Cardio or weight training? Pilates or HIIT? Gym or home workouts? With so much information online these days about which types of exercises are supposedly the most effective, and how long you should be doing these workouts for, it can be confusing to say the least.
After all, if you’ve plucked up the courage to grab your trainers and head out on that run, having to worry about whether what you’re doing constitutes ‘enough’ is not ideal. Unfortunately, there is no standardised way of measuring the appropriate amount of exercise, as this very much varies depending on your individual needs.
However, knowing what your goals are, and what you’re aiming to achieve from exercise, is a great place to start — and will assure you that what you’re doing is going to benefit you in the long run.
For losing weight
If your main purpose for exercising is to drop a few pounds on the scales, doing a mixture of cardio-based exercises will prove most effective. Taking part in aerobic activities such as running, cycling and swimming have been found not only to reduce your risk of developing major illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer, but also help considerably to reduce your overall body fat percentage.
In conjunction with eating a low-calorie diet, studies have shown that as little as 21–42 minutes per day of moderate-intensity exercise will be enough to see substantial changes in body weight. So whether it’s taking your dog for a long walk, or sweating it out in the gym on the treadmill for half an hour, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your target.
Improving overall fitness
Participating in physical activity can also be a great way of improving your overall fitness in general. Whether you have an upcoming football match, or simply want to make everyday tasks such as cleaning the house that little bit easier, having a higher level of fitness is bound to benefit you.
One of the quickest ways to improve your fitness levels is by getting involved in High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). An entire HIIT workout usually averages at around 15–20 minutes and involves working in quick bursts of high intensity (for example, squat jumps, burpees and short sprints).
Research has proven that 3 sessions per week of 30 minute high intensity exercise can significantly improve your VO2 max levels, (the optimum rate at which the heart, lungs and muscles can effectively use oxygen during exercise), resulting in it being easier to exercise for longer.
Not only does this form of exercise allow you to workout within the comfort of your own home, but it’s also a great option for those who want to get their workouts over with quickly and move on with the rest of their day.
To manage stress levels
When you’ve been busy at work all day, the thought of adding another task to your long schedule may seem to do more harm than good. However, according to a recent study, doing yoga on a regular basis has shown strong links with the reduction of depression, anxiety and stress.
This form of exercise also helps to improve your strength, flexibility and balance, making it an all-round winner when deciding which type of training best suits you. After all, when you think about it, doing a few controlled stretches and breathing exercises are fairly easy to incorporate into your daily routine.
One thing to bear in mind, however, is that most forms of yoga are not strenuous enough to be your only form of exercise, and tend to work best when done as well as other, more active forms of training.
You do you…
Overall, any type of exercise is good for you, and some is always better than none. Working out what you want to achieve from exercise will really help pave the way in knowing how much is enough for you.
Written by Helen Dubber
WellBe is spearheading the way to a brighter future for corporate wellness. Our innovative portal is scientifically designed and tailored to each individual employee to improve their wellbeing. We specialise in a range of services from coaching and therapists, to meditation and reading materials. Our aim is to reduce workplace stress that costs UK businesses £42 billion per year. Get in touch with us by visiting our site wellbe.global for more information.