The big question in sports science is how much exercise to do to get the health benefits, and how often? The advice is often contradictory. Some people have been suggesting you need to break it up into five slots over the week, others disagree.
Fortunately there appears to be some consensus emerging.
First, 150 minutes of moderate exercise seems to be the figure we need to aim for.
Second, it doesn’t really matter how u split the time so long as you hit the 150 minutes over the week, and don’t do it all in one go. As little as 10 minutes at a time may even be beneficial.
But what counts as ‘moderate exercise’? The disappointing news is that most people underestimate it! Walking, for example, counts as moderate exercise so long as your heart rate increases significantly, but you can still hold down a conversation. About a 100 steps a minute should see you about right. This isn’t a shopping trip down Market Street on a Saturday afternoon!
For many guys, 150 minutes of exercise seems a huge target to try and fit into their everyday lives. Here’s my advice for getting into exercise.
1. Build Exercise Slots Into Your Daily Routine.
These slots need only be five minutes to start with. In fact they shouldn’t be too adventurous.
2. Slowly Increase The Amount You Exercise.
Only consider increasing the length of time you exercise after 4 or 5 weeks – when the routine has starting to settle down. The biggest mistake guys make is trying to do too much too soon. You will only become demoralised and give yourself a ‘failure’ experience. Exercise should be a lifestyle for the long run. Not a quick fix. So it makes sense to build up slowly.
3. Do Something You Enjoy.
Everybody is different. Do something you enjoy … or feel you might cum to enjoy at the very least. There is no reason not to find an activity you find fun. It could be walking, jogging, weights, skiing at the indoor slope, football, swimming – you could even combine exercise with a social event, like dancing.
4. Do a Variety of Things.
150 minutes of the same thing every week will bore even the most committed. Try and mix up your activities with some strength and some cardio activities. It doesn’t really matter what you do, so long as you do something. Down the line, when your routine is solid, you might want to fine tune your program. Don’t worry about this too much at the start.
5. Keep a Record of Your Achievements.
Before you start, take a picture of yourself in your trunks, weigh yourself and take a measure of you waist and other body dimensions. Then repeat this every month. There’s nothing better for building motivation than to keep a diary of how far you’ve come.
6. If all else fails … use a personal trainer.
Try Lewis Hughes, he’s starting an outdoor exercise ‘boot camp’ over the summer. It will be a great introduction to exercise for men of all abilities.
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