It’s no secret that exercise, along with a healthy diet will help us to lose weight. So why is it so hard for individuals to get motivated to exercise?
One thing I have seen in practice is that many people envision exercise as hours at the gym, running on the treadmill or sweating it out in spin class. This can seem intimidating to most folks, especially if they are pressed for time each week. My clients often tell me that their schedule is their greatest deterrent to meeting their exercise goals. I can totally relate to this. As a working mom, I have definitely found it challenging to meet my goal of exercising 4x per week. What has helped me is to understand that I don’t need to be spending hours at the gym to get the job done. Daily exercise is achievable in all sorts of ways. Read below to find out how you can incorporate more into your routine.
Let’s start with the basics and understanding how much time should we be striving to exercise each week.
The current guidelines for exercise are:
At least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise = 30 minutes per day, 5x per week. This includes activities such as walking, casual bike riding, or gardening
At least 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise = 25 minutes per day 3x per week. This includes things such as running, biking, swimming, or aerobics.
A combination of the two
At least 2 days per week of strength training
These guidelines are recommended for overall heart health and for healthy weight maintenance.
So when it comes down to it, a simple 30 minutes per day will lower our risk of heart disease and help us to better maintain a healthy weight.
Don’t have a full 30 minutes per day to devote to exercise? One technique that has worked for my clients is to space apart or distribute exercise throughout the day, just like we do with meals. Try walking for 15 minutes at lunch, then 15 minutes in the evening. You’ve got yourself a full 30 minutes by day’s end. Strive to do this 5x per week to meet the minimum guidelines for moderate exercise. But you can also count activities such as walking the dog, playing ball with your kids, or parking further away. The point is to just be as active as you can whenever the opportunity arises in order to meet your goals.
Another recommendation is to try High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT. This is a type of exercise that involves quick and intense bursts of exercise with interval rest periods. HIIT would count as vigorous exercise. Studies show that HIIT is extremely effective at burning calories. The best part is, you can produce a large calorie burn in a small amount of time. So for all those folks out there who enjoy the gym but are pressed for time, HIIT training may a great form of exercise to add in.
My absolute favorite form of exercise, and the one that has worked best for me, is strength training. Strength training has SO many benefits. Strength training decreases body fat, increases muscle mass, burns calories, and raises metabolism. Who wouldn’t want that?? But did you know that strength training can also help to develop strong bones and lower the risk for osteoporosis? For women approaching the age of perimenopause or menopause, this is absolutely essential. As if that isn’t enough, strength training can also help to reduce chronic conditions such as arthritis, back pain, heart disease, and diabetes.
Strength training does not necessarily have to occur in the gym. There are many forms of strength training that utilize your own body weight such as planks, push ups, squats, and leg lunges to name a few. You can do these in your own home, office or when traveling. When my work schedule started to compromise my gym time, it helped to know I could still incorporate strength training into my routine a few times per week. I began with a small goal of training 2 days per week at the gym for 30-60 minutes and 1 day per week at home, and built up from there. I also sought the expertise of a certified personal trainer to make sure I was working out safely and using proper form. Once I had a routine that worked for me and my schedule, I was back on track with my fitness goals.
Adding in strength training to my routine has made a huge difference for me, and my clients who have incorporated at least 2 days of strength training have also seen great results.
If you can’t meet the minimum requirements for cardiovascular exercise or strength training, I still encourage you to set a small, achievable goal.
Two recent studies that compared the lifespan of individuals who exercised in accordance to the current guidelines and beyond showed that even the slightest amount of physical activity was better then none. Individuals who met the guidelines reduced their risk of premature death by 31%. Those who exceeded the guidelines reduced their risk by 39%. Even those who fell slightly short of the guidelines still had a longer life span then individuals who did not exercise at all.
If you want to learn more about how exercise along with a healthy diet can help you achieve your weight loss goals, contact me today to set up an appointment. I would love to work with you!