How Often? (Frequency of Workouts)
It is recommended that you exercise at least 3 to 4 days per week to maintain cardiovascular fitness. If you have other goals such as weight or fat loss, you will achieve your goals faster with more frequent exercise. Whether it's 3 days or 6 days remember that your ultimate goal should be to make exercise a lifetime habit. Many people are successful staying with a fitness program if they set aside a specific time of day to exercise. It doesn't matter whether it's in the morning before work, durning lunch hour, or after work. What's more important is that its a time that allows you to keep a schedule, and a time when you wont be interrupted. To be successful with your fitness program, you have to make it a priority in your life. So decide on a time, pull out your day planner and enter your exercise times for the next month!
How Long? (Duration of Workouts)
For aerobic exercise benefits, it's recommended that you exercise from between 20 to 60 minutes per session. But start slowly and gradually increase your exercise times. If you've been sedentary during the past year, it may be a good idea to keep your exercise times to as little as 5 minutes initially. Your body will need time to adjust to the new activity. If your goal is weight loss, a longer session at lower intensities has found to be most effective. A workout time of 45 minutes or more is recommend for best weight loss results.
How Hard? (Intensity of Workouts)
How hard you workout is also determined by your goals. If you use a machine to prepare for a 5 km run then you will probably work out at a higher intensity then if your goal is general fitness. Regardless of your long term goals, always begin a exercise program at a low intensity. Aerobic exercise doesn't have to be painful to be beneficial! There are two ways to measure your exercise intensity. The first is by monitoring your heart rate, and the second is by evaluating your perceived exertion level.
Perceived Exertion Level
A simple way to gauge your exercise intensity is to evaluate your perceived exertion level. While exercising, if you are too winded to maintain a conversation without gasping, you are working out too hard. A good rule of thumb is to work out to the point of EXHILARATION, not EXHAUSTION. If you cannot catch your breath, its time to slow down.
Please ask our staff if you would like information on training in a target heart rate zone specific to your goals.