How can you make fitness a part of your daily life and help you reach your personal fitness goals? Jones suggests that you start by meeting the federal guidelines regarding physical activity.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, adults should be engaging in 150-300 minutes of moderate activity and 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week.
According to the HHS guidelines, more activity than this will provide additional health benefits. The guidelines also recommend that adults engage in muscle-strengthening activities (of moderate to greater intensity) for all major muscle groups at a minimum of two days per week.
Research has shown that aerobic exercise is beneficial for cardiovascular health. Your current fitness level and the recommendations of your doctor should guide you in choosing the intensity. Walking, running, cycling, and swimming are some examples.
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Other research also shows that strength exercise has other important health benefits. In the February 2015 issue Obesity, a study showed that resistance exercise is more effective in preventing the accumulation (visceral fat) which is linked with the development of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cancer. A 2019 study in the journal Science in Sports & Exercise found that people who strength train had a lower chance of having a heart attack, stroke, or death due to heart disease than those who did not. This was independent of their regular aerobic exercise.
Strength workouts should target one or more of the body’s main muscle groups such as the legs and core, back, hips, or chest. You can lift weights, use resistance bands or perform body-weight exercises to improve your fitness.
Jonesco says that it is okay to work over the course of a month to create these guidelines. also, realize that the guidelines allow for personalization. This is intentional because the most important part of a workout is to keep it up. He says, “You have to enjoy the activity in order to keep motivated to do it regularly.” It’s fine if you don’t enjoy running. You can swim or take up indoor cycling.
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Importantly, HHS’s physical activity guidelines emphasize that movement counts and can count towards your weekly goals, no matter how brief. Adults should move more and sit less throughout their day.
Wickham suggests that while this may seem overwhelming, it is not. Wickham suggests expanding your view of exercise beyond the time you spend in the gym. Think of all movement as exercise. He says, “Even people who exercise regularly aren’t moving throughout their day.”
Northwestern University researchers found that women who follow current activity guidelines are just as active as those who do not.
Wickham suggests that you integrate movement and activity into your daily life, rather than focusing on completing your entire day’s (or even week’s) activity in one sitting. You can break up long periods of sitting by engaging in any activity that moves your body, feels good and gives you the energy to get back to whatever you were doing.
Don’t forget to stretch. According to Wickham, while experts debate the benefits of stretching after exercise (stretching before exercising is not recommended), stretching throughout the day can be a great way for tight muscles to relax, tension to be relieved, and to promote flexibility in your daily life.
Fitness is about giving your body the nutrients it needs to thrive. Listen.
This post was written by Darryl Johnson, Co-Owner of Apex performance. At Apex performance we are a community of highly trained experts looking to provide performance enhancement and a permanent lifestyle change for our clients in a fun and interactive environment. Members can take advantage of personal training in Tampa, one-on-one training, small group classes, and specialized courses for a wide variety of athletics, sports training, and body goals!