So, you are ready to get fit. Great! When you have finally decided that “enough is enough” and that you need to get in shape, congratulate yourself, as the most important work has already been done. Now, you need a plan. You need to know what you need to do to see results and feel your best. Here are some key elements to an effective fitness plan. Be sure to incorporate these elements in your weekly routines for optimal success.
Cardio, cardio, cardio!!! – Participate in cardiovascular activities at least 3 days a week. You want to exercise at a moderate to vigorous intensity, without rest, for at least 30 minutes. Of course, more is better. Sixty minutes most days of the week is the best formula for weight loss, however, for those of you with hectic schedules, carve out at least 30 minutes a few days a week and work on increasing your effort over time, either by time or intensity. What counts as cardio? Walking. Biking. Aerobics. Dancing. Running/Jogging. Skating. And more.
Strength Training – You want to make sure that you are shaping and toning the muscles each week. You want to engage in strength training activities at least two days per week. Remember ladies, muscular training will not cause us to look like men. Our bodies are not made the same as men. It is not biologically possible. Some great exercises are push ups, squats, lunges and core exercises.
Flexibility – One area that people tend to leave out is flexibility, however, please be sure that you are not doing this as it will sabotage the effort you put into your workouts each week. Stretching actually enhances strength training and helps us get stronger from week to week. Stretch major muscle groups during each exercise session even if you did not work all areas. Yoga is a great way to improve flexibility. It will also strengthen the mind and body.
Variety – Please avoid doing the same activities each week. To avoid fitness plateaus, engage in a variety of activities. Switch it up. Don’t let your body get used to the same activities. It gets bored and stops responding.
Follow these basic guidelines and you will be on your way to a strong mind and body!