Being the type of athlete who gets bored easily, I have to make consistent changes in my movement to avoid a plateau. Of course I can try a new class, or workout with a new buddy but there are many other ways to create varity in movement. Today we will be exploring different variables of exercise but first, let’s take a moment to understand what exercise is all about according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE).
What is Exercise, Anyway? According to ACE, exercise is defined as “planned, structured physical activity that is performed to improve one or more components of physical fitness.” So, in simpler terms, exercise is more than just random movements; it’s a deliberate effort to make ourselves healthier, fitter, and happier.
Now that we’ve got the basics down, let’s strap on our sneakers and delve into the different variables that make up the exercise experience:
1. Frequency: Consistency is key
One of the most critical variables is how often you exercise. The frequency of your workouts determines how well your body adapts and progresses. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise. So, whether it’s daily workouts or a few times a week, find a frequency that fits your lifestyle and goals.
2. Intensity: Work hard
Intensity refers to how hard you’re working during your exercise sessions. It’s not just about sweating profusely but reaching a level of effort that challenges your body. You can measure intensity using heart rate, the “talk test” (can you hold a conversation while working out?), or the good old “perceived rate of exertion” scale. Tailor your intensity to match your fitness level and objectives.
3. Time: Time + intensity
The duration of your workouts matters. A longer workout doesn’t necessarily mean a better one. The key is to strike a balance between intensity and duration. Short, high-intensity workouts like HIIT can be incredibly effective in a short amount of time, while longer sessions may be necessary for endurance training.
4. Type: Mixing It Up
Choosing different workouts is a fundamental exercise variable. Different types of exercise (aerobic, strength training, flexibility, and balance exercises) target different aspects of fitness. Incorporating a variety of activities not only keeps things exciting but also ensures you’re working on multiple components of physical fitness. This is a must-do for your overall fitness.
5. Progression: Keep growing and moving forward
Exercise is all about growth and improvement. As your body adapts to your current routine, you must gradually increase the challenge to keep making progress. This could mean adding weight to your strength training, increasing the intensity of your cardio workouts, or trying new exercises to keep things fresh.
6. Individualization: Your Unique Journey
Injuries, mobility limits, health issues all contribute to each person’s fitness journey. Your fitness journey is unique. Factors like age, fitness level, health conditions, and personal preferences all play a role in determining what kind of exercise routine works best for you. Just because you have limits doesn’t mean you can’t find one way to improve your physical wellness.
7. Maintenance: It’s Not Just About Getting There
Once you’ve reached your fitness goals, it’s essential to maintain! This means finding a sustainable exercise routine that you enjoy and can stick with in the long run. Consistency is key to maintaining your hard-earned progress. Once our Wellthy Soul clients get into this phase, the fun begins!
8. Mindset work: Exploring different variables of exercise
Lastly, exercise isn’t just about the physical aspect; it’s also a mental practice. Your mindset plays a significant role in your success. Cultivate a positive attitude, set realistic goals, and give yourself grace. Remember, every workout is a step in the right direction.
To wrap it up
Fitness is only one measure of health and wellness. Mental, physical, psychological and emotional health all contribute to a well rounded adult. When considering your physical wellness, make changes on a consistent basis. Allow your body to experience new challenges and efforts. Use the education above as you are exploring different variables of exercise. If you need support, Wellthy Soul is here for you. Begin here.