During January, many of us resolve to incorporate more physical activity into our lives. This is great! But how do we navigate the complex world of exercise?
How do you know what type of exercise you really need? And how do you get it (realistically)?
Let’s break it down into the three major categories of physical activity.
Cardio (aka endurance) is important for, well, your cardiovascular health. It helps keep your heart and your respiratory system strong. There are many ways to do cardio exercise, and most types fall into LISS or HIIT.
LISS stands for Low-Intensity Steady-State, which means that you are training at a moderate pace for a longer period of time. For example, you can take a long walk, go for a swim, jog, or dance. LISS is the best option to maintain a healthy heart at any fitness level.
HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training, which means that you exercise with lots of effort for short periods of time. There are various HIIT ratios you can follow; 1:2 is a popular schedule, as you rest twice as long as you work (e.g. 30 seconds running, 60 seconds walking). HIIT is the best cardio for weight loss, because you use a lot of energy in a short amount of time.
Also known as resistance training, this type of exercise is important for bone health and staying strong as we age. It also helps with balance! Strength training can be split between bodyweight and weight training.
Training with your own bodyweight is a great way to build your strength from the ground up. Think pushups, squats, or lunges. It’s a good way to get to know your own body and how it moves. Plus, using your own bodyweight to train is super convenient, because you don’t need to purchase special equipment or even a gym membership.
Once you’ve developed a solid foundation of proper alignment in bodyweight exercises, try weight training with in the form of dumbbells, barbells, medicine balls, etc. You don’t have to turn into Schwarzenegger or The Rock to benefit from extra resistance. Just add a little here and there to support your muscle growth/maintenance and make everyday movements effortless.
Flexibility is important for your range of motion. Stretching regularly can also reduce pain and reduce the chance of injury.
Dynamic stretches is best for warmups. Think of shoulder rolls, hip rotations, and leg swings. These movements prepare your body for your upcoming activity.
Static stretches, like many seated yoga poses, are best for cooling down. You hold one position and take a few deep breaths to lengthen your muscles.
Try to incorporate each category of activity into your weekly routine. Some types of exercise incorporate two or three of these categories into one activity. A vinyasa yoga class, for example, can include LISS, bodyweight training, and both types of stretching. Consider what you need for your own body, and most importantly, what you enjoy. Cause if it’s fun, you’re more likely to do it!
Here are a few ways you can increase your activity level on the daily (the last one is my favorite 😉)
Remember rule number one: SAFETY. When done properly, physical activity has wonderful benefits and can be fun 🤩 When done improperly, you run the risk of hurting yourself.
Not sure where to start? You can book a free consultation with me here. As your health coach, I can help you create a workout plan designed for your needs ❤️