In past articles, I’ve touched some on consistency in working out.
In my opinion, having consistent fitness practices is the true key to seeing results. A commitment to a regular workout regimen will increase your fitness level, improve your health and generate a greater sense of mental well being.
Working out consistently is crucial to your total health. Running for five miles and using every machine in the gym in one day to avoid working out for the next two weeks will only leave you feeling sore.
It is too much on your body to experience these sporadic bursts of exercise. Your muscles need gradual work that progress to build higher and higher levels of cardiovascular strength, flexibility and strength training. This gradual increase will allow your muscles, tendons and ligaments an opportunity to adjust to the strains of your new fitness regimen.
Your choice of a fitness regimen can sometimes be discouraging. Don’t just jump in and “wing it.”
Take some time to sit down and develop a plan for yourself. Consider variables such as when to workout, time of day, duration, activities in which to participate and location.
In general, I recommend working out three to four times per week. Incorporate five to 10 minutes of warm up and stretching, 20 minutes of cardio, time for strength training, and a cool down. This will keep your work out around 45 minutes to one hour of exercise each visit.
Another option would be group fitness classes. Find a local health club and check out their class schedule. Give a few different formats a try and stick to the ones that work into your schedule and provide you a well-rounded workout through each week. Keeping your focus on creating consistency in all aspects of your fitness planning will make your new lifestyle habitual. This will ensure progress and a sustained state of enthusiasm.
Your new, consistent habit will also improve your mental health. When you work out regularly, your body releases endorphins that enhance your mood. You may have experienced these positive feelings after finishing a cardiovascular workout. You might also find that once your regimen has become habitual, going for days or weeks without working out will reduce your energy levels. Sticking to a regular exercise regimen will keep you feeling revived both physically and mentally. When you exercise with consistency, your muscles will develop gradually and your mind will experience reduced levels of stress and greater relaxation.
Jonathan Pope is the facility manager of FirstHealth Fitness in Rockingham. For information on fitness, nutrition and other services provided at FirstHealth Fitness- Richmond, call (910) 410-0123 or visit www.firsthealth.org/fitness.