There are lots of fitness gurus and professionals that tell us how simple it is to get fit and lose weight. Just eat less and exercise more. Just work towards those 10,000 steps a day and you will see the results. It is simple to them because they have trained themselves into a healthy lifestyle and see exercise as a hobby, not as a fitness programme.
What about those of us that struggle to keep up with a regular fitness programme? There has to be a simpler approach for a better outcome – and there is. It is important that we all take one small step forward on the “exercise” path that will work for us.
A gentle path with little room for progression won’t provide the best results. Yet, a steep ascent with lots of new challenges could be too much to handle. There has to be a middle ground.
Basic Types Of Exercise Training
There are four different types of exercise that we want to cover here: cardio, strength training, core strength, and flexibility. Different people have different focuses depending on their current fitness levels and abilities. There is also a variety method within these exercise types to suit different needs and levels. Getting fit is important for all of us.
Therefore, the ideal plan for a fit 25-year-old, one with plenty of free time, won’t be the same as that of a sedentary 45-year-old office worker. The approaches and needs of a 75-year-old with mobility issues will vary again. It is all about finding the right tools for the job, adapting them into a weekly schedule and having fun. Below we will consider the options for these three figures. Before that, let’s look at those different exercise forms.
Cardio is another term for aerobic exercise, so anything that increases lung capacity and gets the blood pumping. Cardio is essential for weight loss and general fitness. Example activities include walking, running, swimming and teams sports.
2) Strength Training
Strength training essentially means building muscle and tone. Anyone that is slim, but lacks muscle tone and strength, can work on this via specific exercises or weights. Some will enjoy testing themselves at the gym, while others find methods at home.
3) Core Strength
Core strength is a little different. The core muscles help to give us posture and balance. Developing the core via yoga and other fitness programmes, therefore, offers plenty of health benefits.
Flexibility and mobility go hand in hand. Some people can’t believe their limited range of motion, such as an inability to touch their toes. Regular exercise can help to correct these issues. Also, these improvements to the tendons and muscles could help pain conditions and other mobility problems.
Start with small goals, complete them and build on them. With time, you can test yourself and work on new goals. You could add an extra session or activity, such as working out twice a week instead of once or walking to work on a Friday. Or, you can up the intensity of the current plan, with an extra 5 minutes or some more complex yoga positions.
Fitness Programme For Young Adults
The first imaginary figure to consider in this guide is our fit, active, and adventurous 25-years old. She has a decent figure and reasonable cardio but wants to push herself to get stronger and fitter. Her route is different from those of our individuals below. She has the energy, time and motivation to try new things and build an interesting fitness plan across the week. So, she could look at the following.
1) Hit The Gym
Gym memberships pay for themselves if you have the drive and determination to make the most of it. The best set-ups offer access to a range of machines and classes. The diversity of options is a great way to try something new in a secure environment. Staff can teach you about weights and techniques. Again, start slow with gentle speeds and lighter weights, then increase gradually. The additional benefit of the gym is that you can challenge friends and enjoy the additional facilities.
2) Try HIIT
A gym or piece of personal exercise equipment can also allow for some HIIT training. This High-Intensity Interval Training is great for those with some basic fitness and cardio already. The idea is to work in short burst of intense motion, such as rapid revolutions on a bike, then cool down for a couple of minutes.
This workout pattern can sound torturous to some newcomers, but it has its benefits for fitness and weight loss. As with the other approaches here, it is still possible to adjust the settings and intervals to your needs. There is still room for progression, even if it does feel like jumping in at the deep end.
3) Explore New Classes For Change
Many people in this demographic may already know a little yoga or work out a little at home. The key to improving a regime here may be to look for local classes and fads. Lots of instructors use weird approaches to bring in new clients.
Hot yoga studios are old news. These days everyone wants animals to get involved in the action, such as cat yoga or outdoor goat yoga. Look out for places that offer free taster sessions or discounts. This incentive means there is nothing to lose if you try something weird that isn’t for you.
Programme For Working Full-Time Adults
Our next example the individual is a little older. She may have shared the approach of our 25 years old once, but can’t keep up that pace any more. She wants to get a little fitter and lose some weight but struggles to juggle work, home life and personal time for exercise.
What is available for her?
1) Get Walking
In this situation, you don’t have to be quite so intense with your training. This means walking rather than running and strength training exercises that suit your abilities. Regular walking can help with cardio, mobility and mental health.
