How can I improve my fitness levels?

David Buer
Fitness Specialist

You need to give your body a reason to get fitter. You can do that by taking on new challenges. Adding in more activity each day can improve your fitness level, strength and endurance. You need to force your body to overcome new obstacles, pushing it to change, adapt and improve. Muscles become stronger and grow after being stressed. You can do that by increasing the intensity of weight training (more reps, heavier weights, etc.) and cardiovascular exercise, and reducing rest times.

Robert DeVito
Fitness Specialist

Improving fitness levels can be as simple as beginning a walking program. A 20 to 30 minute walk 3 to 4 times per week would do wonders in a normally sedentary person.

In an active individual this task becomes much more specific to the individual goal.
Fitness event goals have specific needs that would have to be considered when designing a fitness program as well as the current fitness level of the participant.

Generally, these 5 tips will work for anyone:  (from the IFS book '90 Days to a New You)

Your FITNESS Rules: Here are very simple steps to take to look and feel great.

MOVE X’s 5 = Just Move

  • Move: Just Do Something
  • Move More: Aim for a minimum of 100 minutes of 'Huffy Puffy' exercise every week
  • Move More Often: Aim to do something everyday
  • Move Quicker: Aim to go faster over the same distance or further in the same time
  • Move Differently: Choose different activities or do the same activity differently. E.g. run or walk a different way every day, run hills, flat, sand, slower for longer and shorter and quicker

Commit to take the path of MOST resistance. Escalators and elevators are a friend to weight gain and low performance. Remember Newton’s law of motion – An object in motion stays in motion. An object at rest stays at rest. You are the object. If you begin your day moving you will stay moving. If you begin your day with the habit of inactivity it is that much harder to get motivated to move.

"Surprise Exercise." IFSism - Look for opportunities to move where you would not normally. Take a phone call while standing, pace during a conference call, set your laptop high so you can stand and work, take the furthest parking spot every time.

Make Exercise a non-negotiable priority. We do what is important to us. Know that exercise/movement aids in reducing pains, increasing metabolism, creating sustained energy, and makes us feel better. Do not accept not exercising.

There you have it. Basic, simple and effective.

Consistently apply these strategies and you will most certainly improve your fitness level.

To your health,


Adding just a few minutes of activity each day can begin to improve fitness levels. Physical activity guidelines suggest that in order to achieve health benefits, American adults should try to accumulate 2 1/2 hours per week of moderate physical activity (or 1 1/4 hours of vigorous activity) and engage in activities that strengthen the major muscles of the body twice per week.

Whether you exercise moderately for 30 minutes five times per week or vigorously for 25 minutes three times per week, the overall goal is to accrue minutes of physical activity.

Continue Learning about Fitness

Do You Need to Step Up?
Do You Need to Step Up?
How many miles must you cover over the course of a day to earn an "active" fitness label?      a. 2 miles      b. 5 miles      c. 7 miles You'll nee...
Read More
What is an abdominal crunch?
National Academy of Sports MedicineNational Academy of Sports Medicine
An abdominal crunch is an exercise to strengthen the abdomen by contracting it to flex your spine an...
More Answers
Your Exercise Wake-Up Call
Your Exercise Wake-Up CallYour Exercise Wake-Up CallYour Exercise Wake-Up CallYour Exercise Wake-Up Call
Skipping a regular workout can put you at risk for serious health problems, including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Learn how exercise protects your...
Start Slideshow
Week 1 Workout
Week 1 Workout

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.