Building Your Perfect Exercise Routine
Tip #1: Forget calories (sound familiar…?)
Of all the ways in which we expend energy, the component that contributes LEAST to overall expenditure throughout the day is planned exercise. Shocking, right? So, focusing on exercise that “burns the most calories” isn’t always the best solution. In fact, this might actually work against you by increasing stress hormones that could cause your body to hold on to calories.
Instead of focusing on calories, focus on how the movement makes you feel – both during AND after. Your exercise routine should allow you to feel stress-free, happy, and energized for the day. This is contrary to the popular “no pain no gain” belief. It offers a more supportive approach for health and wellness – and it works better!
How you feel AFTER your exercise can have a big impact on your day – how much you move throughout the day, your mood, your positivity, your stress, and your sleep quality!
For example, if you do a workout where you burn 1k calories, but need to nap the rest of the day – you may not feel your best…. Conversely, if you do a more moderate workout (challenging yet not exhausting), you may feel energized, positive, and wind up doing MORE movement later!
Bottom line? Forget calories – choose what feels GOOD (hence our favorite term for exercise – “joyful movement”).
Tip #2: Create an exercise routine that is practical for your lifestyle
We may feel pressured to go to the gym, plan 60-minute workouts, or use equipment to get “the best results”. The reality? Consistency is KING! The more consistently you can incorporate movement into your lifestyle, the better results you will achieve (both in terms of weight AND overall health). For example, you may find it more convenient to…
- Do two 15-minute Youtube videos (one before work and one after work)
- Go for a 30-minute walk on your lunch break
- Walk to- and from- your office
- Play soccer (or another sport or activity) with your kids after school
- Do 10 repetitions of a bodyweight exercise every hour on-the-hour at work (ie: pushups against a counter/wall, heel raises on a stair, or lift your legs while sitting in a chair)
Consistency will allow you to progress – without modifying your daily routine too much.
Note that some people may need (or enjoy) a formal exercise routine. Experiment with different strategies and see which one best supports you. Remember to shoot for joyful movement while challenging your body to build stamina, strength, and flexibility.
Tip #3: Build lean muscle
While planned exercise is not the largest component of your overall energy expenditure, increased muscular mass CAN make a big impact. By increasing muscle mass, your Basal Metabolic Rate will also increase (this takes time to achieve). Resistance training is a great way to increase muscle mass and has the ability to improve your balance, strength, and mobility as you get older.
So, what is resistance training? Resistance training does not necessarily mean lifting weights at the gym (though, this can be one method, if you like to do it!). Resistance training can also look like the following…
- Resistance band training
- Body weight strength training
- Water resistance (ie: swimming or water aerobics classes)
- Cycling on higher resistance settings (low cadence)
- Walking up/down stairs
Again, choose a method that you can do consistently AND that you enjoy. Start with one session per week, increasing to 2 or 3 sessions per week on a consistent basis.
NOTE: Before starting ANY resistance training program, it is important to speak with your doctor or primary care provider to receive exercise clearance and specific guidelines based on your health.
CHALLENGE: We challenge you to take some time today to make a list of activities you think you might like to try. Perhaps you want to learn some dance routines on youtube… Or, maybe a local aquafit class sounds like fun. Write 5 activities you like most AND strategize when you can practically do them over the next 3-4 weeks.
Comment your favorite forms of exercise in the comments or share them in our Facebook group – we always love to hear how you’re making positive changes to your health and wellness.