Do you know what exercise is? Is it walking for a half hour or doing a few dumbbell curls a week maybe its going on the elliptical for an hour? Well if that was your answer you were partially right. Exercise is an important health topic that is surprisingly often misunderstood. To make the most out of an exercise routine it is important to understand what the definition of exercise really is. To start off, what is exercise and what is physical activity? According to ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine), exercise is “a type of physical activity consisting of planned, structured, and repetitive bodily movement done to improve and/or maintain one or more components of physical fitness”. Physical Activity on the other hand is just any movement that your body performs that burns calories. To better understand what makes up an exercise routine I can simplify it to three main parts:
Planned physical activity
Planning physical activity is one of the first steps of an exercise program. Simply put you want to make a consistent effort to exercise on the same days/time every week and also what you’re going to
do within that time. For example if you like to run, designate 6pm-7pm as your exercise time every other day. If you like walking, tell yourself that every day at 6pm you’re going to walk for a half hour. When you go to work you most likely have a consistent schedule of what days your working and when you clock in and clock out. Same thing with exercise, make it a consistent part of your weekly schedule and don’t stray far from it. Knowing what your going to be doing within your exercise time is also a key point. If you’re going to the gym for an hour write down on paper or put in your phone the exercises that you will be doing instead of roaming and wondering what you're going to do next. If you’re unsure of how to structure a lifting program there's many resources online or better yet hire a trainer! I like to say that the hardest part of exercise for most people is actually starting exercise.
To yield the greatest results from exercise you want to be making sure that you’re repeating certain exercises or movements patterns. When you incorporate repetition into your routine your body adapts to the exercise over time, performance can be tracked, and time can be utilized more efficiently. Strength and endurance can only be improved upon when the consistent repetitions are present in the training routine. For example your goal is to bench press 135 pounds, are you going to start off by immediately lifting 135 pounds on you’re first set? No, you’re probably going to try to progress your way toward that weight by lifting 5-10 repetitions of progressively heavier weight. Practice makes perfect right?
The last component of exercise is having an end goal of improving an aspect(s) of your physical fitness. Why are you exercising and what part of your physical fitness are you trying to improve? It’s important to think of a few goals for yourself so that you your exercising with a purpose. The benefits include increased focus, motivation, and effective strategizing. It’s also key to set up realistic goals too so that you don’t get discouraged and ultimately stop exercising. For example losing 10 pounds by the end of the week is probably not a realistic one to start off with. Start off with small goals and gradually expand on them to fit your needs. Choose goals for yourself and make them meaningful to you and only you. After all you’re exercising to ultimately improve yourself right? If you’re new to fitness I’d recommend goal setting as the starting point.
To sum it all up it’s very important to know why, when, and how you’re exercising in order to gain the full health benefits! You’re planning your physical activity to turn it into exercise and you’re also developing specific goals for yourself in order to improve your physical fitness. Start your exercise journey today and come stop by Modo!