Have you already started and failed a new exercise plan or routine this year? You started out with a hiss and a roar but gradually other priorities or excuses came up and you 'fell off the bandwagon'. You are not alone, despite the best of intentions, 9 out of 10 people who set new year's resolutions around exercise fall back into old routines after six weeks. Often this perceived 'failure' results in beating ourselves up for being lazy, weak and undisciplined. The good news is that it’s not about character flaws, it’s just that our exercise program isn’t a good ‘fit’ for our needs, our stress levels and what we enjoy.
Exercise is very personal. Just as there is no perfect diet for everyone, finding what exercise works for you will be different to someone else.
Choosing the best workout to achieve vitality, rejuvenation and longevity, is more about understanding yourself, your lifestyle and your life responsibilities than about mastering a tricky yoga pose, running 10 km, competing in crossfit or taking a spin class.
When putting together an exercise plan it’s a good idea to include some strength based training, cardio and restorative movement as they all provide different benefits. The purpose of exercise is to help balance out your stress levels. So if you are well slept with low stress in your day-to-day life, putting your body under some positive physiological stress will reap huge benefits. But, if you are already under a lot of stress or suffering from adrenal fatigue choosing the lower intensity options listed below in each category will be hugely beneficial.
Incorporating strength training into your regime is important for metabolic health, maintaining muscle mass and supporting bone health as you age.
Many strength based exercises also utilise functional movement which help with day-to-day activities. Things like squats, pull ups and presses all replicate movements we do day-in, day-out such as getting up off the floor, or lifting things above our heads.
Strength training raises your metabolic rate which can be especially helpful for type 2 diabetics because regular strength training helps to reduce insulin resistance making it ideal for those with type 2 diabetes.
When starting to include strength training using weighted equipment, it’s a good idea to start out with a trainer or in a group fitness class to ensure you have the correct technique to prevent injury
Cardio exercise is anything that increases your cardiac output, raising your heart rate and improving your cardiovascular fitness. Conventionally this means running, cross training, cycling, walking or cardio-based sports such as tennis.
Cardiovascular fitness is important for managing blood pressure, as well as improving mood and energy.
More recently many fitness classes and bootcamp style sessions include a mix of cardio and strength based movements. While a combination of the two is ideal in a person with low stress and appropriate sleep, it’s important to take into account the frequency of these activities.
Note: Many bootcamp style classes will now be a mixture of both cardio and strength training. This is ideal if stress is managed. If you have poor sleep or high levels of stress you can still do these styles of exercise, you simply need to limit the time and frequency of the activity.
Getting some form of cardio exercise is vital, so my advice is to find a sport or activity that raises your heartrate that you enjoy. I play tennis and I cycle to work several times a week. If your lifestyle is currently very stressed, a 30 minute brisk walk will suit you best.
With good reason popular exercise has now expanded to include restorative or breath-based styles of movement such as yoga, tai chi, walking, pilates and even foam rolling your muscles.
This style of movement is critical for flexibility and mobility - that is keeping your body moving in the way it is supposed to functionally, not tight and sore from training.
These types of exercises are great for helping to support your detoxification pathways, your lymphatic system and supporting your joints. Given we recommend everybody moves for 30 minutes a day, this is the category of movement everybody can do.
Another point to consider is that this is just the start of your exercise journey. If right now all you can manage is walking and yoga, you can add in more intense forms of movement later.
Consistent exercise is only achievable when you consider your current energy levels, lifestyle and interests. Find a form of movement that you love and that nourishes your body and it will be easy to include consistent movement into your everyday life.
LET’S GET MOVING
Published with permission from Synergy Health Ltd