Many people, when they start out on a new fitness journey, only focus on one or two important components of exercise. It might just be strength training with a personal trainer, jog/walks with their friend or HIIT classes at the gym. However, any general exercise regime should include a combination of key components.
When I was consulting for the Flight Centre group, I would perform a health screening with their staff. At the end, I needed to provide some recommendations, and I found myself saying the same thing over and over. Even now as I deliver health screening and wellness consultations with my private clients, I still say the same thing most of the time.
Low, moderate and high-intensity exercise are all necessary components of a well-rounded exercise regime. But strength training is fundamentally the most important.
People often ask, “What’s the best exercise to lose weight?” Whether it’s to lose weight, or just be healthy, my answer is always the same. Get a balance of low, moderate and high intensity exercise, underpinned by strength.
How to Program Exercise for Best Results
Low-intensity exercise. Most simply, this is the amount you move in a day. I often refer to this as the number of steps you take each day. Aim for 10,000 steps; however, if you are just starting out, begin by measuring how many steps you take on average per day, and aim to increase this by 500 each week.
Moderate-intensity exercise. This is exercise whereby you are increasing your heart rate to a moderate level (usually 120-150 beats per minute) and hold it there. This is generally at a pace where you can maintain a conversation, but only just. This could be brisk walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, or even dancing.
High-intensity exercise. This is the type of exercise you would typically do in a group fitness class at the gym. Often it also has strength training incorporated into it. This is the type of exercise whereby you increase your heart rate to a high level (greater than 150 beats per minute) and then drop it, repeating this process.
Strength training. Developing strength not only increases lean muscle mass, which in turn burns more energy (even at rest), it strengthens your body to better cope with what you’re asking it to do in the above three types of exercise, as well as resist fatigue and reduce the risk of injury. Strength training is imperative for any exercise regime.
A typical training program might look like this:
Aim for 10,000 steps each and every day (low-intensity exercise).
Monday - High-intensity exercise
Tuesday - Strength training
Wednesday - Moderate-intensity exercise
Thursday - Strength training
Friday - High-intensity exercise
Saturday - Moderate-intensity exercise
Sunday - Rest
Aim to move as much as you can each day. A good measure for this is 10,000 steps. In addition to regular movement, make time for what you might consider more “formal” exercise. This includes strength training, moderate-intensity exercise, and high-intensity exercise.
How Do You Program Your Exercise?
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