In addition to adopting a healthy eating plan we must exercise to control chronic diseases. The American Council on Exercise has created a 12-week fitness program to build total body strength, enhance cardiovascular endurance, gain muscular definition, lose weight, improve health and increase energy.

For someone new to exercise, you can do this program at home without any equipment. Simply follow the recommended workout and you’ll begin to see results and feel better in only a few weeks. For you, this program will help to flatten the tummy while concurrently developing strength and definition in the hips and thighs.

For people who are already exercising on a regular basis, this program can be used as a supplement when you don’t have time to make it to the gym and need a quick routine you can do from home or on the road while traveling.

Another option is to use this program as a dynamic warm-up to prepare the core for the challenges of your regular exercise routine.

TIP: To measure exercise intensity during your cardio session use a simple and effective technique called the “Talk Test”. The Talk Test has been validated through research to demonstrate that if someone can talk comfortably while exercising, then this means they are efficiently utilizing fat as a primary source of fuel.

Once it becomes difficult to talk, this signifies that carbohydrates become the primary source of fuel for the activity.

Pick a phrase that takes approximately 20-30 seconds to say to perform this test, such as the Pledge of Allegiance.

Visit for more details on the fitness program. Don’t forget to call the Harrison County Extension Office register for the Fall Wellness Walk on Saturday, Sept. 21. Call the Harrison County Extension at 903-935-8414 for more details.

Louraiseal McDonald is the county agent for family and community health in Harrison County.