Written by Beau DeCourcy
Many people shy away from exercise due to misconceptions derived from poor information. And for those who do exercise based off of this misinformation, it seems the cost-benefit ratio is just not worth the work. This is unfortunate, yet understandable.
The benefits of exercise are widely cited: reduction of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and exercise is even associated with a healthier, sharper brain. As Art Devany says, “muscle is medicine”. Despite all of these well-established benefits, many do not take part in exercise because it not only confuses people, they feel like it’s work; something they have to get out of the way each day. This view is flawed and causes many to miss out on the bountiful health benefits. I can’t blame them. Hitting the treadmill and all those complicated, robot looking machines every night for 45 minutes, takes its toll. It’s boring and never gets you the toned thighs and abs your told it will. Furthermore, many feel out of place and self- conscious at gyms that resemble dance clubs more than health clubs.
So why don’t all of these high tech machines yield you even meager results? It’s all about sending the proper signals to your body. First, stop thinking about exercise as a means to burn calories. Burning calories in a workout means almost nothing. Exercise, movement in general, sends signals to the body on the cellular level. It tells your body to burn fat, build muscle and up-regulate metabolism. If you know how to send the proper signals via hormonal cascades, you’ll be burning fat and building strength, bone, and muscle (medicine) most of the day.
How does one go about signaling the desirable hormonal profile? Keep it short and simple. Get rid of the unnecessary complexity first. Lose the bicep curls, tricep extensions, ab curls, and please, the awkward leg closing and opening machine. Why? Because isolating small muscles, one at a time, sends a very weak signal to your body, and these exercises are boring and time consuming. Stick to whole body movements: pull ups, pushups, squats, etc… These whole body movements engage all of the muscle groups. This means you’re able to send a strong signal to your body, which is what you want to do. The great thing about strong signals is that it takes much less time to get the desired effect. In fact, your workouts should be shorter by necessity!
Short and intense is what you’re looking for. How intense? It depends on each person. This is where a professional trainer can help you. If you have not worked out intensely for a while, it would also be important to see a doctor first.
So how long should you exercise and how often? Once again, the duration of the exercise depends on the intensity, and of course, the goals and starting capabilities of the individual. For most people, 10-15 minutes of optimally designed workouts that focus on three, compound movements is plenty. If you feel like you want to do more after 15 minutes, add a repetition(s) or work on increasing the intensity of a particular exercise in your next workout and try to keep the duration under 15 minutes. Complete these workouts twice per week to start and that’s it.
Exercise should be fast and enjoyable, however, it is also important to learn and understand the proper technique, as well as where your physical capabilities stand before beginning any program. Many may not have the strength to complete a pull-up or push-up from the start. That’s ok. Exist Anew has techniques to gradually increase your strength to complete these movements. Also, it is important to learn proper technique and movement patterns, otherwise you will reinforce poor movement patterns that will lend to injury. A movement assessment performed by a professional and injury prevention techniques taught by a professional are essential.
As a final note, exercising intensely 20-30 minutes a week is only one component of a healthy life. Nutrition and movement the rest of the day must also be aligned with your goals. Walking, play, sleep and sun exposure, are all necessary components that we will discuss soon. Understand that exercise is meant to make life and play more enjoyable. How? Check out the post Comfort Zoning .
What has been your experience with exercise? Please share any questions or experiences with us in the comment section or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org