Exercise is Medicine® at Gwinnett Medical Center

Starting an exercise program can be a daunting task, but remember that your main goal is simply to boost your health by meeting the basic physical activity recommendations. The exercise professionals at Gwinnett Medical Center’s Ellis Fitness & Performance Center offer these tips to help get you started.

  • Assess your current level of physical activity.
    • Physical activity can be accumulated through a variety of activities, not just activities like running. The minimum recommended amount of physical activity is 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity activity, 75 minutes per week of vigorous activity, or a combination of the two where one minute of vigorous activity is equal to 2 minutes of moderate activity.
    • Moderate intensity activity is usually done where an individual can talk, but cannot “sing”. Examples include: brisk walking, slow biking, general gardening, and ballroom dancing.
    • Vigorous intensity activity is done at a pace where individuals can no longer talk and are somewhat out of breath. Examples include: swimming laps, playing singles tennis, and fast bicycling.
    • Read the CDC's extensive Physical Activity table for more examples.
  • If you are not currently achieving the minimum recommendations, gradually increase the amount of physical activity you perform, adding a few minutes each week until you reach the minimum guidelines.*
    • Set aside time each day to exercise. Getting started can often be the most difficult part of any exercise routine. Scheduling exercise into your day and making it a priority will increase the chance of being successful.
    • Choose cardiovascular activities you enjoy, such as swimming, biking, or playing basketball with friends to get your daily physical activity. If you need a variety of activities to stay motivated, combine a few that appeal to you.
    • Start with 10 to 15 minutes of cardiovascular exercise daily. Each week, add five minutes to your exercise routine until you reach 30 minutes of moderate intensity for a minimum of five days per week. Exercise time can be accumulated in 10-minute bouts and does not have to be 30 continuous minutes. Alternately, you may do 20 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise three days per week. The 30-minute recommendation is for the average healthy adult to maintain health and reduce the risk for chronic disease. It should be noted that to lose weight 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity may be necessary.
    • Incorporate strength training into your routine. Do 8 to 10 strength training exercises, 8 to 12 repetitions of each exercise twice a week. This can be accomplished by using dumbbells, resistance bands, or your own body weight. For a basic beginner program, check out the Ellis Fitness & Performance Center. You can also check out our YouTube channel for a few exercise tutorials. If you are unsure how to perform the exercises correctly, contact our fitness professionals for an appointment.
  • If you have a chronic disease or other condition like diabetes, COPD, or osteoarthritis that can affect your ability to exercise, refer to these resources for more specific recommendations about exercise and your condition.**
  • Reach out to our fitness professionals for further evaluation and education. We perform an individualized fitness assessment on all clients to assess cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength, endurance, and flexibility, body composition, and mobility. Using your results and input from you about your specific goals and your available time and resources for exercise, we create a customized exercise program to help you achieve your goals, improve health, weight loss, reduced pain, or simply be more active.

*Always consult with your health care professional before starting a physical activity program to ensure that it is safe for you to do so. Download our referral form for your health care provider to complete and fax to the Ellis Fitness & Performance Center. Patients referred from a health care provider receive a 15% discount off our services.

**Our fitness professionals carry credentials that designate them as qualified to work with individuals who have certain conditions and who have been cleared for independent exercise. We highly recommend working with one to assist with meeting your exercise goals. Download our referral form for your health care provider to complete and fax to the Ellis Fitness & Performance Center. Patients referred from a health care provider receive a 15% discount off our services.

Other Resources

Our fitness experts recommend using the resources below in helping you start an exercise program.

  • Pre-exercise health assessment: The pre-exercise health assessment will give you an idea of what factors increase your risk for exercise related illness or injury. Be sure to choose print this report at the bottom of your results so that you can share them and the recommended exercise program with your health care provider and/or fitness professional.
  • Barriers to exercise assessment: The barriers to exercise assessment will help you discover what specific obstacles are getting in the way of a consistent exercise habit. It assesses seven different areas of potential barriers and provides you with solutions to overcoming your specific challenges.
  • Exercise time finder: Putting your schedule on paper allows you to see when you can fit in exercise, and makes you more likely to stick to a plan.

Learn More 

For help getting started with an exercise program or to improve your current program, contact our Exercise is Medicine®-credentialed Fitness Specialist, Kristie Delgado, at 678-312-6287 or kdelgado@gwinnettmedicalcenter.org.