A Healthier U


Starting a fitness program is one of the best things you can do for your health. Physical activity can reduce your risk of chronic disease, improve your balance and coordination, help you maintain a healthy weight—and even improve your sleep habits and self-esteem. Here are four steps to get started.

  1. Determine your initial fitness level

Assessing and recording baseline fitness level can give you benchmarks against which to measure your progress. It’s a good idea to do an overall assessment to see where your strengths and weaknesses lie so your fitness program can address the areas in need of attention.

  1. Design your fitness program

Make a plan!  Having clear goals can help you gauge your progress and stay motivated. If you have access to a personal trainer, they can help you to design a plan that will help you reach your goals.

  • How much is enough? The American College of Sports Medicine recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity.
  • Create a balanced routine. Your body benefits differently from different activities. Plan to alternate among activities that emphasize different parts of your body, such as walking, swimming and strength training. Try to get about 30 minutes of aerobic exercise on most days of the week. Also aim to incorporate strength training of all the major muscle groups into a fitness routine at least two days a week.
  • Break things up if you have to. You don’t have to do all your exercise at one time, so you can weave in activity throughout your day. Shorter but more-frequent sessions have aerobic benefits, too. Exercising in 10-minute sessions three times a day may fit into your schedule better than a single 30-minute session.
  1. Get started

Now you’re ready to move. As you begin your fitness program, keep these tips in mind:

  • Start slowly and build up gradually. If you’re just beginning to exercise, start cautiously and progress slowly. If you have an injury or a medical condition, consult your doctor or an exercise specialist for help designing a fitness program that gradually improves your range of motion, strength and endurance.
  • Warm-up is important! Give yourself plenty of time to warm up with easy walking or cycling. Then slowly increase intensity throughout the workout.
  • Listen to your body. If you feel pain, shortness of breath, dizziness or nausea, take a break. You may be pushing yourself too hard.
  1. Need some help – work with a professional! University employees have access to several no-cost or low–cost training services.
    • The Kinesiology Program is offering free physical activity counseling/programming from students in the Health, Kinesiology, and Recreation Department who are training to be Fitness and Wellness Specialists. Please contact groot@utah.edu if you are interested in joining! As part of the program you will receive: cholesterol and glucose screening, two 45 minute fitness assessments, a 5-week exercise program tailored to your specific goals and Individualized physical activity counseling.




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For more expert health news and information, visit healthcare.utah.edu/healthfeed.