With our busy schedules we often lose sight of how often we “work out”. If it is not a late meeting on Monday it is a school play on Wednesday that keeps us from exercising.
Our intentions are always good. We really, really want to exercise but something always seems to interfere. Friday comes and we ask ourselves “how many days did I exercise this week?”
Usually the answer is less than you would guess. Sure enough, as you pull out your calendar you realize you didn’t exercise as much as you would have liked. Any time you can exercise during the week is beneficial to your health, however, to see results or to maintain your current fitness level you will want to aim for a minimum of 3 days a week of cardiovascular exercise and weight training.
Cardiovascular exercise will consist of 20 minutes or more of endurance type activities. The most popular types of cardiovascular machines include the treadmill for indoor walking, stationary bike, elliptical crosstrainer and the stairmaster. Other forms of “cardio” are aerobic classes, spinning, swimming laps and water aerobics. No matter the method of your cardiovascular exercise, 3 days per week should be the goal.
If you find yourself on a Friday afternoon with two days of Aerobics under your belt with no possible way of making it to the “gym”, try going for a walk around your neighborhood or riding a bike along a safe path. Remember, 3 times is a charm!
Weight training comprising of 8-12 exercises using selectorized weight machines or free weights is also an important part of a balanced exercise regimen. “Resistance” exercises should also be performed 3 days per week. If you find yourself sitting on the couch on a Sunday afternoon and remember you only made it to the free weight room on Tuesday and Thursday, try going outside for some needed yard work or home repairs. Remember, 3 times is a charm!
While walking around the neighborhood or mowing your yard might not be the ideal forms of exercises on which to build a program, they do make for great substitutions to your exercise routine. When you need one more day to complete your fitness week, look for creative ways to fulfill this requirement. Simple chores such as walking your dog or even tedious house work such trimming the hedges can be part of a last minute modification to your exercise program to ensure results.
The next time you ask yourself, “how many times did I exercise this week?” you will be confident in answering “3 times was a charm”.
Joe Rowlette is Wellness Director at Cocoa YMCA @ Brevard Community College