Do you sit at your desk all day working? Maybe you take a quick break for lunch? Maybe you watch some Netflix in the evening?
Well if you’re a mom like me, you also get the kiddo up and ready, take her to preschool and pick her up and also manage the cleaning, laundry, meal planning, cooking and everything else that’s domestic and needs attention. Oh, yeah, and then there’s work which I love, I really do!
But because my work is compressed so much by all these other duties it can be a real challenge to get exercise in. Weeks could go by without even so much as a 10 minute jog! This makes me feel so sluggish and kind of jiggly to be honest.
If you’re in the same boat as me and really want to get your body moving again you don’t need to jump right into a fitness class three days a week. Maybe that wouldn’t even be good for you if you’re stressed or have been inactive for some time.
So, where should you begin with your exercise routine?
Starting from Scratch
According to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, walking 7,500 steps per day will increase your longevity. This is a great place to start your exercise routine. Many who are sedentary get less than 2,000 steps per day which doesn’t support optimum health. By increasing this, you’ll improve circulation, decrease high blood sugar levels and feel more calm.
7,500 steps equates to about 20 minutes of walking, 3 times per day. Obviously this will vary from person to person.
If you’re not used to getting that much walking in, just start by adding 10 minutes extra per day. You want this to become a daily habit you look forward to.
For me, I now walk my daughter to and from school and pick her up the same way. Then I add a mid-day walk after lunch to get more steps in.
Base Level Exercise
Now that you’ve mastered getting in plenty of steps, you’re ready for the next level. The minimal amount of exercise everyone can benefit from is two days of cardio and resistance training (on the same day) per week with a two day break in between. If you can add gentle yoga one day per week to get some stretching in, that would be a bonus.
Begin with 10 minutes of cardio and work your way up from there. You don’t need much to make a big impact. If you’re overweight, be sure to pick out a lower impact cardio so you don’t stress your joints. Biking for instance is an excellent option or swimming if that’s available to you. You can also look for low impact aerobic exercises on youtube!
For resistance training, start with body weight. Simple movements like lunges, squats, push ups and sit ups are great basic moves that help tone muscles.
As you begin a routine, start with shorter amounts of cardio (10 minutes, increasing by 5 minutes at a time) and start with just one set of each resistance training movement adding additional sets as you gain strength. You should feel sore but not so sore that it’s difficult to go about your day. If you feel like you have the flu, then you’ve overdone it!
Ideal Minimal Workout
Three days a week of cardio/resistance training is really ideal for reaping the benefits of exercise including all the healthy blood sugar levels, inflammation, hormone and stress balancing benefits.
Ideally you would do these 1 to 2 days apart (Monday, Wednesday, Friday for instance). If you can add yoga to this, then that’s a bonus.
Just like above, you can add reps and sets for resistance training slowly while paying attention to how your body feels. For cardio, 30 minutes is a great target to reach.
Once you’ve reached the ideal minimal workout and you’d like to add in something more, consider adding activities that get you outside such as riding your bike, hiking, kayaking or swimming. Moving your body should be a joy, not a chore. Celebrate all that it can do.
Exercise is one of the components of my one-one-one coaching program. If you’re ready to take back your health, rebalance hormones, sleep better and have more energy then book a free chat with me to learn how I can support you.
To learn more about ways you can balance your body, join my 5 Day Summer Detox for Beginners. This program starts on August 17th but registration closes on the 15th. Hope to see you there!