You know the way vital train is on your well being. Keeping your physique energetic is important for stopping and managing power illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, weight problems and extra. And the advantages of train in your psychological well being can’t be overstated.

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But too usually, we strategy our health targets and plans a bit haphazardly. We know we should always train, so we simply … go for it.  

But beginning an train program with no strong plan doesn’t set you up for achievement. 

“Exercise is medicine,” says sports activities drugs doctor Michael Dakkak, DO. “And in order for medicine to be effective, you need to consider what you are taking, when, how much and for how long. The same thing goes for exercise. You need a plan.” 

Enter, the FITT precept — a construction for serving to you (and your healthcare workforce) devise an train routine tailor-made to your targets.  

What is FITT and the way do you get began? Dr. Dakkak explains. 

What is the FITT precept? 

You can consider the FITT precept as a prescription for train. FITT stands for frequency, intensity, time and type. That means contemplating: 

  • How usually you’ll work out (frequency). 
  • How onerous you’ll push your self (depth). 
  • How a lot train you’ll do (time). 
  • What type of train you’ll do (sort). 

“FITT is a way to design an exercise program that works for you,” Dr. Dakkak says. “If you don’t have a plan or don’t have a plan that works well for you, it’s easy to get off track. Having a solid plan is the first step to success.” 

Consider this: If you’ve coronary heart illness, a healthcare supplier could suggest sure drugs. But they don’t simply say, “Take medicine.” They prescribe a selected medicine. And then, they provide you directions on how a lot to take, when to take it and the way lengthy you must take it for. 

Similarly, a supplier could suggest train to assist strengthen your coronary heart. But, as with medicine, you’ll profit from steering that’s extra concrete than simply, “Exercise more.”  

Following the FITT ideas to create a routine can make sure the train you’re doing will be just right for you. You can consider how a lot time you may dedicate to train and what you take pleasure in doing.  

FITT permits you to have a set plan to carry your self accountable to. And it’ll make sure you don’t overdo issues and go away your self liable to damage.  

“FITT principles help you to lay it all out in black and white so you know what you should be doing, when to do it, for how long and how hard to push yourself,” Dr. Dakkak explains. “Everybody’s goals and experience levels are different, but the nice thing about these principles is that they can be used by anybody, whether they’re beginner, intermediate or experienced.” 

Let’s check out every of the weather of FITT and the way they work collectively to create a prescription to gasoline your health program. 


Determining the frequency of your health routine is about solidifying a plan for a way usually you’ll train. 

“The frequency of your exercise depends a lot on how much time you have to dedicate to exercise, what your goals are and what your fitness level is like currently,” Dr. Dakkak clarifies. 

For instance, in case your exercises hinge totally on lower-intensity actions like strolling or swimming, chances are you’ll think about doing these actions 4 to 5 occasions per week and even each day.  

If you’re going to embark on extra vigorous actions, like Zumba or HIIT (high-intensity interval coaching), chances are you’ll think about taking the frequency all the way down to one thing extra like two or three periods per week.  


The depth of your train program is a query of how a lot you’re getting your blood pumping. It’s basically how onerous your physique is working to maintain up. 

“We measure the intensity of a workout based on heart rate zones,” Dr. Dakkak explains. “Your heart rate zone is a measure of how quickly your heart is beating. A higher heart rate during exercise means your heart is working harder.” 

Knowing your actual coronary heart fee zone takes a little bit of math and a coronary heart fee monitor. (You can discover ways to calculate your coronary heart fee zone right here.) But you can even estimate what coronary heart fee zone you’re in by gauging how you are feeling throughout your exercise. Consider these indicators: 

  • Zone 1: You can simply maintain a dialog with somebody on the fee you’re going. 
  • Zone 2: You can nonetheless maintain a lightweight dialog, however you need to push your self a bit and should have to cease for a beat often to take a breath. 
  • Zone 3: You may discuss when you wanted to, however it will take some effort. You may maintain this tempo for about 20 to 40 minutes. 
  •  Zone 4: You’re not speaking except you need to and might’t sustain on the fee you’re going for greater than about quarter-hour. 
  •  Zone 5: Talking is out of the query. You can sustain your efforts right here for possibly 5 minutes. 

During your exercises, your aim doesn’t should be to push your self to your zone 5-sweaty-panting-breaking-point. In reality, that shouldn’t be most individuals’s aim. Because the advantages of train begin far under that threshold. 

“For most people, we look to aim for their workouts to be in zones 2 or 3 for most of their exercise program,” Dr. Dakkak advises. “It’s not just about sweating, it’s about increasing VO2 max, which improves oxygenation and your cardiopulmonary system. You’re going to get benefits of that starting in zone two.” 

