Without a doubt, exercise yields great benefits to an individual’s overall health and wellness. For instance, improvements to your cardiovascular and respiratory systems through a training program can lead to decreased blood pressure and heart rate. Exercising can also help with reducing body fat, stress, and anxiety, while increasing muscular strength, endurance, mental capacity, and self-esteem.
As a trainer, the first question I get asked is, “How much exercise should I perform starting out?” It doesn’t matter if the individual is experienced but has taken a large amount of time off, or has been inactive most of their life and wants to get active; training two to three times per week is a great way to begin an exercise routine.
There is a set standard for the amount of exercise individuals should undertake to be considered an active person. The American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association (ACSM/AHA) state that all healthy adults aged 18 to 65 should participate in moderate intensity, aerobic physical activity for a minimum of 30 minutes, five days per week. Alternatively, they should participate in vigorous, intense, aerobic activity for a minimum of 20 minutes, three days per week.
Additionally, the ACSM/AHA also suggest every adult should perform activities that maintain or increase muscular strength and endurance for a minimum of two days per week. For individuals wishing to engage in more intense training program, there is a dose-response relationship where exceeding the recommended amounts of physical activity can yield more improvements in an individual’s long-term health and wellness. However, always listen to your body when first beginning an exercise program.
Most individuals have started an exercise program at some point in their life. Whether they maintained the routine or not, the soreness felt after the workouts will not be forgotten. The body is most likely going to be sore after getting back into such routine. The demands placed on the body during exercise for someone who has had a lot of time off, is intense. Having the one or two days in between workouts allows the body to recover.
Overuse is a term used for performing too much exercise. An overuse injury can manifest into tendinitis, muscle strain, or even injury to the ligaments. Overuse injuries occur by using incorrect form while exercising, overloading the muscle with too many reps, too much weight when first starting, or from gym sessions lasting too long. Overuse is serious, so be careful and listen to your body.
Injuries can be avoided, in part, by easing into an exercise routine. Your body is not going to go through a complete transformation overnight; it’s going to take time to reach your goals. However, if a proper training program is set up, these goals can be quickly achieved, and without any setbacks. If you need help getting started, contact your local FAST Training location and get going.
Mark Spitz, an American nine-time Olympian, said, “If you fail to prepare, you’re prepared to fail.” Frame your health and fitness with this mindset. Prepare your body for what lies ahead and you’ll overcome even the largest goals in the long run.