We all know that exercise, we can even call it “moving,” is good for us. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services just came out in their newest report and said that, “Seven of the ten most common chronic diseases are favorably influenced by regular physical activity.” Or in coach language (to make it simply so I can understand it!), physical activity can help improve 7 out of 10 areas that are bad for you and cause problems and even death. You can improve your health and risk of health problems by 70% if you just do some type of physical activity.
That’s the good news.
Here is the flip side. Nearly 80% of Americans don’t meet the weekly recommendations: 150 to 300 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous exercise. In addition to either of those, it is recommended that you do two or more days of muscle-strengthening exercises involving all of the major muscle groups: legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms. Only 2 out of 10 are getting that done!
Even if you don’t meet all the set standards, we know that shifting from being a couch potato to even moving a little bit each day. Yes, any amount of exercise, compared to being a sedentary junkie (i.e. sitting all day), is beneficial.
If you are up and about, no matter as a beginner or a high level workout junkie, making sure to move right is essential for improving fitness, optimizing health and preventing injury.
So as you get fired up from reading this article (that’s my plug for you to get up and go!) and you commit or recommit to this life-extending goal of making movement part of your daily routine, I want to make sure you don’t hit some of the pitfalls or mistakes folks make when moving and exercising. Here are our top 3 areas to focus on for a better experience and to gain the most bang for your exercise buck!
Most of Us Under-Train
One of my sayings is, “Something is better than Zero.” But also understand, just because you get dressed up for the part, even go to a special place to feel the part, if you aren’t getting it done you’ve failed the part! What I mean is that a person in the middle of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise should be able to talk but not sing. And a person doing vigorous activity should not be able to say more than a few words without pausing for breath. If you’re talking, reading and having a cup of your favorite drink as you are exercising — you may be under-training and take a look at your intensity level.
Strengthening exercises should be performed to the point at which it would be difficult to do another repetition. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, one set of eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise is effective for enhance muscle strength, although two or three sets may be more effective. If your workout is 3 sets of 10 reps and you do ALL 30 REPS in a row — you really need to increase the intensity and step up your training.
Movement/Sport Specific Training
Sport Specific Training is a hot topic for training these days. What experts are finding out for kids is that specificity of training for a sport is causing overuse problems from repetitive movements, leading to an increase in the likelihood of injuries and problems for kids. This can also be true for those working out to stay in shape or keep healthy.
When we just do one form of training, example walk on the treadmill or ride a bike, it can lead to problems. That is why it’s important to a well-rounded program, maybe combining strength training with balance and flexibility, to build or maintain muscle, tendon and joint health and to minimize your risk of injury. When we have a well-rounded program, we find that we’re able to work all major wellness and health components and avoid muscle imbalances which lead to pain and injury.
Push Hard Fast and Short
I know we just said many of us under-train, but the opposite problem often exists for folks getting back into training and exercise. We’re excited to get going and try to “eat the whole elephant at one setting!”
Trying to do too much in a short window usually leads to soreness, in some cases injury and in most cases a short window of working out.
Remember, it took years to get into the shape you’re in, so it might take more than a few weeks to build a good cardiovascular base, get yourself that toned muscular body you want for the beach and a little work to have that flexibility you use to have.
The saying “Start Low and Go Slow” is good practice to begin. As you progress, you can start to increase that intensity, find what works best for you and your body, and be on your way to being in the top 20% of those that uses exercise and movement to achieve that 70% reduction in health problems!
Mark “Coach Rozy” Roozen, M.Ed, CSCS,*D, NSCA-CPT, FNSCA is a Performance Coach with over 30 years in the fitness and performance business, He is Founder/Director of Coach Rozy Performance. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org ,817-219-2811 or go to www.coachrozy.com