- How much and how often should I exercise in a week?
- How hard should I be working when I exercise?
- Am I too old to start an exercise program?
- Is it possible to be too out of shape to start a workout routine?
- What time of day is the best to exercise?
- Is it better to do strength training or cardio first?
- How can I lose fat in my mid-section?
- When should I stretch?
- What type of shoes should I wear?
- Will weights “bulk me up”?
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per week and at least 2 to 3 days of resistance, flexibility and neuromotor exercise. Remember this is the minimum recommended.
The frequency and duration of your workouts each week should be tailored around your specific goals and your individualized needs. Every person is unique and will respond differently to the physical demands placed on him or her.
It’s important to progressively overload the body so don’t make drastic changes from week to week.
Pay attention to how you are feeling. It’s ok to feel tired from workouts on occasion. This is what will make you stronger. Fatigue that doesn’t go away could be a sign of overdoing it. Pick activities that you most enjoy doing if you are concerned about follow through.
The most important thing is to keep your body in motion.
Use heart rate initially to monitor intensity level. I recommend a heart rate monitor and when you have developed a skill for knowing how hard your heart is working, you can incorporate Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE).
The heart rate zone percentages are of your estimated maximal heart rate. Use 220-age for an estimated maximal heart rate and multiply it by the percentage of effort for a rough estimate.
For endurance/general aerobic training follow the guidelines recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine: Beginner=50 to 65 percent effort, Intermediate=60 to 75 percent effort and Established=70 to 85 percent effort.
Incorporating intervals of short bursts at 80 to 85 percent followed by lower intensity of 50 to 65 percent effort is a great way to promote extra weight loss. Ask me about the Karvonen Method for estimating your target heart rate zone which incorporates your resting heart rate for more reliable results.
No one is ever too old to move their bodies. The key is structure-knowing what you should be doing, how to do it, and how to slowly progress as you get stronger and healthier. Exercise incorporating overall strengthening, functional movement, increasing mobility and balance training are key ingredients to feeling better and enjoying a longer life. There is an ideal workout plan for everyone and at every age.
If you are feeling too out of shape to work out, there is no better time than right now. The question is to identify what you are really concerned about. Call your doctor if you have any medical concerns and schedule a consultation with a personal trainer. Are you concerned about follow-through or not being capable of doing certain things? A fitness expert can help you find the best way to a healthier you.
When are you most energetic? When can you make a true commitment without other life activities getting in the way? Are you more of a morning or evening person? Regardless of what time of day you choose to work out, it will always be beneficial.
It does work better however to be consistent with time of day throughout the week. This will promote exercise retention and improve overall follow through from week to week.
What is most significant to you right now in regard to your fitness goals? The important thing to remember is whatever you begin your work out with is what you will have the most energy for. For example, if you want to focus on a quality strength workout, start with about a 10 minute low intensity cardio warm-up, then move into the strength portion of your workout and invest majority of your energy here. You may then add some cardio work at the end along with your stretching routine. The cardio is your warm-up and cool down. You may have other days of the week that your primary investment is cardiorespiratory work.