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The first thing that should be done before beginning a workout is a warm-up. A warm-up
allows your body time to adjust from a resting state to exercise. Because a warm-up
can improve the elasticity of your muscles, it can decrease your risk of injury. A
warm-up should gradually increase the temperature of your body, heart rate and blood
flow, and breathing. It should be intense enough to raise your heart rate, but it
should not be so intense that it causes fatigue. A cool-down after a workout allows
your body time to adjust from exercise back down to a resting state. It is designed
to facilitate muscle relaxation, reduce muscle soreness, and lower heart rate.
Repetitions (reps) are the number of times an exercise is performed. A set is the
number oftimes each group of reps is performed. For example, when doing a squat, squatting
down andthen standing back up one time is one rep. Doing 10 squats is one set. When doing
exercisesthat only work one side of the body at a time (e.g. lunges), one rep is completed
when theexercise is done on both sides one time, and one set is completed when the exercise
is donean equal number of times on both sides. For example, 10 lunges on the right side and
10lunges on the left side equals 10 total reps and one set. The number of reps and sets
youperform will vary depending on the exercise, overall fitness level, and overall fitness
goals(strength vs. endurance).
For fitness to improve, muscles must be challenged to work harder than normal. This
is known as the progressive overload principle. This principle refers to improving
fitness by challengingthe body to work at a level it is not accustomed to. This can be achieved by increasing
theamount of weight lifted for an exercise, increasing the number of sessions per week,
addingexercises, reps, or sets to your current routine, and/or resting less time between
sets.How can you know if you’re using the right amount of weight? If you cannot do at least
eightreps with proper form with a given weight, then the weight is too heavy, and you need
to uselighter weights. If you can easily do 12 or more reps with a given weight, then the
weight is toolight, and you need to use heavier weights. Each exercise should be assessed individuallybecause they work different muscles. Reassess every two weeks.
As a whole, exercise is designed to improve specific components of physical fitness.
Physical fitness has four major areas: muscular fitness, cardiovascular or aerobic
endurance, flexibility, and body composition.
Muscular strength is the ability of muscle to exert force, and is essential for everyday
activities. These include, but are not limited to, moves that require upper-body strength
such as lifting and carry ing objects like groceries, and moves that require lower-body
strength like walking up stairs or getting up out of a chair. Muscular strength is
improved through strength training exercises such as the biceps curl and squats. To
increase strength, do fewer reps, more sets, and lift heavier weights:
Example: Exercises with Weights
Example: Body Weight Exercise (push-ups, crunches, squats, etc.)
Muscular endurance is how long a muscle can exert force over a period of time. In dailyactivities, this is how long you can walk or run before the muscles in your legs get
tired orrake leaves before the muscles in your arms get tired. During exercise, this is how
manyrepetitions you can do before your muscles become too tired to perform the exercisecorrectly. To increase endurance, do more reps, fewer sets, and lift lighter weights:
Example: Exercise with Weights
Example: Body Weight Exercises (push-ups, crunches, squats, etc.)
Cardiovascular or aerobic endurance is the ability of your heart, blood vessels, and
lungs todeliver oxygen and nutrients to your muscles so that energy can be produced and yourmuscles can perform an exercise or a movement. This is important for activities such
aswalking, running, swimming, and bike riding.
Flexibility is your body's ability to move joints through a range of motion (ROM).
A certain level of flexibility is needed to:
Body composition refers to how your body is made up in terms of body fat and lean
bodymass. Lean body mass includes vital parts of your body such as your muscles, bones,organs, skin, etc. Lean body mass can decrease with age, through inactivity, and as
aresult of disease. Body fat has two categories:
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends using the FITT Principle
to safely apply the principle of progressive overload. FITT stands for frequency,
intensity, time, and type.
Frequency refers to how often a person exercises. After any type of exercise the body
goes through a repair and rebuilding process. Exercise often enough to stress the
body so it will adapt to your exercise regimen. Also, be sure to allow time for muscle
repair between sessions.
