How much exercise do you actually need to get in shape?
Twenty minutes three times per week? Half an hour per day?
And how much is too much?
Do you need to sweat it out for an hour or more every day?
How much exercise is ideal for your health and wellness? Ideal for getting into shape?
These are questions that often come up with my coaching clients. I’m passionate about Yoga and frequently introduce yoga to my clients, but I also appreciate the role other forms of exercise play. We’re all different, with different bodies and energy levels and finding a way of moving your body that leaves you feeling, refreshed, and energised is my goal.
We all need to find ways to de-stress and help us sleep better, which are just some of the benefits to exercise besides keeping our bodies fit and healthy.
But lets be real. We could all do with an extra hour in the day.
SO WHAT’S THE MINIMUM AMOUNT OF EXERCISE?
Of course, you’re going to have to start from where you are right now. If you’re not already exercising regularly, don’t go overboard. In fact, trying too much too soon will leave you feeling defeated before you even get started, and become a reason you just throw in the towel.
So, let’s say you’re not that active (yet). What if I were to recommend “ten to twenty minutes every other day at a level you think you can do?” How does that sound as a starting point?
If you’re not training for a competition, you can absolutely get into great shape starting with this plan.
It’s going to be longer, I’m not going to lie. But that time is going to pass anyway, so when the next year comes around wouldn’t you want to be proud of your improved strength and fitness?
Yes, I thought so!
HOW TO DESIGN YOUR EXERCISE PLAN
There isn’t one answer for everyone. The main rule is to begin with where you are. Take note of your fitness level and your goals and increase and improve slowly. There really is no quick fix (that will give you lasting long-term results).
Always consider what’s sustainable for you, based on:
- What is your long-term fitness goal?
- What else is going on in your life (i.e. how much time do you really have)?
- What is your current state of fitness?
But don’t stop there.
As you create a consistent exercise habit, it will start to get easier. So, don’t forget to make it a bit more challenging as you go. Every week do something to push yourself a bit further. If you’re strength training, do another repetition or grab the next heavier weight. If you’re doing cardio, go a bit longer, farther, and/or faster.
If your the kind of person that’s motivated by seeing your progress, then write down your reps, sets, and/or times each time you workout in a notebook or an app. This will not only help you to keep motivated to continue, but it will also help you see where you can squeeze in that extra challenge as you progress.
After a few weeks you can stop and reassess. Do you want to keep going the way you are, ramp it up, or change it completely? Eventually, you will find yourself getting stronger, and more fit!
If you find it hard to motivate yourself, then that’s where a personal trainer or a coach can help.
DON’T FORGET YOUR NUTRITION
While exercise is very, very good for your health, wellness and longevity, it’s not the only thing to consider. What you eat is going to have as big, or bigger, impact on your shape and energy levels.
Some simple tips that will give you the greatest rewards are:
- Eat more veggies
- Swap the fizzy drinks for water (add fruit for flavour if you need to)
- Cut your treats and sweets in half, gradually phasing them out altogether.
- Carry around healthy (unsweetened fibre-rich) snacks like nuts, fruit and berries
- Eat slowly and savour it more by chewing each bite of food more thoroughly
You don’t need to exercise like crazy to get into shape. I promise. But you do need to do the following:
- Start from where you are.
- If you’re a beginner, that means 20 – 30 minutes every other day at an easy level.
- Log your workout progress to track improvements and keep motivated.
- Slowly increase the difficulty every week as you get stronger and fitter.
- Don’t forget to eat your veggies, reduce your ‘sweet treats’ and carry around healthy snacks.
- Talk with your doctor if you have any health concerns, before beginning any new exercise or nutrition program.
- Make an appointment to chat with me (your health coach) on how I can support you getting into shape