What your depth degree ought to appear to be once more relies on your targets and your different FITT ideas.  

If you’re figuring out usually and for longer stretches, zone 2 could also be excellent for you. But when you’re attempting to squeeze in your train in shorter bursts (a la train snacks), you’ll need to ratchet up the depth to succeed in your targets. 


The American College of Cardiology (ACC) recommends that adults get not less than 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity train. Or not less than 75 minutes per week of vigorous train. Or some mixture of the 2.  

Additionally, the ACC recommends that adults do muscle-strengthening actions not less than twice per week.  

What precisely constitutes reasonable versus vigorous train goes again to understanding your coronary heart fee zone. Zones 2 and three are usually thought of to be reasonable train. Zones 4 and 5 are thought of vigorous depth. 

Depending in your well being targets, chances are you’ll select to satisfy these thresholds by taking a 30-minute stroll 5 days per week. That comes out to 150 minutes of reasonable depth train.  

Or possibly you’ll swim laps for 20 minutes a day for 3 days and do two (relatively difficult) half-hour spin lessons per week. That would equate to 60 minutes of reasonable depth train and 60 minutes of vigorous train. An excellent stability. 

Or you may pack all of it in with fast 15-minute periods of HIIT 5 occasions per week for a complete of 75 minutes of vigorous train. 

The trick is realizing not less than roughly the place your coronary heart fee is at and sustaining or rising that fee to be able to get full cardio advantages with out risking damage. 

“When you think about time, it’s also important to look at making sure that you have safe recovery periods, too,” Dr. Dakkak emphasizes. “If your plan is to allot your exercise time mostly to vigorous intensity exercise, that’s OK for some people. But you always want to make sure you’re taking enough time off to let your body rest. So, you’ll want to stick to shorter durations and be mindful of frequency.” 


The sort of train you do issues. Quite a bit. It issues on your well being targets and your degree of health, in fact. But Dr. Dakkak reminds us that it additionally issues as a result of the kind of workouts you select will make an enormous distinction in your success in sustaining your train program. 

“It has to be fun,” he stresses. “I think fun is like a hidden ‘F’ in FITT. Because if you don’t enjoy it, it’s going to be next to impossible to keep up. If you’re miserable, you’re not going to keep doing it.” 

When you think about the kinds of train to incorporate in your train program, think about your targets, what’s accessible and possible in your life, and what you truly love to do.  

Here are some concepts: 

Lower-intensity cardio train 

  • Ellipticals with little or no resistance. 
  • Walking on a flat floor. 
  • Swimming. 
  • Biking. 

Higher-intensity cardio train 

  • Ellipticals with extra resistance. 
  • Walking on an incline. 
  • Running or jogging. 
  • Spin lessons. 
  • Sports actions, like pickleball, basketball or tennis. 

Strengthening actions 

  • Yoga. 
  • Pilates. 
  • Lifting weights. 

“There are tons of activities that involve aerobic activity and strengthen your body,” Dr. Dakkak says. “The best type of exercise for you is whatever gets you moving and that you’ll be consistent doing. You have to be consistent with it, have fun with it and do it in a safe matter. That’s what we’re looking for.” 

And be sure that to get a mixture of exercise in each time attainable. 

“If you’re just doing one thing, your body is going to be conditioned to that one thing,” he provides. “But your whole body needs your attention.” 

Tips for FITT success 

Over time, your train program might want to bear some upkeep. 

Check in with the way you’re doing at sticking to the plan. Keep a log of your train actions so that you could be extra aware when you’re slipping off observe. (And to congratulate your self for a job effectively accomplished!) 

And be prepared to regulate the plan as your physique turns into extra conditioned. Perhaps that stroll across the block used to get your coronary heart fee up. But after a number of months, chances are you’ll have to push slightly extra to get that very same profit.  

“As your health improves, you’ll need to work harder to push your heart rate into higher zones, and that’s a good thing. It means your plan is working,” Dr. Dakkak says.  

If your each day stroll isn’t placing you into zone 2 anymore, chances are you’ll have to calibrate one in all your different FITT parts. Maybe it’s a query of time and also you stroll longer to get that coronary heart fee up. Or you modify up the kind of train and switch that stroll into a lightweight jog. 

When you go to tweak your plan, although, resist the temptation to make wholesale modifications. 

“I like to always say to only increase one thing at a time — whether that’s frequency, intensity or time,” Dr. Dakkak advises. “That’s really how we’re going to grow through the program and in our cardiovascular fitness and make sure that we’re not pushing our bodies too far too fast.” 

Not certain the place to start out your FITT journey? Talk with a healthcare supplier, like a sports activities drugs doctor. They may also help you develop a customized plan tailor-made to your targets, your well being and, maybe most significantly, your life. 

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