Sound familiar? Of course it does. We have been told hundreds of times that for a full and healthy life we should exercise on a regular basis, ideally everyday. What the news doesn’t do when it releases all these studies is articulate how easy and fun this prescription of exercise can be!
Also, with the variety of needs and goals that people have today in terms of their fitness, what is the yardstick for “enough” exercise. More importantly, when does enough become too much? It is very possible to have too much of a good thing, and there are risks associated with overtraining just as with undertraining.
First, lets look at the three main reasons people exercise and what their routines should look like.
1. To get that buff, lean, beach body
While society has been adamantly pushing the six-pack into our ideal of beauty, this goal represents a minority of people engaged in an exercise program. There is nothing wrong with pursuing an aesthetic ideal, especially when performed safely, and with long term health as a constant motivator to avoid dangerous short-term habits, such as crash diets or extreme training. As far as a regimen, individuals with this end result in mind must be very mindful of their diets and exercise. They must act as sculptors do: paying focused attention to pieces, and the whole, and building them according to their vision. If you share this objective, be prepared for up to 90 minutes of exercise everyday, paired with a very disciplined diet and rest program.
2. To lose weight and gain some lean muscle
If the beach-body you see in the magazine is out of reach for your situation and genetics, fear not, you can still lose weight and gain lean muscle with exercise, and you won’t have to spend nearly as much time and energy. Obviously, the best way to lose weight is a shift in dietary habits paired with exercise, and that will never change. To drop the pounds, aim for about 45-60 minutes of exercise most days of the week. Be sure to complement your efforts with healthy choices, and you will be looking and feeling great in no time!
3. To help their heart, lungs, bones, and immune systems
Many people that are in the greatest need of exercise have the biggest fear of it. They see it as a huge time sink that is unpleasant and uncomfortable. If you aren’t going to make the 45 minutes to shed the pounds though, at least shoot for the 30 minute mark. At this level your heart and lungs, as well as many other parts of that wonderful body of yours, will reap tremendous benefits! For example:
- For patients with heart disease who engage in regular, aerobic exercise there is approximately a 25% reduction in mortality over a 1–3 year time period.
- For individuals who are regularly active and who do not have documented heart disease there is a 50% reduction in risk of death from a heart attack.
The benefits are huge! Now, many of you might think that these times may be too daunting, but don’t worry, it gets better. The effects of exercise are cumulative, meaning that you can treat that 30 minute mark it as three, 10 minute blocks of physical activity. It would be a very small group of people that went 30 minutes non-stop everyday from the get go!
What comes to mind when you think of exercise? Aerobics videos? Gyms and weights? Treadmills? All of these are great options, but really, any physical activity that gets your heart, lungs, and muscles working qualifies. Try some of these:
- Make it easy: try taking walks, gardening, or taking a bike ride around your neighborhood.
- Merge it into your daily activities: park further away from entrances, take the stairs when possible, play with your kids.
- Make it a group effort: groups make it harder to shirk your commitments, so setup times with friends or family for walks or play time.
- Try something new and engaging: yoga, hiking, boating and other activities are great exercise.
- Work it into your down time: you can even try doing some exercise at home on the commercial breaks of your favorite TV shows.
Some people get a bit overzealous when they try to start exercise programs. Exercise is a fantastic addition to your routine, but don’t overdo it. Working out to fatigue everyday, or pushing yourself to being overly sore on a regular basis has negative effects on the body. Make it a challenging experience, but also be focused on enjoying it, and maintaining proper form and habits in any activity. From the weight room to the playground, something as simple as how you lift any weight can injure you if done improperly. Some other effects of overtraining include increased risk for injury, decreased immune function, and even increased blood pressure.
One way you can curb your risk, enjoy yourself, and develop a healthy program to meet your individual needs is to enlist the aid of a health coach, or a personal trainer. A health coach can help you to stop feeling fatigued, drop the pounds, aid your digestive ills, and to make positive choices in your life that last. Schedule a health history today and get started on your journey towards wellness.
– John Garda
John Garda is a Holistic Health Coach working out of NY and Miami. He has been able to help his clients overcome their challenges, and now has a practice that focuses on helping busy individuals lower their stress, lose weight, achieve wellness, and love who they see in the mirror.
Visit John’s website at http://www.ironmountainwellness.com
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