Hello and welcome to our second blog post.
Today we’re discussing exercise routines and how to maintain them long term.
Social media and the internet is full of enticing images and ads promoting “quick fix” exercise plans. You can find everything from Get a 6 pack in 6 weeks to the next big celebrity’s exercise plan.
Do you remember the action movie “300”? To get in shape for their roles, actors went through a vigorous exercise routine prior to filming. That exercise plan went viral and people from all different fitness levels were trying to follow the plan, hoping for results similar to the ones they saw in the film.
Was this a realistic long term exercise plan? The answer for the mere mortal is NO! It was a short term, extreme plan made to get the actors in shape QUICKLY. Although the plan did make the actors look ripped and muscular, it is not sustainable in the long term. Any program that is not sustainable for the long-term feeds into this cycle of yo-yo diet and exercise programs, which are frustrating and stressful on our bodies.
The key to long-term fitness is finding a routine that is sustainable for the long-term. Not one that is so intense that you will burn out or injure yourself after just a couple of weeks.
The fundamental flaw of these quick fix exercise routines is the generalisation of content. There is no one-size-fits-all training plan.
How to maintain long-term exercise
PATIENCE. Patience plays a major role in exercising long term, and dealing with setbacks. Keeping the exercise routine as simple as possible is key starting off. The advantages of being a first-time exerciser are numerous. First timers will adapt to exercise rapidly over the course of a few weeks. The lower intensity cardio based exercises are the most beneficial starting off. It can be as simple as a 30 minute jog or elliptical workout at conversational pace 3 times a week. Train smart, not hard. If you are patient and build your fitness gradually, you will avoid burnout and injury and be able to continue exercise long term.
MOTIVATION. Set several goals for your exercise, and keep setting new ones. “I want to lose my belly fat ” is a great idea, but without specifics it’s a distant thought. Instead of focusing on aesthetic goals, focus on performance goals. For example, “I want to run 5 km continuously by the 1st of October.” That’s a specific goal to aim for, not extreme or unrealistic. Another way to stay motivated is to try out different workouts- swimming, biking, hills, weights, rock climbing, hiking…anything goes as long as you are breaking a sweat!
Real world example:
I wanted to train for the 800 metre race at my school sports day, when I was 15. I ran for around 400 metres and nearly passed out with the pain and breathlessness! After gradually building from that I could run a mile within 2 weeks. For me that was a mini-Everest moment. Confidence increases once mini goals are completed. Anything exercise related is possible, if you take a smart, gradial approach to it.
We will cover this topic in more detail in future posts.
In the meantime, let us know what your goals are. What hurdles have you faced to maintain an exercise routine long-term?
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Until next time,
The Health Heads
“No nonsense fitness and health”