on the move?



Contributed by

Phil Hardesty
Exercise Physiologist

Have a healthy, happy and fit week!!

Better Health Begins With You...

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