There is no doubt exercise is essential for optimal health and wellness. Regular exercise is necessary to maintain appropriate body weight, improve critical body functions such as the heart, brain, muscles, alimentary tract, and reduce risk of diseases like stroke, diabetes and some cancers. However, exercise is often the least on our minds as we navigate our daily routine. We are overwhelmed by so many commitments and responsibilities throughout the day, that we often do not think of working out. Even when we do work out occasionally, it is often short-lived and then abandoned until after several weeks. So what are the exercise fitness tips to help you maintain a regular exercise habit? The following are proven exercise tips to keep you on the go.
1. Choose what type is best for you
Choose what type is best for you. There are several work out types. So choose which one is best for you. The American Council on Exercise suggest that there is no best exercise, but exercise should be individualized to suite your preference. The common types of exercise are given below:
- Aerobics- this is also known as cardio and involves continuous movements. Examples are dancing, running, swimming. They increase heart rate, respiratory rate and blood flow thereby increasing the efficiency of these organs.
- High intensity interval training- this involves short bouts of high-intensity activities like running, followed by low intensity activity like walking or rest. Like aerobics, it increases heart rate and respiratory rate.
- Calisthenics- this involves exercise that relies on the person’s own body weight. It does not require the use of gym equipment, though some light handheld devices like wands and rings may be used. They help to develop muscle strength, flexibility and coordination. Examples are push ups, pull ups, sit ups, jump squats and dips
- Strength- this is also called resistance exercise. It helps to increase muscle mass and muscle tone, thereby improving muscle strength. In addition, it helps increase bone density, thus reducing risk of osteoporosis. It often requires use of weighted equipment like dumbbells. Examples include weights, resistance bands, sprints, squats and mountain climbing.
- Flexibility- this type of exercise is used to improve flexibility, balance and increase range of movement of joints. This results in improved posture and coordination. It is also beneficial for relieving aches and pains. Examples are yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates.
- Interval- This involves alternating between different exercise types in a single exercise session. This may include walking for a few minutes, followed by running, then resistance exercise. It helps improve different body functions as mentioned above.
2. Start small and go slow
This can lead to exhaustion or injuries, thus leaving you discouraged to continue. In addition, excessive exercise has been linked to hormonal imbalance, mood changes and weakening of the immune system, leading to increased risk of infection. So start with light exercise for a few minutes, then scale up gradually to more vigorous routine as you build up your stamina. You may feel some pain or discomfort initially, but this will ease after a few sessions. So do not be discouraged. Set small goals for scaling up and continue to improve gradually. In addition, choose the exercise that you enjoy most. Setting small goals and choosing the exercise you enjoy will help keep you motivated and thus make it a habit. If you have no experience in exercising you can consult a professional for types of exercise to get started. Thereafter, you will be able to maintain a schedule on your own.
3. Consult your doctor if you experience any unexpected difficulty
If you have not exercised for a long time, you will begin to feel the benefits in your body after a few workout sessions. However, if you experience excessive fatigue or unexpected limitation when exercising, you may need to consult your doctor. Heart, lung and kidney diseases are common causes of exercise intolerance, while early detection and management can help prevent further complications.
4. Plan your own exercise program
Your exercise program should be individualized and tailored to suit your exercise needs and preference. You can start by trying different exercise types, then choose the one that suite you best. A combination of different types is also a good option. For example combination of aerobics, weights and resistance. A good exercise schedule should follow the order- warm-ups, then main exercise, and finally cool downs. In addition, it can help if you exercise with others. If you find someone with similar interests in exercise, like a relative or friend, you can schedule your sessions together. This can further help to keep each other motivated.
5. Exercise regularly and be consistent
To achieve the full benefits from exercise, it must be done regularly. That means at least weekly. The American college of Sports Medicine recommends an average of 150 hours of exercise per week or 30 minutes sessions for 3 to 5 times per week. So you don’t have to work out every day, and you don’t need fancy exercise equipment or gym to work out effectively. What you need is determination and discipline. If you have limited space for work out, you can do on-the-spot running, push-ups, weights or resistance exercise. Schedule your exercise at the time you have the most energy. This is usually first thing in the morning for most people, but may be different for others. Exercising at the same time each day is also more effective than different times of the day. This will further help keep you motivated and disciplined, thus making it a habit.
6. Eat healthy diets
Finally, to derive the full benefits of exercise, eating a healthy diet is essential. This involves a balanced diet with the right amounts of nutrients like carbohydrates, protein, lipids minerals and vitamins. It also means restricting certain substances that are harmful to the health such as fats and sodium. See the article on Nutrition Tips To Stay Healthy for more details on eating healthy diets.
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