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Why do I need to exercise AT LEAST three days a week?
There are plenty of reasons why you should be exercising and exercising consistently. There is not a single person that cannot gain something from some level of physical activity, whether it is walking around the neighborhood or lifting heavy weights at the gym. Simply put, exercise is an integral part of the journey toward good health; weightlifting helps keep bones and muscles strong, while conditioning helps keep the cardiovascular system healthy. Literally everyone should exercise at least 3 days a week.
The Benefits of Exercise
What kind of benefits should you come to expect from working out three days a week? Exercise can alleviate many problems that some of us may deal with regularly. For instance, regular exercise helps to lower excess blood sugar and improve circulation in order to help with diabetes. Exercise helps to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and elevate good cholesterol (HDL). Most trainees that I have talk to over the years are in agreement that exercise also helps curb nasty eating habits, helps increase energy levels during the day, and helps them to fall asleep at night. Of course, exercise has noticeable effects on blood pressure, cholesterol, and, therefore, heart disease. Exercise effects all aspects of our lives.
For those that think that exercise might be too hard on your joints, exercise can not only strengthen the muscle around the faulty joint but strengthen the tendons and ligaments too so that discomfort is kept to a minimum. Consistency with exercise, especially resistance training, can also lead to higher bone density, which can help keep osteoporosis at bay. A good number of studies have now determined that senior citizens can actually peel the years back with exercise, not to mention strengthening those brittle bones too. Some cases have been so extreme that the most feeble of 85 year olds will begin exercising only to become as fit as an average 55 year old.
So, even if you feel like a lost cause, don’t give up! Now, everyone knows how good it is to be active, but what exactly should you be doing for exercise?
This could mean bodyweight, dumbbells, weight machines, or surgical tubing. I would recommend spending about 30 minutes at least three days a week performing total body workouts.
Make sure that the pace is challenging, the weight is not too heavy so that your technique deteriorates, or too light so that your workout wasn’t demanding enough. This takes trial and error.
I might suggest to a client or friend 4 simple movements that utilize a push, a pull, a leg exercise, and a functional core strengthener. To keep it simple I would recommend any combination of the following: pushups/bench press/dumbbell press, pulldowns/pull ups/rows, squats/deadlifts, and situps/weighted ab rotations/side bends. For these four movements, I would have them perform 20 repetitions for each movement, then 15 repetitions, then 10, and finally 5. This should be done with as few breaks as you feel you need and with as much passion as you feel you got. Once again, 3 times per week is the goal, but switch it up for each workout.
Cardio is best described as an exercise performed for extended periods of time. This could mean 30-45 minutes of biking at a moderate pace, jogging, elliptical, or stair-climbing. All of these options burn significant calories, but some prove to be more demanding on the joints for some people. It’s all personal preference. Many people choose to perform cardio on two days sandwiched between the three resistance training days.
Just remember that you exercise to make yourself stronger, not to make yourself comfortable. Also, stop reading this article about exercising and just go do it!