If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health - Hippocrates
Now that you are sleeping and eating better, it’s time to get some exercise.
First, some background.
In 1995 the American College of Sports Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published national guidelines on Physical Activity and Public Health. The Committee on Exercise and Cardiac Rehabilitation of the American Heart Association endorsed and supported these recommendations. In 2007 these recommendations were updated to better reflect the current scientific research.
The Journal Circulation reported the following findings: To promote and maintain health, all healthy adults aged 18 to 65 yr need moderate-intensity aerobic (endurance) physical activity for a minimum of 30 min on five days each week or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity for a minimum of 20 min on three days each week. Combinations of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity can be performed to meet this recommendation. For example, a person can meet the recommendation by walking briskly for 30 min twice during the week and then jogging for 20 min on two other days. Moderate-intensity aerobic activity, which is generally equivalent to a brisk walk and noticeably accelerates the heart rate, can be accumulated toward the 30-min minimum by performing bouts each lasting 10 or more minutes. Vigorous-intensity activity is exemplified by jogging, and causes rapid breathing and a substantial increase in heart rate. In addition, every adult should perform activities that maintain or increase muscular strength and endurance a minimum of two days each week. Because of the dose-response relation between physical activity and health, persons who wish to further improve their personal fitness, reduce their risk for chronic diseases and disabilities or prevent unhealthy weight gain may benefit by exceeding the minimum recommended amounts of physical activity.
Minimum Daily Exercise Recommendations
Adults ages 18-65
Moderate Intensity Aerobic Activity 30 minutes 5 days per week
Vigorous Intensity Aerobic Activity 20 Minutes 3 days per week
Resistance Training for Muscular Strength 2 days per week
So, How Do I Apply This To My Life?
I was 45 years old and had a newborn and a three year old in the house. I worked a sedentary job and it had been 10 years since I set foot in a gym. Needless to say, I was headed down hill fast. My hormones were a wreck. My blood pressure, cholesterol and body weight were all creeping into the danger level…
I knew I had to do something, but I didn’t know what. Truthfully, I didn’t have the stamina to do much at all. Even the wimpiest workout left me feeling exhausted for the rest of the day…
Then I came across the following formula…
Moderate activity for 30 minutes, 5 days per week and resistance training 2 days per week.
That seemed easy enough….
Take a Walk
Day one I put my tennis shoes on, set the alarm on my phone to 15 minutes and headed out the door. I just started walking and I walked until my alarm went off and then I turned around and walked home. I didn’t get very far that first day but it didn’t matter. I was able to accomplish moderate activity for 30 minutes and I felt a sense of achievement. That began a habit that I would continue until this day, 5 years later.
Every morning I wake up and take a walk. Some days I walk for 30 minutes, some days it’s two hours. My longest walk was 17 miles. I happen to be an early bird and typically walk before sunrise, but that is not necessary. Only that you walk for a minimum of 30 minutes, 5 days per week.
Resistance is Futile
As for resistance training, I did not try and tackle that task until I had been walking consistently for over a year. Once I felt ready, I found a gym that is a mile and a half from my home. On two days per week, I now walk to the gym, do 20 minutes of resistance training and walk home. The whole process takes about an hour.
When you think of a gym, you may envision bodybuilders lifting iron bars loaded with metal plates. I’m the first to admit that getting into the gym can be intimidating, especially if it been a while since you’ve been in one. However, it doesn’t have to the that way.
Are You Ready for NFL Style Training?
I recently was fortunate enough to get to hear Dan Riley, the former strength coach for the World Champion Kansas City Chiefs and later the HoustonTexans, present his methodology for training NFL players. Hearing him speak really opened my eyes and changed how I thought about working out…
From the time I was in high school until I was in my late 30’s, gong to the gym was a 4-5 day a week for 1-2 hour ordeal. Like most folks, I would meticulously work each body part…three set of ten reps and so on…And, I always felt a subtle pressure to use the free weights and lift heavy…Needless to say, I was injured often…
After 20 years of training NFL players, Dan Riley has some well developed thoughts on working out and building strength…
Stay Injury Free
His first piece of advice, always work out on machine weights. Avoid free weights if you want to remain injury free. Mind you, this is the same advise he gives his NFL players and he has the reputation in the league of having very few injured players on his teams…
Work out Slow....
Next, Dan advises doing High Intensity Training or HIT. This may sound rough, but it is actually a brilliant system developed from years of trials and hands on research. HIT goes something like this…You work each body part one time per week. You do one set per body part, each set of 6-8 reps is done SUPER slowly with a 15 count up and a 15 count down. If you do this correctly, you will be working with half of the weight you might otherwise use and you will be be working out to failure. In other words, you will be unable to do an additional rep.
I focus on my upper body with the following machines:
Close grip Lat Pull Down
For lower body I do:
I am in an out of the gym in under 20 minutes twice per week.
So to recap, I walk at least 30 minutes per day and workout with machine weights twice per week for under 20 minutes.
Finally, I have begun to do a “core” routine twice per week that is a 13 minute routine. (I’ll give you more details about that routine in a later post.) Although I just recently started, I can already see a big improvement in my abdominal muscles and core strength.
Now just quick note to let you know how this routine has affected my health….
I’ve lost 20 pounds of fat around my belly and gained 5 pounds of muscle in my shoulders and legs. My blood pressure averages 20 points lower in Systolic and 10 points lower in diastolic than it did 5 years ago(I check it every Saturday at the grocery store, you should too.) My cholesterol is now in a healthy range. But best of all, I was able to discontinue with Hormone Replacement Therapy after 5 years of being medicated. I feel great, my energy level is high and I can keep up with my kids (and my wife.)