How to Start an Exercise Routine that Works for You

Yoga woman on an exercise ballDid you know: 3,500 calories equal one pound. To lose an average of one pound per week, a person would have to eliminate 500 calories each day. This can be done by eating 250 fewer calories and burning 250 calories with physical activity each day.

When it comes to exercise, there are a lot of things that come to mind. Like:

  • How much is enough and can you exercise too much?
  • How many days a week should I exercise and how many sets and repetitions should I do?

The Magic Formula

The American College for Sports Medicine (ASCM) recommends doing the following exercies for healthy adults under the age of 65:

  • Moderately intense cardio 30 minutes a day, five days a week, or
  • Vigorously intense cardio 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week

To complement these cardio exercises, do 8 to 10 strength-training exercises with 8 to 12 repetitions of each exercise twice a week.

The ACSM also states that:

“Moderate-intensity physical activity means working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat, yet still being able to carry on a conversation. It should be noted that to lose weight or maintain weight loss, 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity may be necessary. The 30-minute recommendation is for the average healthy adult to maintain health and reduce the risk for chronic disease.”

Variety is Key to Weight Loss

Sometimes when a person is trying, but isn’t losing weight, it can be contributed to a weight loss plateau.

Once an exercise or activity gets easy, you want to change it up a bit. For example, if you have been doing strength training with 5 pound weights, you should increase the weight once it starts to become too easy. If you continue with the 5 pound weights, your muscles won’t benefit from the exercise like they did when you first started.

Our bodies constantly need to be challenged to be the most efficient and burn more calories.

Keep Your Heart in Mind

Another guideline to keep in mind when exercising is your target heart rate. You want to make sure you exercise within the ranges of 50% – 85%. If you are just starting out, aim for 50% of your heart rate until you get comfortable with your workout, then increase it gradually over time.

Physical activity is a way to achieve or maintain a healthy weight and keep your heart healthy. Here are some ways to incorporate more physical activity on a daily basis.

Do you have a favorite exercise or activity that you do? If so, share it with us below.

Photo credit: adria.richards

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