I often head off to bed, knowing I am going to wake up early in the morning to release that sweat, and kick start my day for the best. The problem I often face is should I go to Yoga? Go for a run? do weight training? Or do some HIIT (high intensity interval training)? How intensely do I need to work out in order to 'make it count'?
As I delved deeper into these questions, my research came to the conclusion that the answer is VARIETY; you should do all of them! Basically different exercise types have different purposes and different benefits.
"Our body requires different training, in different ways to remain fit, strong and supple."
Put simply, if you are trying to achieve many different results, such as, weight loss, toning, cardiovascular fitness or even weight gain, one type of exercise is highly unlikely to accomplish all of those goals.
Therefore, it is important to do enough different types of exercise to reap all the physical benefits mentioned above. If you are not sure what exercises to do for which goals, the following should help you out.
To have a strong and healthy heart. A heart that will protect you against heart disease, you must do aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise means you need to push yourself so that your heart is beating at 65% - 85% of your Maximum Heart Rate. If your heart rate isn't up to this level, then quite simply you are not pushing yourself hard enough and you will not reap the benefits, or notice any change over time. Yes, think boot camp trainer screaming at you to push harder! It doesn't matter what TYPE of exercise you do, you just need your heart rate to be up there. It could be running, cycling, swimming, skiing, snowboarding, kayaking, having sex, ayanga yoga, vinyasa yoga, ashtanga yoga, whatever works for you! You also need to keep it there for 20 -30 minutes, at least 3 times a week.
To ward off arthritis, osteoporosis and keep your muscles and bones strong you must take part in strength training. This doesn't have to be lifting ridiculous amounts of weights in the gym (but by all means go ahead, if that is your thing) If it's not you can select from many formats. Typical types of strength training include; weight training, yoga/pilates, resistance training, 3D training and plyometrics. Whatever you do, you must train your muscles hard enough so that they are really tired by the end of each session. To see real benefits, make sure you are strength training 2 to 3 times a week for about 30 to 40 minutes. Personally, I was training myself in the gym, using really heavy weights, and finding I was slowly becoming quite addicted to the strength I was gaining, however, the results aesthetically were not what I was after for my body, my huge muscles just weren't working so well for me in my cute dresses! I toned it down a bit to lighter weights and more repetitions, and added some yoga for strength into my week, instead of so many weights workouts, and I established this worked best for my body type. Everyone is different, you may need to experiment to find out what works for you.
To keep your body flexible and limber mobility training is a must. You will reduce the risk of pain and injury in your joints and muscles, you will also find your performance becomes better in other areas of your training as your body becomes more supple and stronger, and ready to bend or stretch further. You should always aim to stretch every muscle before and after any exercise routine, we recommend keeping the muscles moving, and focussing more on active movement than simple stretching before a workout. Think of it as loosening off those sleepy muscles and joints, so they are ready to fire on impact. The main flexibility training types include stretching, mobility workouts, yoga and pilates.
So if you too are struggling to work out what type of workout you should be doing, now you know! Keep it varied, and make sure you are covering every niche. It is also a nice way to keep it exciting, and find friends who are into different types of workouts, then you can see a different person each day! The best way to workout out is if you have to answer to someone else if you can't make it.
Think is it rising my heart rate? If not, you should looking at incorporating more aerobic training to strengthen your heart. However, running your heart out every day is great for heart health, but are you keeping your muscles supple? If not, start incorporating some stretching in. Finally, if you are a weights warrior try to establish if you are also gaining enough cardio and stretching into your workouts.
Most importantly, keep moving and keep having fun!
Have you found a good workout that covers two or all of these goals? Share it with us in the comments below.