An effective workout is one that supports your health goals and works with your lifestyle. Oftentimes, when we start a new workout plan or fitness routine, we wreck our brains trying to figure out the best way to incorporate exercise into our lives. How much should you exercise? What types of activities should you do, and to what degree? These are all popular questions.
The ABC’s of an Effective Workout
The degree to which a workout is effective depends on your ability to stick with it. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing or it doesn’t fit your goals or schedule, you might need to make adjustments. Consider the factors below in determining what kind of plan is right for you.
This is one of the most important things to consider! Not every workout needs to be spent in a gym, hitting the treadmill or the wall of weights. If you are someone who prefers to be outside, more of your workouts might involve activities like hiking, biking or outdoor aerobics. If you enjoy the comfort of being alone and listening to motivational music without headphones, home workouts using guided videos or apps may be better suited to your interests.
Altogether, the workouts in your fitness plan should be well-rounded and versatile. You need activities that support your cardiovascular fitness as well as those that focus on building healthy muscles. Cardio activity is especially effective for boosting your heart and lung health. Resistance-based exercises stimulate muscle growth, which has many health benefits including:
- Boosting fat loss
- Increasing bone density
- Improving balance and posture
- Improving blood sugar control
- Reducing the likelihood of falls
Support for Your Weight Goals
Although weight management is not the only benefit of exercise, it is certainly the one people seem to seek the most. If you struggle with your weight, regular exercise can certainly help. 30-60 minutes of daily moderate to vigorous intensity exercise can produce surprising results on the scale.
However, you shouldn’t depend on exercise alone. While 100% of the daily energy we gain comes from the foods we eat, only 10-30% gets burned with physical activity. That’s why regular exercise, paired with a healthy diet, is your best bet at long-term weight management.
Everyone’s fitness goals and workout plans look different (as they should) because we all have different health goals and personal needs. What’s most important is that you start somewhere – anywhere – and make gradual improvements as you progress further.
Maybe you can only jog for a few minutes before running out of breath, or lift 10 lb. weights a handful of times before becoming fatigued. That’s okay. Start with what you can do and make a plan to improve with time. Being able to measure your progress is truly a benchmark for success.
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