Whether you are taking the first steps towards leading a healthier lifestyle or have been active for a long time, there are four components to consider when designing your program. Aerobic exercise, strength training, flexibility and balance activities help create an effective physical activity program. You don't necessarily need to do all components at each session, but they all belong in your program.

Into each session, be sure to include a short (5-10 minute) period for a warm up and cool down. The warm up prepares your body for activity by increasing your heart rate and breathing, raising your body temperature and increasing blood flow to your muscles. Warm up activities should include a lower intensity form of the activity to be performed. The cool down following your workout gradually returns the body to normal levels. A cool down typically includes a decrease in activity intensity followed by flexibility exercises.