If you are new to exercise it may feel as though you don’t have the energy to work out, but did you know that getting regular physical activity actually increases your energy levels instead of draining them? It’s True!
In order to see maximum benefits from working out, the goal is to be doing at least 20 minutes of aerobic level exercise 3-5 times per week. That means the intensity needs to be enough to get your heart rate up into a nice aerobic zone- my quick thumb rule for this is where you feel like you are working hard but you are still able to breathe in and out through your nose. If that sounds like a lot, don't worry- you can get there by taking it one step at a time.
Many people believe that they are already very active throughout their day, but being on your feet at work or taking a long walk through the grocery store is probably not going to get your heart rate up high enough to supply the benefits of more vigorous activity like jogging or resistance training.
If fatigue or low energy is an issue for you or preventing you from trying to up your activity, the best way to build is to simply begin. Even though the goal is to get to 20 minutes or more, any activity is better than none. Start off by exercising in small amounts until you can slowly build up to longer periods of activity.
Once you can keep your heart rate up in your aerobic zone* for a minimum of 20 minutes then move your focus to the frequency of your exercise. For example, if you are only doing this once or twice a week try to add a day or two until your energy, and tolerance for the activity has increased to a point where you can be doing something 4-5 days a week.
Now that you have worked on duration and frequency of activity in order to see maximum benefits you can turn your focus to intensity of training. Varying the intensity at which you work throughout the week can keep the body learning and growing and keep training exciting as you will not fall into a rut of seemingly doing the same thing over and over.
As your body makes fitness gains from all this hard work you will be able to constantly challenge yourself by adding to the duration, frequency or intensity of you work. It can be extra helpful and satisfying to keep a log of your activity so that you can look back to where you started and see your progress. For example, it may have been difficult for you to walk briskly for 20 minutes when you began but in 6 months you can jog for 45 minutes. When you get tired, or have a day that you wonder why you are doing this it can be very motivating to look back at where you started and appreciate your journey and hard work.
Never stop growing. Once you reach a point in your fitness journey where you feel that its easy, revisit these three steps. Can you add duration? Can you increase your frequency? Maybe it’s time to up your intensity and push yourself a little further than before. Any of my clients will finish my sentence when I say “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you”
We don’t see gains and progress by staying safe or always doing the same thing. It’s in raising the bar, constantly adding or moving our goals and focus that we continue to grow. So, take time to check in with yourself and reassess your fitness growth and goals regularly to see if it’s time to tweek something and keep moving forward.
* Wondering what I mean by aerobic zone- and how to know yours?
Here is a link to a quick calculator to your zones and some basic info about heart rate zones:
Still have questions? All of our amazing trainers at root can answer your questions about heart rate zones and help you work at your ideal intensity so don’t be afraid to ask!