Moving is the best drug people can be taking these days. Most people know that exercising is important and they will usually do what they are familiar with or that seems the most distasteful. This is a great first step. Unfortunately, too many of us get stuck here, but you don’t have to be. Many of our fitness training clients are in the same situation, but they are willing to expand their horizons to a more comprehensive fitness program they will reap a complete view of a healthy lifestyle.
Now I’m not advocating to abandon the activities and exercise modes that you enjoy. Rather, work to have a comprehensive program. Any program that completely neglects aspects of fitness is going to create issues and problems down the road.
Below is a list of all the aspects of fitness that you should include as well as the recommended amount each week you should get. These recommendations don’t come from me. These are the guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine. They recommend getting at least 150 mins of exercise in each week, or about 22 minutes each day.
A Comprehensive Fitness Program:
According to the ACSM there are 4 main aspects of fitness that should be addressed: cardiorespiratory, resistance training, flexibility/mobility, and neuromotor. These constitute a comprehensive fitness program-one that will ensure your safety, longevity, enjoyment and success in your fitness goals.
This is what is considered “aerobic” training or heaven forbid the term, “cardio” (cardio means heart, so as long as you are alive you’re technically getting ‘cardio’). This can take many forms from running to biking to swimming.
- Frequency: 3+ days/week of vigorous exercise, or 5+ days/week of moderate exercise
- Intensity: Moderate and vigorous is recommended for most adults.
- Duration/time: 20-60 mins/day of vigorous, or 30-60 mins/day of moderate activity
A quick note on intensity: the harder the intensity the less you have to do each bout and each week. Something to consider for all the time-crunched exercisers out there.
This is your weight training. Picking up heavy things and putting them down again.
- Frequency: each major muscle group should be trained twice/week
- Intensity: 40-50% of 1RM (very light to moderate) for older adults and novices. 60-70% 1RM (moderate to hard) for novice to intermediate fitness. 80% (very hard) for experienced lifters.
- Duration/time: No time limit has been established
Note: While there hasn’t been a time established-it will take some time to get all the muscle groups in enough times to create enough of a stimulus to see results. There are ways to make this easier; circuit training, and compound lifts to name a few.
This refers to improving your range of motion (ability to move) about a joint. There are MANY ways to do this: static stretching, yoga,
proprionueromuscular facilitation (PNF), foam-rolling/smashing or other soft tissue/manual therapy method.
- Frequency: 2-3 days/week with the greatest gains occuring with daily exercise.
- Intensity: Go to the point of feeling tightness or slight discomfort.
- Duration/time: Holding the stretch for 10-30 seconds is minimum, while 30-60 secs seems to yeild greater results, especially in older adults.
This refers to working on your agility, coordination, gait and balance. This can be accomplished by doing simple to complex foot-work (agility ladder) drills, hand-eye and foot-eye drills and any exercise that requires an absorption & production of force from a compromised position (staggered stance or on one leg).
- Frequency: 2- days/week
- Intensity: Hasn’t been determined.
- Duration/time: 20-30 mins/day may be needed.
Including these four pillars of fitness: aerobic, resistance, flexilibity/mobility and neuromotor conditioning will ensure your longevity, health and enjoyment. Afterall, if you are doing the same thing over and over and over you will eventually tire of it. Including all pillars prevents this from happening while also keeping you safe.
How does your program/routine stack up? Are you getting in all the areas in all the recommended amounts? If you don’t include all these areas your program/routine needs some touching-up. These recommendations aren’t just things to do-these things have been proven to positively affect your life and aging.
The next question I get from my fitness coaching clients is, “How do I get all of this in? I don’t think I have that kind of time”. This is common, and there are simple ways to be more effective; compound lifts, and circuit training to name a few. If you have further questions, let us know.