Physical Activity - A Building Block of Wellness
Feel like you don’t have time for exercise? You’re in good company. “Not enough time” is one of the top reasons clients tell trainers they can’t fit in activity.
The catch is this: exercise doesn’t take away time from your busy week - it MAKES time. You’ll feel more energetic once you commit to fitness and become more productive, I promise!
You don’t have to be buff to get the benefits from physical activity. Exercise is about more than slimming down or building muscle. It’s a way to keep your heart healthy, increase your range of motion and flexibility, and even prolong your life. Plus, it can help you be more productive and give you even more energy.
Let’s get into what you need to know to launch an exercise program that makes you feel great, no matter what your starting point is.
Why Physical Activity Matters for Wellness
You can build lean body mass, improve your metabolism and even gut health, relieve stress, sleep better, and even boost your immune system by getting regular activity (7 Reasons to Move More and Sit Less). All the more reason to set a S.M.A.R.T. Goal and get started on increasing your activity today!
Types of Physical Activity & Recommendations
Physical Activity includes Cardio/Aerobic to stimulate your heart and breathing, Strength to build muscle, and Flexibility to increase mobility and improve performance. Here’s what you should be aiming for:
Cardio/Aerobic: Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per
Week. Multiple shorter sessions (of at least 10 minutes) are acceptable.
Strength: Adults should train each major muscle group 2-3 days each week. Try 2-4 sets of each exercise and 8-12 reps (repetitions) to build strength and power, or 15-20 repetitions to train for muscular endurance.
Flexibility: Adults should perform flexibility exercise at least 2-3 days each week. Each stretch should be held for 10-30 seconds, repeating each stretch 2-4 times.
Physical Activity for Weight Loss
Do you know how many calories you’re burning through physical activity (or how much you should)? You can try using a fitness tracker device or app. Not only is it motivating to try and increase your steps and exercise minutes, but it can help you estimate how many calories you’re burning during workouts.
Activity: Identify your Stage of Change
There’s a great model that helps trainers and behavioral specialists identify how likely a person is to make lifestyle changes. It’s called the “Stages of Change” model. I introduce this concept as a key starting point for all my clients. That’s because knowing your stage eliminates the idea that you “don’t have the motivation” and instead can help you take action based on how ready you are for change.
Check out the Stages of Change and Change Plan Worksheet (PDF) to identify your readiness to change. Awareness and understanding of your current stage will contribute to success in meeting your goals.
Chances are you can identify yourself, and easily identify others in their stages as well.
It’s important to note that at any point, you can move between stages. You may have been at the maintenance stage before, and are now finding yourself at contemplation again. That’s okay! Taking actions that fit your readiness is essential to overcoming barriers and navigating your health journey.
Now that you know the recommendations for Cardio, Strength, and Flexibility exercises, you can aim for them this week! Once you start moving more and feel all the benefits firsthand, you’ll want to keep it up.
Learn more about physical activity and personal training or explore my full Setting the Foundation for Wellness workshops and sessions, by contacting me here. Let’s set a foundation for a happier, healthier you!