Everyone knows that fitness is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. However, it can be challenging to maintain a fitness routine. One may not be used to exercise and now know where to start. One might have hit a plateau-a point where they are no longer feeling challenged or seeing results. Or, one may simply be bored with their regular workout routine. As they try to decide what to do next, one may wonder, what exactly is a good workout routine?
The answer is, there is no one workout that is optimal for every person. Which workout(s) one chooses to depend on a variety of factors, including their current fitness level, goals, and abilities. In addition, enjoyment is a factor. While it may not be the first thing many consider, it is important to get some enjoyment from a fitness routine, as this aids in one’s ability to stay on track to their targets, whether it be weight loss, strength, maintenance, or increasing fitness.
Cardiovascular workouts, also known as cardio, are an essential component of fitness, no matter what one’s goals are. The National Institutes of health recommend 30-45 minutes of moderate intensity cardio 3-5 days a week in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Cardio burns calories, which helps individuals maintain their body weight or lose additional weight. It also helps keep the heart and other aspects of the human body systems healthy and functioning. Cardio can include just about any activity that gets one’s heart rate up and gets them moving. It might include walking, running, rowing, biking (on a bicycle or stationary bike), kickboxing, tennis, basketball, and more. Many popular fitness classes are also based around a cardio activity. Joining a group can help one stay focused and motivated as opposed to only working out alone.
If weight loss is a goal, one may want to increase their time spent on the cardio activity. Another way to aid weight loss is to alternate the intensity of one’s cardio workouts. For example, high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, has recently been recognized as an effective fitness routine. HIIT is any activity that is performed at max effort for a certain amount of time (i.e. 30 seconds), then the participant rests for a certain amount of time (i.e. 10 seconds). The cycle is then repeated from anywhere to 4 minutes to over 10 minutes.
Exercisers looking to build muscle will turn to strength training. This type of exercise focuses on working certain muscle groups using repetitive motion. It is often done using counterweights, such as dumbbells, bars, and weight machines; but can also be executed using one’s own body weight. This makes strength training easy to complete anywhere.
Many lifters choose to focus on only one group of muscles a day and work out several consecutive days, while others find that they prefer combination moves that work multiple parts of the body and are completed 2-3 times a week, with days of rest in between workouts. No matter which method one chooses, it is important to give the muscles time to rest and rebuild.
Those looking to lose weight will not want to overlook strength training. While muscle weighs more than fat, strong muscles give the body a leaner look and burn more calories during the course of regular living than the alternative.
A good approach for many is a balanced combination of cardio and strength training workouts. This allows them to maintain a healthy lifestyle that benefits the organs, muscles, and bones; along with weight maintenance goals. It is important to stay within one’s limits, but at the same time continue to grow, whether it be increasing time, intensity or lifting weight.
Once one has decided on a direction for their fitness, they still may be lost as to where to find a good workout routine. As aforementioned, group fitness classes are a great option for many. Resources such as Pinterest offer many ideas for cardio, strength, and combination workouts. A personal trainer can help one select a plan to reach their goals and is often very affordable, sometimes free with the purchase of a gym membership.
Fitness is necessary to living a longer, happier, more productive life. Determining a good workout routine can take some effort, but the results are well worth the consideration.