How to establish an effective exercise routine
You know that exercise improves your health, accelerates weight loss and releases all those feel-good endorphins, but if you're an average Jane or Joe (aka not a certified fitness coach or trained exercise physiologist), your best intentions may not always be enough.
There are so many questions to ask! Like, how do you know what exercises to do? How long should you exercise for? How often? What types of exercises are best? For many of us, before we even set foot in a gym we’re already feeling like a fish out of water. It’s because not knowing what to do can be a big barrier to doing anything at all.
Here’s what you need to know about different exercise types and what they mean for your body…
Along with strengthening your heart and lungs, cardio helps you to maintain a healthy weight and lowers your risk of sickness and disease, Oh, and it makes you feel good! Cardio exercise includes any type of continuous movement that uses the body in a "rhythmic" way to elevate the heart rate for at least 10 minutes. Think running, cycling and swimming.
How hard to work: Each cardio workout should increase your heart rate to a "somewhat challenging" level for you. If you can comfortably chatter away, you can probably step it up a notch.
How often: Aim for 3-6 cardio sessions each week
How long: Each cardio session should range from 10-60 minutes in total
Whether you call it resistance training, weight lifting, toning or body sculpting, it all revolves around strengthening your muscles by performing exercises against resistance. This kind of workout also strengthens your bones, tendons and ligaments, which improves your fitness, tone and metabolism. In short, it helps you to better maintain a healthy weight
How hard to work: Aim for 1-3 sets of 8-15 repetitions
How often: Target every major muscle group at least 2 times per week
Stretching is another name for flexibility exercise, which works to lengthen your muscles. It also helps you to develop an appropriate range of motion for specific sports and daily activities. Flexibility exercises increase joint mobility, reduce the likelihood of injuries, improve coordination, and enhance posture.
What to do: You should stretch all your major muscle groups (like arms, chest, back, core and legs) 3-7 times per week
How much: Hold each stretch in a slow and controlled manner for 15-30 seconds
How far to stretch: On a scale of 1-10 (where 10 is "ouch”), stretch to a 5 or 7
Now that you know what you need to do, you’ll feel at home at the gym in no time!
What are your favourite exercises to do in the gym? What kind of exercise appeals to you the most?