Beginning a fitness regimen is often top of the list of most people’s responsibilities that they intrinsically know they should carry out.
However, not everyone sticks to a schedule. With the ever increasing responsibilities life passes to you as you get older and start a family, balancing a career and family life can take up all of your time. It’s likely that in all of the daily rush, taking care of your body becomes an option, rather than a need, which can be the case for many people. While many people seriously do have justifications for not keeping up with a fitness regimen, this is also a quiet shame.
The benefits of working out are well documented and understood. In fact, exercising correctly alongside following a balanced, healthy diet are the two main methods that modern health services promote to help you overcome many preventable illnesses or diseases. It’s true that none of us are young forever, and so as time passes on, we have a responsibility to keep ourselves in good shape.
This ultimate fitness guide will teach you the benefits of doing so, and how you can enact it in even the busiest of schedules.
Like meeting any challenge, no matter how you succeed trying to achieve it, it’s the act of pushing towards it that counts. As terrible and horrifying as waking up in the early morning seems, spending this extra time to get your physical considerations out of the way will set you up for the day right, and you’ll perform better during the whole of it. Exercising will breed personal discipline that grows over time and slowly helps you become a more satisfied person. The first few weeks of doing this will seem horrid if you’re used to a sedentary lifestyle, but before you know it, you’ll be questioning how you were so lazy in the first place. Humans can adapt to anything, and a regular exercise regime is no different.
The energy you’ll gain by exercising is profound. Not only will you be more alert and awake during the day, but you’ll be more confident when it comes to solving problems and going out of your comfort zone. Over time, waking up will become easier because exercising will promote deeper sleep. Over time, you’ll be more energetic because your cardiovascular ability will be improving at a fast pace.
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Health services don’t prescribe exercise for a broad range of ills for nothing. If you’re physically able, it’s arguably the best method of self-recovery. Not only does it improve physical health tremendously, but also mental health. Many people with emotional depression can help subvert cyclical thinking patterns by just getting outside and moving their body. Working out shocks your body outside of its continual thought loop and feeling of inadequacy, and can make even the shyest person proud in their skin. Overcoming adversity is more than just a philosophical aim, it’s a livable experience.
Depending on your personality, intended fitness aim, weight and general workout experience thus far, you might react better to different exercise disciplines. The following are some you might like to try. After reading the descriptions, consider which would work best for you. But first, a caveat:
Exercise vs. Training
It’s easy to think as a newcomer that exercise is the same as training. Turning up three times a week to run a treadmill 5k is surely training right? Well, yes and no. Exercise is usually defined as a physical workout or stimulus that keeps your heart rate high, trains your cardiovascular system and keeps your body well-maintained. Training, on the other hand, is a willful and progressive increase in the stress you’re applying to the workout regimen, for the intended goal of getting better.
If you are running or doing Zumba three times a week for the same time each session, and with the same workout duties, you are exercising. If you plan to run a marathon by October, you are training. Keep this difference in mind when it comes to assigning yourself the correct workout.
Cardiovascular exercise is widely known as the de facto ‘official’ form of working out. In fact, the term ‘exercise’ likely conjures up images for you of a person running outside or rowing on a machine. Cardiovascular exercise is the workout everyone should do in some regard. Thankfully, you needn’t limit yourself to running. For some people, it’s all they need, and running can quickly become a healthy addiction for those who embark on their first road miles.
However, if you’re just not confident enough to run outside right now, or need more convenient and total ways of losing weight, or maybe even with less stress for an untrained individual, there is plenty of exercise equipment just for you. Elliptical machines (also known as cross-trainers,) are wholesome stationary exercise machines that adhere to a wide range of movement patterns and place virtually zero pressure on your joints.
Elliptical machines simulate running, walking and stair climbing while your shoes continuously secure the footrests, and so provide a safe and stable platform to exercise. They’re often one of the most beginner friendly machines, but can also very much help those experienced in the gym to provide them with their weekly cardio requirement. Having one of these machines at home can significantly improve the consistency with which you stick to your cardio schedule. It’s important if buying a machine to secure the best one you can, so reading unbiased elliptical reviews is heartily recommended. Purchase the right elliptical, and you’ll have an indispensable fitness ally for years to come.
Bodyweight training is a favorite of those who don’t have access to weightlifting equipment or simply would like to improve their muscle and strength tone. The second consideration of someone imagining what the term ‘exercise’ applies to will likely be an image of someone doing press-ups. As mentioned before in the ‘exercise vs. training’ section, bodyweight exercises aren’t progressively and ergonomically loadable like barbell training is, but it can provide great strength and endurance gains for the novice and intermediate.
You shouldn’t expect to put on much real muscular size, but you can expect a great increase in the endurance and overall cardiovascular efficiency of your body. This is because the only increased stress you can place on your bodyweight workout is usually more repetitions of an exercise like push-ups. Over a certain threshold, usually 12-15 repetitions, the line between strength gain and endurance/cardio exercise is blurred. If you’re hoping to gain muscular size as well, consider training with weighted belts.
Weightlifting is a favorite among those who’d like to become stronger, more flexible and powerful. It is also the most efficient way, coupled with an excellent diet, to expand your musculature and make architectural changes in the strength your body can display. The standard depiction of a great weightlifter would either be a bodybuilder or someone throwing a 300 lbs barbell above their head in a ‘snatch’ barbell exercise.
For general health and practical function, the powerlifter in the second example is superior. Bodybuilders work hard at what they do and are defined as athletes, but they often sacrifice their actual applicable strength, and sometimes health, to achieve the most muscle mass possible. In fact, those displaying their bodies at a bodybuilding competition may look like the pinnacle of health, but in reality, on stage, they are deprived of hydration and body fat to look as vascular as possible. In this state, they are also at their weakest.
While you might be tempted to get the washboard abs or sleek, toned body to impress the opposite gender, it’s important to build muscle first. Following an excellent novice program like Starting Strength or Stronglifts can allow you to progress towards building a strength base and become familiar with the basic physiological and ergonomic functions, your body was designed to excel in performing.
Yoga is both classed as an exercise and a deeply spiritual, self-defined meditation. It can help you become more present, more flexible, and wield great control over your body. Yoga is fantastic for those of all ages and should be prescribed for people who feel like their flexibility is inadequate. This isn’t to dismiss the strength benefits of Yoga though because there are significant ones. Holding awkward positions and breathing correctly during them is a discipline that even hardened weightlifters could find challenging.
Yoga, unlike most exercise routines, balances its physical exertion with inner reflection and thus becomes the most ‘complete’ of holistic remedies for someone needing to progress with a fitness regimen.
Now more than ever, it’s important for the common citizen to employ in his field of responsibilities the desire and execution of a solid workout routine. The division of labor and technological development has given us a plethora of benefits but has reduced the need for us to exercise to maintain our survival. This is great in some ways, but it doesn’t lessen our need to do it. In the absence of exercise, our bodies and minds are not normal.
An honest effort in the direction of becoming a fitter, better person will build your inner character and will blossom through your capabilities in all aspects of your life. No matter the initial resistance, push through it, and you’ll thank yourself for the effort.
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