Intensity refers to how hard a person exercises or the level of effort exerted. When
talkingabout exercise intensity, the terms “moderate” and “vigorous” are often used. When
performing at a moderate intensity, you are working hard enough to raise your heart
rate and break a sweat. You should still be able to talk with someone, but not sing
the words to your favorite song. With vigorous-intensity exercise, you are breathing
hard and fast, and your heart rate is elevated. When working at this level, you will
not be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.
Examples of Moderate- and Vigorous-Intensity Exercises
Heart rate monitoring is the primary way to measure intensity during aerobic activity.
Beforestarting to exercise, determine your target heart rate (THR). First, figure your maximum
heartrate (MHR) by subtracting your age from 220. For beginners, the THR is 50-70 percent
of yourMHR. For more advanced exercisers, the THR is 70-85 percent of MHR. For example, theMHR for a 40-year-old person is 180. Beginners would exercise at a THR of 90 – 126
beatsper minute (bpm). Beats per minute is the number of times the heart beats in one minute.Advanced exercisers would exercise at a THR of 126bpm – 153bpm.
Another way to measure intensity is by using the org Rating of Perceived Exertion
Scale (RPE). the intensity levels range from 6 to 20 and roughly correlate to heart
rate when multiplied by 10.
While exercising, rate your perception of your total feelings of exertion, combining
all sensations and feelings of physical stress, then choose the number on the RPE
that best describes your level of exertion.
Intensity during muscle-strengthening activity has three parts:
1. the amount of weight lifted2. the number of repetitions performed3. the length of time it takes to complete one set of exercises
To increase your intensity, change only one of the three components at a time.
Time is the how long you exercise. The type of exercise performed determines the length
of the exercise session. To improve health, exercise should be at least 10 minutes in
Type is the specific kind of exercise performed. There are four types of exercise:
cardiovascular/aerobic endurance, strength training, stretching, and balance. While
there is some overlap with the benefits of the different types of exercise, it is
important to perform each type of exercise because of their more specific benefits.
1. Aerobic activity increases your breathing and heart rate. Examples of aerobic activityinclude walking, jogging, swimming, and riding a bike. Benefits of aerobic activity
2. Muscle-strengthening activity targets specific muscle groups to increase muscular strength and endurance. Muscle-strengthening
activity includes the biceps curl, squat, and overhead press. Other benefits of muscle-strengthening
3. Flexibility activity is a form of exercise in which a specific skeletal muscle
or muscle group is deliberately elongated to its fullest length. Benefits of flexibility
4. Balance is a state of bodily equilibrium. Whether or not you have good balance
depends on your ability to maintain or regain your body’s stability. Some balance
exercises build up the strength in your leg muscles, while others focus on stability.
Benefits of balance activity includes:
Not everyone progresses at the same rate. Use the FITT principle chart to help determine
an exercise routine that is suitable for you and your needs.
Free weightsStretch tubesBody weightWeight machines
Static (no movement)
Gardening Walking Housework
To build strength when you exercise, you must work hard enough to break the muscle
down so it can repair itself and adapt. This often causes soreness, especially when
you do something your body is not used to.
Acute muscle soreness is the soreness felt during or immediately following exercise.
Yourbody is constantly burning energy by breaking down glucose, but it also produces some
byproducts. Generally, you don’t feel sore from normal day to day activities because
your bodycan use or dispose of the by-products before they build up. When you exercise, you
producethese by-products at a rate too fast for your body to deal with. That build up can
cause musclesoreness during your work out.
Edema, or swelling, occurs during exercise because of the shift of fluid from the
blood to themuscle tissues when the muscles fibers (muscle cells) begin to break down. This swelling
canalso cause acute muscle soreness.
Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is soreness felt a day or two after exercise.
