If you haven't been sold on the benefits of adding physical conditioning to your life, Annie Elmer, an HIV-positive physical trainer from Cottage Grove, Minn., has the skinny on how to get started and why the effort could be worth your time'and your life.
The Big Picture
For general good health, get some kind of aerobic exercise for 30 minutes most days of the week. Lift weights three times a week with a 48-hour break in between so that your muscles can recover. Take one day off from exercising a week to rest.
Unmotivated? Try to find an activity you really enjoy. Maybe something outdoors, for example, or a team sport.
Benefits of Resistance/Weight Training
> Prevents the muscle loss that can occur naturally as we age.
> Increases your metabolic rate, and your body will burn fuels more efficiently.
> Reduces your risk of injury.
> Increases functional capacity so you can do daily tasks without getting tired [see 'A Little Goes a Long Way' on page 36].
> Builds muscle, sheds fat'and enhances your appearance!
Benefits of Cardiovascular/Aerobic Training
> Helps reduce symptoms of anxiety, tension, and depression.
> Reduces blood pressure.
> Increased levels of HDL cholesterol, the 'good' kind.
> Decreases total cholesterol.
> Increases your cardiovascular machine so that your body is more resilient in the face of greater physical challenges.
> Reduces the insulin your body secretes when you eat sugar, a diabetes risk factor.
> Helps prevent type 2 diabetes.
> Strengthens your heart.