How "Fit" Should I Be?
- Cardiorespiratory Exercise and Fitness (cardiorespiratory and endurance-centered benefits) Cardiorespiratory (“aerobic”) exercise is a continuous, rhythmic style of exercising that should be performed at least 5 days per week at a moderate intensity for a total of at least 30-60 minutes per day, at least 3 days per week of vigorous exercise for 20-60 minutes per day, or a combination of both. This type of exercise may be performed in one, continuous session or in segmented sessions of 10 minutes at a time to improve cardiovascular health and endurance.
- Resistance Exercise (improves muscular fitness, muscular endurance, and power) Resistance exercise involves utilizing free weights, machines, or bodyweight to perform any number of sets and repetitions (based on your goals and abilities). Each major muscle group should be trained 2-3 days per week, with anywhere between 8-20 repetitions and 2-4 sets being performed to improve strength, endurance, and power. Rest should also be included between sets to achieve maximal effort, recovery, and results. Muscle groups should be allowed to rest for 48 hours before being intentionally worked again.
- Flexibility Training (flexibility and balance) Stretching should be performed after muscles are warmed up. Each major muscle-tendon unit should be stretched 2-3 days per week. Positions should be held between 10-30 seconds for 2-4 sets for most adults, totaling about 60 seconds per flexibility exercise.
- Neutomotor Training (flexibility, balance, agility, reaction time) A variety of neuromotor exercises are possible and include any exercises that help improve proprioception, motor skills (balance, agility, coordination, and gait), and multifaceted activities (including yoga). These exercises are recommended at least 2-3 days per week for 20-30 minutes and can help prevent falling and improve physical function.
- Something Enjoyable! Finding something that you enjoy will inspire you to exercise more consistently and frequently! All aspects of physical fitness are important, but it is important to perform them in ways that are fun for you! Feel free to kayak or dance it out! By setting goals and participating in activities that you enjoy, you will begin to adhere to your workouts.
- Set Goals Another way to adhere to a workout is to set a S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely) goal and then work to achieve it! If you want to begin running, make it specific and attainable. For example, if you enjoy running, aim to run a 5k in 3 months’ time. You don’t want to be too zealous; creating a goal that extreme can lead to feeling discouraged. You should begin by setting short-term goals (such as running for 30 minutes 3x per week) and long-term goals (running a 5k in 3 months) for longevity and motivational purposes. As you adhere to your plan, you will begin to see results, which can inspire and motivate you to attain goals in other aspects of your life, as well.
Tomorrow I'll be sharing a more personal look into my approach to exercise in "Ins and Outs of Fitness: Part 3". In the meantime, you can read the first installment of the 3-part series if you missed it here!
Throughout her life, Lauren has experienced a range of body types and has learned the strength, power, and vulnerability that each new shape may bring. She hopes to graduate from ULM, then train and teach youth and adults about the importance of internal health and mental well-being with physical activity and nature. Lauren enjoys long naps on the beach, assisting her sisters in cooking new recipes (then eating most of it), and exploring the wild.