The Ideal Exercise Routine For Starting Back Up
September 29, 2020 // Fitness
Picking up exercise after a long hiatus can certainly seem daunting.
Jumping right into an online workout class or a high-intensity bike ride may seem like a proactive decision, but all too often these “healthy” pursuits yield counter-productive responses within our body. This is because we tend to overlook how de-conditioned we become when we forgo our workout routine(s) for a significant period of time.
As you begin exercising again, the most important thing you can do is to go slowly. Less is more.
Remember: stimulate, don’t annihilate.
An ideal workout routine encompasses all modalities of exercise within a five (5) to seven (7) day cycle. This ensures a well-rounded internal health profile, elevated performance output and improved physique all at once. [Yes, this is very possible to achieve]
First, a quick refresher on the different modalities of exercise:
- Aerobic – long duration, oxygen-based cardiovascular movements
- Ex: Walking, Casual Bike Ride, Stair Climbing, Hiking
- Anaerobic – high intensity, short-duration cardiovascular movements
- Ex: Fast Running, Aggressive Bike Riding, Jump Rope, Intense Rowing
- Muscular – lean skeletal tissue built and maintained through strength training
- Ex: Calisthenics, Weight Training
- Flexibility – passive ranges of motion measured by degrees influenced by daily movement
- Ex: Standing, Stretching (Yoga), CARs (Controlled Articular Rotations)
- Mobility – active, usable ranges of motion measured by degrees that are acquired through joint strengthening
- Ex: PAILS/RAILS, Advanced CARs
These five (5) modalities are the cornerstone for maintaining and improving the three (3) components of health and wellness:
- Internal Health Markers – bloodwork profile(s), risk of disease(s), organ efficiency
- Weight Management – weight loss, weight gain or weight maintenance
- Performance – speed, strength, agility, pain management
Ok, now that we have a clear understanding of what defines “exercise” and how exercise influences health and wellness, let’s zoom back out and build your exercise routine.
A well-rounded exercise routine incorporates all five modalities.
Some of these modalities require adequate periods of recovery, while the others can be done every day. Knowing this, it would be prudent of you to start with the least demanding modalities often, while slowly integrating the more demanding types of exercise.
Ideally, I would recommend the following routine:
Monday: Weight Training
Tuesday: Aerobic Cardio and/or Mobility
Wednesday: Weight Training
Thursday: Aerobic Cardio and/or Mobility
Friday: Weight Training
Saturday: Anaerobic Cardio
Sunday: Aerobic Cardio and/or Mobility
You’ll notice I did not include Flexibility anywhere in this routine. Why? Because this should be done every day (ideally multiple times a day). Standing up, stretching out various muscles and moving various joints should be a daily routine. This is a great way to break apart the countless hours hunched over at your desk. Something as simple as a 5 minute stretch-out every 3 hours can go a long way to alleviating aches and pains while nourishing the health of your joints.
Also in reference to the above, Aerobic Cardio can be done every day, since the intensity is not too demanding. This can simply mean taking a walk before you start your work day or after a meal. This certainly counts, especially considering that low-intensity exercise utilizes fat tissue for energy. Yep, you read that right.
There is always a hierarchy we [fitness professionals] use to make recommendations or provide prescriptions for exercise.
We often remind everyone that anything is better than nothing, as we don’t want people to get too hung up on trying to do it all, and feeling deflated when missing a workout.
The flip-side to this calls upon one major misunderstanding that needs to be addressed:
Exercising with only one modality as your weekly routine will not yield all the health and wellness adaptations necessary for a strong and well-preserved body.
Though a bit harsh, I have to say be clear:
If you are only riding a Peloton every few days as your means of exercise, there are large gaps within your exercise routine. The Peloton bike cannot preserve your LBM (lean body mass) nor flexibility or mobility. While the bike is a great tool for aerobic/anaerobic exercise, it is just one tool.
We all need regular bouts of strength training in our routine if we are to remain (and/or improve) our health and wellness.
And, as research continues to show the importance of preserving lean muscle tissue, riding a bike cannot yield this adaptation; only resistance training can make this happen.
As we reenter gym facilities and dust off our workout sneakers, the idea is to make small, measurable strides while incorporating the various modalities of exercise.
If you need guidance with all of this, I’m happy to help.
Email me to schedule a chat.