Get better and faster results by customizing your workouts – discover what’s missing from your current routine.
Taking a balanced approach, in my opinion, is the best approach to living a healthy, active lifestyle. Training in a balanced and structured way will help you to more accurately progress your workouts, may help you to avoid unnecessary injuries, and following a balanced routine may enhance your overall training results, helping you reach your goals faster.
We all have our individual likes and dislikes when it comes to exercising, so customizing your routine based on what you love is the best way to ensure you stay motivated and dedicated toward achieving your goal.
Here are four elements of exercise that every good plan should include:
Stretching: Stretching on a regular basis can help you gain body confidence and make you become more conscious of your posture. Stretching is also great for improving joint stability, muscular flexibility and alleviating muscular tension.
Dynamic warmup stretches and static post-exercise stretching can take as little as 10 minutes of your time, yet they can make a dramatic difference in how you feel. Ensure that every workout starts with a warmup and ends with a cooldown.
Cardio: Engaging in cardiovascular activity is good for your heart and great for burning excess calories. Your heart is a muscle and pushing it to work hard a few days each week may help improve your cardiac output. If you engage in cardiovascular activity on a regular basis, you may lower your overall resting heart rate, which is good for your long-term health. There are so many activities you can choose from; walking, running, cycling, dancing and swimming are all very popular, but any exercise that gets your heart rate up will work.
Performing moderately intense cardio-based activities for at least 150 minutes per week or 75 minutes per week of vigorous activity – or a combination of the two – is a good amount to aim for to reap the health benefits associated with exercising.
Strength: When you add resistance-based training to your routine, you will start to notice changes in how you look and feel. You may lose excess body fat and gain lean muscle mass, which is not only great for your appearance, but it also helps your body become more efficient at burning calories. A body with a high percentage of lean muscle mass requires more calories just to sustain itself than a person of the same weight who has a higher percentage of body fat.
You can stimulate muscle tissue to grow by exercising, using your body weight as resistance or by lifting weights on a regular basis. Performing resistance-based activities three to four times per week, combined with consuming a protein-rich diet can help you achieve great results.
Endurance: Engaging in regular, prolonged physical activity can improve your muscular strength and boost your overall endurance level. When you exercise, your body must deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues in order to help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently.
When your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you have more energy to go about your daily tasks. You can improve cardiovascular endurance by extending the duration of your workouts, and muscular endurance can be achieved by increasing your weight and reps. Spend at least one session per week focusing on your endurance-based fitness level.
We all have different goals for our bodies, so taking a personalized approach to your plan is the best way to ensure that you are striving toward becoming your best self. You get to decide how much of each mode of training you incorporate into your week to feel at your best. Keep an exercise journal as you experiment with your plan, so that when you do find the perfect exercise combination for your body, you will have it written down for future reference.
Samantha Clayton, OLY, ISSA-CPT
Vice President, Sports Performance and Fitness