Causesare not fully understood, but DOMS is thought to be caused by the damage done to the
musclewhen exercising or an immune system response to inflammation. DOMS is your body’s way to force you to take time to recover. It inhibits your ability
to perform at your best, and it almost completely halts glycogen re-synthesis (which
is where our energy comes from) so muscle tissue can be repaired. This soreness should
only last a day or two. Muscle soreness is not a bad thing; in fact, it is an easy
way to tell you are making progress. If you never feel sore then you are not breaking
the muscle down enough to experience any significant strength gain. Do not let the
fear of soreness keep you from working out.
Recovery is an important part of the strength training process of strength training.
If you have areally good workout one day and are sore the next day, it is ok to take the day off
to recover ordo a lighter workout (like going for a walk). The muscles need time to repair themselves
inorder for strength to increase. But when the soreness goes away, get right back into
yourregular routine. If you don’t, you will lose the progress you have made. Muscle atrophy
(loss ofmuscle tissue) can begin to happen in as little as 72 hours.
Joints can become sore or injured when they endure undue stress. Proper form or technique
during exercise can help to reduce this risk. Two joints that can be prone to injury
because of incorrect form or technique are the should joint and the knee joint.
The shoulder joint is the most mobile joint in the human body and is comprisedof four muscles called the rotator cuff (see Figure 1). Injury to the shoulder joint
can occurwhen the arms are raised higher than shoulder height while bearing excessive weight.
Thismay cause the muscles to become pinched or trapped leading to compression, inflammation,and possible damage.
Figure 1: Should Joint and Rotator Cuff Muscles
The front and side raise use the shoulder joint. Both exercises are often performed
incorrectly. Take care to lift the arms no higher than shoulder level to avoid the
pinching or trapping of the rotator cuff muscles. See Figure 2 for correct form.
Figure 2: Correct Form for Front and Side Raise
The knee joint is composed of several muscles (see Figure 3) and can carry a tremendous
amount of stress, especially when performing the squat or the lunge exercise. However,
these exercises are two of the most effective lower body exercise. The squat mimics
the movement of sitting down and getting up out of a chair, and the lunge helps to
improve balance and stability. Both exercises incorporate many muscle groups in the
lower body including the hips, thighs, buttocks, and calves. Proper form during the
squat and lunge means the knee is lined up over the ankle. This helps to keep the
bulk of body weight distributed through the heels. When form is incorrect and the
knees are pushed forward toward toes, body weight, is placed in the front part of
Figure 3: Knee Joint and Muscles of the Knee Joint
To prevent excessive stress on the knee joint when doing the squat or lunge, make
For the squat exercise, shift your hips backward as though you are going to sit in
a chair. This will help keep your weight distributed through your heels and prevent
forward movement of the knee. For the lunge, take a large step forward and lower your
torso straight down toward the floor until your knee is at a 90° angle. Push back
through the heel of your front foot to return to standing (see Figure 4).
Figure 4: Correct and Incorrect Form for Squat and Lunge
Proper form and technique are also important when doing stretching, or flexibility,
exercises. Stretching exercises can help to keep your body flexible by enabling more
freedom of movement for regular physical activity and activities of daily living such
as getting dressed, tying your shoes, and reaching for objects overhead. They can
also help to prevent injuries, reduce muscle tightness and tension, promote relaxation,
and help with coordination. Stretching can be done as a stand-alone workout or after
other types of exercise, such as endurance and strength training, to help prevent
muscle soreness and stiffness.
Be sure to practice proper stretching technique. When performed incorrectly, stretchingexercises can result in injury to the muscle, joint, and/or ligaments. Below are some
guidelinesfor stretching safely.
When performed correctly, stretching exercises can help to:
Here are a few additional exercise pointers to help reduce your risk of injury:
Any exercise movement that is selected for an exercise program should have a health
benefit, i.e. improve flexibility, strength, endurance, and/or balance. However, not
all exercises are appropriate for everyone, and some health concerns can increase
risk for injury. Such exercises are considered to be "contraindicated." Contraindicated
means an exercise movement is not recommended because it could be dangerous. Always
check with your health care provider to make sure the exercise movements are appropriate,
especially if you have any of the following health concerns: