Spring is a good time to change up your exercise routine. With drier sidewalks it is now safer to walk or run. Why not commit to trying a new workout in April? Always check with your doctor before starting a new routine.
There are five components to being fit
Cardio-respiratory endurance – the capacity of the heart and lungs to supply oxygen to the muscles during long periods of physical activity. If you don’t have a HR monitor see if you can easily sing while your are working out. If you can belt out every word of the song Happy at the top of your lungs during your workout you are not really getting into an aerobic zone. Try for 30 minutes of moderate cardio activity five times a week. If you sit at a desk, get up at least every hour and walk even if you don’t get a cardio workout. Recent studies are showing if we sit all day it has a negative impact on health even if you workout for an hour every night.
Muscular strength – the greatest amount of force a muscle or muscle group can exert in a single effort. This is built up by using weights at the standard old school 8 to 12 repetitions of a move. Strength training twice a week for 45 minutes would be a good start.
Muscular endurance – the ability of a muscle or muscle group to perform repeated movements for a long period of time. This is built up by walking, running or biking longer.
Flexibility – the ability to move the joints or any group of joints through an entire, normal range of motion. Normal is different for every one and can be limited by your ligaments and bone structure. It is an often overlooked component of being fit. Flexibility can help prevent injuries. Yoga has helped my flexibility more than anything else.
Body composition – the percentage of body fat a person has in comparison to total body mass. If you work on the first three components of fitness your body composition will most likely improve.
Find something you like to do. Do you want a solo workout or a social group activity? For example social dance can be a great cardio workout. Since I have taught a lot of group fitness classes over the years, at times I like social walks or runs but sometimes I want my running to be my “me time”.
Maybe there is something you want to work on now that will help with a summer sport. I did not get out cross country skiing as much as I would have liked due to this sub zero winter. So my goal now is to add more cardio workouts and eventually start running again.
Tips if you are having trouble getting started
- For a morning workout, set out your workout clothes the night before.
- For an evening workout, put on your workout clothes the minute you get home. You will be more likely to follow through.
- Find a workout buddy or group.
- Just tell someone your goals and ask them if you can report in to them with your progress every week.
- Try to have a consistent day of the week and time of the day.
- Look at what you have to adjust in your schedule to make your workout work. For example do you need to get to bed earlier to make a morning workout.
- Take ten minutes when you can, a few stairs can be a cardio workout. You don’t have to workout for a half hour to get some benefits.
Here is a program from ACE the American Council on Exercise if you need some ideas.