4 must-haves for an effective workout

July 09, 2018 | by Carol Teteak, M.S.
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

You know you have to work out to improve or maintain your overall health and wellness, but what does an effective routine look like for most adults?

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, your weekly exercise program should include four training protocols to keep your body working efficiently. Doing so can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer. It can also lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, shed excess weight and preserve bone density, quality of life and cognitive function!

Let’s break down these vital components so you can start incorporating them into your routine now:

Cardiorespiratory training = aerobic exercise

Your heart and lungs need to be challenged on a weekly basis to improve aerobic endurance and overall health. There are so many forms of aerobic exercise to choose from, just pick what moves you— but make it purposeful!

  • Frequency and intensity = 5 days/week at moderate pace OR 3 days/week at vigorous pace OR a combination of each for 3-5 days/week
  • Duration = 150 min/week of moderate exercise OR 75 min/week of vigorous exercise OR a combination of both throughout the week
  • Light to moderate pace is beneficial for deconditioned adults

Resistance training = strength exercise

For improved muscular endurance, bone density and overall strength we need to exercise our bodies against some form of resistance. Whether using body weight, dumbbells, machines, tubing or bars, every major muscle group should be trained.

  • Frequency = 2-3 days/week
  • Duration = no specific timeframe has been identified
  • Intensity = very light - light for those new to exercise; light - moderate for those focusing on endurance; moderate - hard for novice/intermediate exercisers; hard - very hard for experienced exercisers
  • Repetitions = can vary from 8-20 per exercise depending on goal and ability
  • Sets = can vary from 2-4 per exercise depending on goal and ability

Neuromuscular training = functional exercise

As we age we see a decline in our ability to perform common motor tasks and cognitive functions which can increase risk of falls. Additionally, without appropriate neuromuscular training, athletes can see a decrease in performance. Research has shown that adding exercise that incorporates movements relating to everyday life activity (or sport) can improve one’s balance, coordination, agility, power and speed.

  • Frequency = 2-3 days/week
  • Duration = no specific timeframe has been identified but 20-30 min/day is suggested

Flexibility training = stretching exercise

Maintaining or improving joint range of motion aids in a healthy muscle/tendon relationship throughout the body while enhancing posture and movement. Examples are athletic stretching, yoga and foam rolling.

  • Frequency = 2-3 days/week of dedicated stretching exercise; also recommended to be performed after any cardio, resistance or neuromuscular training bout
  • Duration = holding each stretch 10-30 sec; older adults may see greater benefit holding 30-60 sec
  • Intensity = holding only to point of tightness or slight discomfort

Unsure what your body needs, where to start, or how to create a safe, effective and efficient exercise program?

Contact Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness to be connected with one of our nationally certified personal trainers to create a routine that best fits your needs and goals.

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