Four Steps to Effective Exercise

4 Steps to Effective Exercise

Whether you haven’t lifted a weight in a decade or you frequent the gym, the following steps will help you get started and make sure your workouts will get you the results you desire.

If you are unsure where to begin an exercise program or worried about fitting exercise into your schedule start here!

Step 1. Do something!

Choose anything you want! You used to run in high school, lift weights or a friend wants you to join Zumba - Start it! Maybe park your car at the far end of the parking lot or decide to take the stairs. That works too. Pick 2 days per week and exercise for 20-30 minutes. Or do 15 minutes every day, like we use in the Mommy Ready Postpartum Program. Decide, plan it and do it!

Once you’re doing something use the next steps to make sure your workouts are worth every minute!

Step 2. Do a little more!

Have this goal in each of your workouts and you will witness improvement each time you work out. Keeping an exercise journal will help you know where you’re at and where to push a little harder. Increase your weight, do one more set, go a little further. If your time is limited don’t add time – add intensity – make the workout more intense by adding hills you your run, or modifying your exercise. In the postpartum program we use "Progressions" to bump your exercise up a level of intensity and keep you moving forward.

The American Heart Association suggests that those people who exercise 5-6 days per week for 60 minutes are the most satisfied with their workouts, health and well-being. Due to your unique situation, job, family and physical capabilities discuss with your doctor or personal trainer what amount of exercise is reasonable for you. Start wherever you are at now and as you progress you'll see that that 60 min goal will become well within reach.

Step 3. Add something different!

There are 3 categories of exercise you should include in your exercise plan - aerobic, strengthening, and stretching. Aerobic exercise like running or cycling is suited for weight loss because it burns calories and is good for your heart. Limiting yourself to only aerobic exercise, however, may lead to lost muscle mass, decreased metabolism, and fewer calories burned each day. Add strengthening, like free weights or circuit training, to help preserve or build your muscles. More muscle mass keeps your metabolism fire burning even long after your workout is over. Strengthening also helps support your body and reduces injury in your everyday activities. Stretching is an essential exercise practice to prevent injury. Some stretching should be done before and after each exercise session. Stretching routines like Yoga can be worked into your exercise schedule as rest days, or even rest weeks to help your body recover and grow stronger.

Step 4. Add someone else!

You don't have to do this alone! In fact you shouldn't. Create a support system for yourself. Get your family involved and they can make it easier for you to make necessary life changes. They, too, will benefit from your motivation to create healthy habits. Friends, relatives, co-workers, and even new friends you make when you start going to the gym, joining a running club or cross fit dojo can really help. Schedule your workouts with a friend who has the same schedule. Report in to a relative who can help you see your progress and keep you thinking positively. Encourage several co-workers to join a race or competition with you. By adding a support system, you'll benefit and they will too!

You can use the above steps to start exercising or invigorate a slumping workout routine. Maintaining balance in your exercise/rest schedule is just as important as maintaining a balance in life. Listen to what your body tells you it needs, don't just power through. Fitness related injuries, like muscle spasm, strains, or weakness can signal you to seek guidance from a fitness expert or your medical provider. Mommy Ready Postpartum Program was designed to help you recognize symptoms of core dysfunction that can be limiting your fitness progress, and keep you from your desired results.

Learn more about the Mommy Ready Postpartum Program here.

Find Tips to Creating a Workout Plan in our blog!