Check out part 1 of this post where I discuss exercise being a lot more than the dreaded gym and integrating movement into your daily life. I ended off sharing with you that there are 4 types of exercises that we should be targeting throughout our weekly movement plan. Here they are…
1. Aerobic exercise
…which is important for cardiovascular health, includes any movement that gets your heart rate up but that you can sustain for a long period of time. So this would be low to moderate activity like brisk walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, dancing, step class etc. Work towards getting at least 2.5 hours of aerobic movement in per week.
2. Strength training
…which is really important for bone density and muscle mass, includes body weight exercises or exercises using resistance from a weight. Body weight exercises involve push ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges etc. Resistance training using weights (or resistance bands) may include bicep curls, shoulder press, kettlebell swings, weighted squats etc. It is really important to make sure that correct form is used in order to avoid injury. When starting out with strength training I suggest getting a trainer from a gym to guide you through the exercises first or watch lots of youtube videos that teach the correct form. Then make sure to do them in front of the mirror to ensure your form is correct.
Here is a great website with loads of strength training workouts you can use at home or in the gym.
…which is essential for flexibility, increasing range of motion and preventing injury, includes activities like yoga and pilates but can also just be an at home stretching program. Make sure to always start with dynamic stretching to warm up before moving on to static stretching. You can do stretching for just a few minutes daily (check out this 5 minute routine), set aside a day or two in your plan just for stretching (check out this page) or do it as part of your yoga or pilates movement day.
…an important movement to maintain especially as we age, can be done throughout the day using simple exercises but is also targeted in exercises like yoga and pilates. Simple exercises like standing on one foot while brushing your teeth can be really helpful (not to mention simple) in keeping this form of movement in check. Here are 7 exercises you can do to improve balance.
A fifth important aspect, that Harvard Health did not mention but that has been shown to be highly beneficial for the human body is…
5. High intensity interval training (or HIIT)
This is an especially effective workout if you are under time constraints (it can be as short as 10 minutes) and it can also be counted as a strength workout. Here is a great post for beginner HIIT workouts.
With this in mind, as well as the understanding that movement should not be restricted to just 45 minutes a day, let’s figure out a way to make your movement plan fun and enjoyable. So get some paper and a pen and let’s get started on designing your very own Movement Plan:
- Write down at least 3 things you LOVE to do for movement.
- Write down at least 2 things you don’t mind but know are good for you.
- Write down at least 1 type of exercise you don’t like but know gives you the results you want.
Here are some examples to help inspire you:
- Step class
- Playing with the kids
- Rock climbing
- High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
- Climbing stairs
- Strength training
This will be different for everyone but the purpose of this is to create a pool of go-to activities that will keep you inspired and motivated to incorporate movement daily. Make sure that you have chosen activities that target each of the types of exercise mentioned earlier.
Now that you have created a workout pool by writing down at least 6 different movement activities, it is time to put it into a weekly plan. Aim to get your sweat on 6 days a week and leave one day for recovery. It is important to note that two intense workouts back-to-back is not advised. So if you do a HIIT workout on Monday, doing a strength training workout the next day is not a good idea. Alternate the more intense workouts with a lighter activity. For example, my workout plan might look like this:
Workout pool (in order of preference): dancing; walking; yoga; HIIT; stretching; strength training
Monday (strength) – Lower body strength training
Tuesday (aerobic/stretching/balance) – Yoga with Adriene
Wednesday (HIIT) – Darebee Max Out workout or 100m sprints
Thursday (aerobic) – 40 minute brisk walk
Friday (strength) – Upper body strength training
Saturday (aerobic) – 30 minutes of dancing
Sunday – rest day
On the day you’re usually most motivated to workout, put down your least favorite activity.
A good tip is to be strategic about which day you choose for which workout. On the day you’re usually most motivated to workout, put down your least favorite activity. On the day you’re usually least motivated, put down your favorite activity. On a Monday I am most motivated to move so I put strength training down then and strategically made Saturday (my least favorite day to workout) my dancing day so that it boosts my motivation.
Listen to your body and be flexible…
I encourage you to listen to your body and on days when it is asking for more gentle movement then pick one of your lighter activities.
You don’t have to create a hard and fast plan to follow. You can just have this workout pool handy and depending on how your body feels, pick a workout to do. So long as you get in all those movements, you can remain pretty flexible if that works better for you. I encourage you to listen to your body and on days when it is asking for more gentle movement then pick one of your lighter activities. If you’re feeling like more rigorous activity then pick one that meets you there. Always stay attentive to what your body is needing and never push through if you’re not feeling it.
Feel free to change it up…
If you’re anything like me and get bored easily, pick more than 6 activities so that you can rotate a variety of activities each week. For example, one week I might do dancing and yoga for my aerobic exercise but the next week I might do walking and swimming.
I hope that this movement plan works for you or has at least inspired you to make your workouts more interesting. Always remember to listen to your body, challenge it where possible and have fun!