A morning walk is a good start, but you could also walk to work or take the stairs more often. The steps all add up over time. Once you come to enjoy the action and the added benefits of the outside world, you can increase your goal. Eventually, you may even have a weekend country walk for a few miles.
2) At-Work Workout Solutions
Those that struggle to find the time to work out can turn to some office equipment to help them out. There are lots of great under desk machines that are a great substitute for the “real” thing at the gym. The approach is the same in regard to building goals and achievements.
Many machines have adjustable resistance levels that increase the difficulty. You can also increase the duration on the bike, stepper or treadmill. Make sure to find a machine that is sturdy, easy to use and doesn’t disrupt other people at neighbouring desks.
3) Traditional Yoga
Goat yoga and other weird trends may be best left to the younger generations. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t bring yoga into your day. A few simple poses at home can be enough to help improve your energy levels, align your spine and help you get ready for the day.
You could work through a simple routine that covers the bases, or one more tailored to back or hip problems. A good mat and some yoga blocks are great for those with limited flexibility. Over time, you can build on your abilities and take them away, a bit like training wheels on a bike.
Senior Fitness Programme
Finally, there is our senior example. At 75, she has retired and has more time than ever to enjoy activities and exercise. But, her energy levels, mobility and other health conditions limit her options. She wants a fitness regime that keeps her active, preferably with others her age, without any unnecessary risk.
Examples for her include the following:
1) Cardio Through Walking And Swimming
The great thing about walking for fitness is that anyone can do it – they just need the right goals and aids. Seniors with mobility issues may need a cane to walk. But, they can still make a deliberate effort to walk a certain number of steps on even, carpeted ground.
Some seniors also love to keep up with their swimming. The local pool is a great place to meet others and get active. The water cushions joints and reduces pain, making it easier to go a little further. Some seniors may also enjoy the option of water aerobics classes.
2) Guided Fitness Classes
These guided aerobics classes are just one of many options for seniors that need a little help getting active again. Local community centres are sure to have classes tailored to the needs of older residents.
These classes should, therefore, provide the fitness benefits required, such as improved mobility, flexibility and balance. But, they do so in a gentle, safe manner. There could be fitness classes, yoga and pilates. These classes are also a great way to socialise with others in your situation.
3) Working Out At Home
There is no reason why older generations can’t work out at home with the right tools and safety precautions. There are treadmills with cushioning and gentle settings that appeal to the less able. There are also bikes with a stable frame and step-through designs to stop users from falling.
If you like the idea of working out in front of the TV, find a machine that is quiet and offers simple 30-minute fitness programmes. When working out at home, such as with stretches or lunges, do so near a kitchen counter for support or place a chair nearby.
If you are not confident to try anything at home, try the guided classes route instead. The best results come from a plan that fits the individual, not an individual trying to fit into a plan.
Source: Vicky Hitchens
Our three woman are fictitious. Yet, they are sure to represent the needs and concerns of many people struggling with exercise regimes. The solutions outlined could help those in a similar situation.
At the same time, there will be readers that feel that don’t fall under any category. For example, there is the active 70-year old that isn’t prepared to slow down yet. There is also the 30-year-old with a chronic illness that can’t keep up with their peers. This diversity of needs shows the importance of a personalised approach that adapts relevant options to suit the user.
Don’t get too focused on daily targets and averages for the average person. For example, there is still an initiative to get people walking 10,000 steps per day. But, this approach doesn’t work because we all have different abilities and lifestyles. The 10,000 steps may be fine for those that work outside and have good fitness levels.
What about people stuck at the desk all day, or those with disabilities and mobility issues? We can’t stick to a one-size-fits-all approach to national incentives and statistics. We certainly can’t discourage those less able than others for walking 5,000 steps, not 10,000.
Any progression is a positive step towards change and better health. Focus on your own path with clear goals and helpful techniques for the best fitness programme.
In the end, the key to a good, personal workout plan is to understand your aims, limitations and the best route to success. Start off small to get yourself back into the habit of exercise. A 10-minute brisk walk, 20 minutes of yoga or 30 minutes on the exercise bike may seem like nothing to those that exercise regularly.
Remember that you are not at their level. The only thing that matters is that this new regime is an improvement on your old one. Dictate the intensity and duration of a session via the response of your own body, not the expectations of others. Choose activities that work for you, with clear achievable goals to serve you and no-one else.
The more enjoyable, rewarding and compatible the regime, the easier it will be to hit those targets.