19 Feb Looking for an Exercise Routine That Works?
If you’re trying to jump-start your fitness, choose a well-designed exercise plan that fits your body and your schedule.
We’re well into winter and the year is in full swing. So how is your New Year’s resolution to exercise regularly going?
You can be honest. No one’s listening.
Maybe you’re not quite hitting your goal. Or the whole thing has dropped by the wayside. Or you haven’t even started yet.
Don’t worry, there’s still hope.
Sometimes all you need to reach your goal is a well-designed plan. A realistic plan.
So here you are — an approach for kick-starting your fitness program. One that just might work for you.
How much exercise do I need?
We know that regular physical activity is good for us, but how much is enough?
The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends the following for healthy adults:
- 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. Or 75 minutes a week of vigorous activity. Or some combination of both.
- Two or more days a week of moderate or vigorous muscle strengthening — aka resistance training — that targets all major muscle groups.
On top of that, you should also include flexibility and balance training in your fitness plan. These can often be done alongside aerobic or muscle strengthening activities.
There are many ways to meet these guidelines. What’s important is to find something that works for you.
Sarah Walls, a personal trainer and owner of Virginia-based SAPT Strength & Performance Training Inc., shared that if you’re starting out, one option is to break it down like this:
- Aerobic activity: five days a week, 20 to 30 minutes a day
- Resistance training: three days a week, 30 to 60 minutes a day
At Fuse Fitness in Berkeley, California, founders Kristin Rios and Pascha Brown, both certified personal trainers, said they ease beginners into exercise.
“With beginners, we have them start with just two workouts a week, so they have plenty of time to rest and recover in between,” Rios and Brown shared. “We encourage walking and yoga between sessions, and plenty of good sleep and water to help with soreness.”
The workouts at Fuse Fitness are hour-long sessions that pack in all the key elements of fitness — mobility and flexibility, strength training, conditioning, agility, balance, and core training.
This saves you time, which is nice if you’re short on that.
As people become more comfortable exercising, Rios and Brown encourage them to increase to three to four hour-long sessions a week. These sessions can be either one-on-one workouts or group classes.
Likewise, Walls said that “over the span of one to two years, the intensity should be increased as the person becomes more comfortable with doing the movements correctly and their fitness level improves.”
Working out at the gym, though, is not the only way to stay active.
“We encourage our clients to participate in activity every day when they’re not training with us,” said Rios and Brown, “whether it’s hiking, bike riding, gardening, rock climbing, or yoga.”
These non-gym activities can easily get you up to the 150 minutes a week of aerobic activity.
Just don’t neglect whole-body strength training for more aerobic activity. Stronger muscles burn calories, strengthen your bones and make it easier to stay active throughout your life.
And remember, resistance training isn’t just lifting weights. Exercises that use your own body as resistance — things like pushups, pullups, planks, and squats — count too.
You can arrange your workouts throughout the week whichever way you want, but here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Alternate your hard and easy days, especially with resistance training. This gives your muscles a chance to recover.
- It’s OK to do aerobic activity and resistance exercise on the same day. Walls recommends that if you’re doing a traditional resistance training session, do it before aerobic exercise. Circuit training and some fitness classes, though, mix things up more, with good results.
- To avoid fitness burnout, take off one day a week from structured exercise. Go for a hike or bike ride, hit the beach, or walk around your city.
Most of all, remember the most important rule of fitness — choose activities that you enjoy doing.
“Pursue the things you love but continue adding variety in order to consistently challenge your body in new ways while keeping things fresh,” said Koehler.
The above article is courtesy of My EZ Health Guide and is intended for informational purposes only.