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The Long Haul continued...
"The good news is, once you make progress, the intensity and frequency will change. Because your body is stronger, you're able to do more things," says Fichera.
Men over age 40, and women over 45, should see a doctor first if they have been inactive, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. If you have a chronic illness, such as diabetes or asthma, be sure your doctors knows. If you're younger, see a trainer who knows about fitness evaluation, says Fichera.
"Exercise heart rate" -- how well your heart responds during exercise -- is the gold standard test in evaluating fitness level, he says. "You may be surprised. A 50-year-old may find out he's healthier than some 20-year-olds."