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How Much Exercise is Enough?

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Kirk Charles
Kirk Charleshttp://KirkCharles.com
Kirk Charles is a personal trainer who specializes in wellness. He is a 30-year vegan.

The most important objective with exercise is to enjoy the process as much as possible regardless of length.  Exercise should relieve stress, not compound it. When I work with clients, I treat everyone individually, so how much we put into an hour depends on personality. Some clients are hyper and are only engaged moving at a fast and furious pace. Others like to hit cruise control and take it slowly. Either way is fine, provided you put in a serious effort.

There are three types of exercise that must be incorporated into your workout regimen: 1. Cardio  2. Core and 3. Weight training. An effective way to engage all three is by implementing a four-day rotation. Day 1 is cardio; Day 2 is core training; Day 3 is weight training and Day 4 is rest.

Cardio can be any exercise that gets your heart pumping (around 60% to 70% of maximum heart rate) for 30 to 45 minutes, such as running, walking, biking or hiking. Core training would be mostly body-weight exercises, such as crunches, sit-ups, planks, squats or balance exercises for 30 to 45 minutes. Weight training would be using dumbbells, barbells and weight machines to increase resistance for 30 to 45 minutes. I recommend adding stretching each day, focusing primarily on the back, hamstrings and hips.  Although the entire body needs stretching, those are the biggest problem areas I’ve found with my clients.

Be mindful that consistency with your exercise regimen will put you on the path to superior physical and mental fitness. It’s far more effective to consistently do a small amount each day than to cram everything into one or two days per week. Piling on too much into short periods of time increases the odds of burnout and dejection as you find it almost impossible to achieve your goals.

Consistency decreases the odds of injury, builds positive momentum, increases stamina and reduces stress on the body at a steady, maintainable pace.  Keep in mind that the turtle beat the rabbit!

(Kirk Charles is a personal trainer and author of The 1st Aisle: How to Eat for Maximum Health)

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