What to Include in Your Home Workout Routine

Weight TrainingWhat types of exercises should you include in your home workout plan?  How much exercise do you need to improve your health?  These are both good questions and I’m happy to answer them.  On second thought, I’ll have one of the most widely recognized sports medicine and exercise science organizations in the world, The American College of Sports Medicine do the honors.

 

In their most recently revised (June, 2011) publication on exercise recommendations for healthy adults, The American College of Sports Medicine suggests a program of regular exercise that includes four major components.  Let’s take a look at each one and see what they recommend.

 

Cardiorespiratory Exercise  (Cardio/Aerobic Exercise)

  • Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week or at least 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week.  You can also do a combination of the two.
  • Exercise recommendations can be met through 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (five days per week) or 20-60 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise (three days per week).
  • One continuous session and multiple shorter sessions (of at least 10 minutes) are both acceptable to accumulate desired amount of daily exercise.
  • Gradual progression of exercise time, frequency and intensity is recommended for best adherence and least injury risk.
  • People unable to meet these minimums can still benefit from some activity.

 

Resistance Exercise  (Strength/Weight Training)

  • Adults should train each major muscle group two or three days each week using a variety of exercises and equipment.
  • Very light or light intensity is best for older persons or previously sedentary adults starting exercise.
  • For each exercise, 8-12 repetitions improve strength and power, 10-15 repetitions improve strength in middle-age and older persons starting exercise, and 15-20 repetitions improve muscular endurance.
  • Adults should wait at least 48 hours between resistance training sessions.

 

Flexibility Exercise  (Stretching/Range of Motion Exercises)

  • Adults should do flexibility exercises at least two or three days each week to improve range of motion.
  • Each stretch should be held for 10-30 seconds to the point of tightness or slight discomfort.
  • Repeat each stretch two to four times, accumulating 60 seconds per stretch.
  • Static, dynamic, ballistic and PNF stretches are all effective.
  • Flexibility exercise is most effective when the muscle is warm. Try light aerobic activity or a hot bath to warm the muscles before stretching.

 

Neuromotor Exercise  (Balance/Coordination Exercises)

  • Neuromotor exercise is recommended for two or three days per week.
  • Exercises should involve motor skills (balance, agility, coordination and gait).
  • 20-30 minutes per day is appropriate for neuromotor exercise.

(Source:  ACSM Issues New Recommendations on Quantity and Quality of Exercise, 2011.)

 

Alright, I know that was a lot of information.  Here’s the Cliffs Notes version of their recommendations:

  • Aerobic Exercise: Perform at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week or at least 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week (or a combination of the two).  It can be done in one continuous session and multiple shorter sessions (of at least 10 minutes).
  • Resistance/Strength Training: Train each major muscle group two or three days each week using a variety of exercises and equipment.
  • Flexibility/Stretching Exercises: Perform flexibility exercises at least two or three days each week to improve range of motion. Hold each stretch for 10 – 30 seconds to the point of tightness or slight discomfort.
  • Balance/Coordination Exercises:  Include motor skill activities  (balance, agility, coordination and gait) 2 – 3 times per week for 20 – 30 minutes per day.

 

Keep in mind that these are general guidelines.  The amount of time you dedicate to each component mainly depends on your personal exercise goals and schedule.  For example, you shouldn’t be spending 30 minutes each workout doing stretching or balance exercises if your main goal is to lose weight, especially if you only have 3 days a week and 45 minutes each day to exercise.  That’s not going to cut it!

 

Incorporating all the recommendations into your home workouts isn’t the “time viper” you might think. There are many exercises and activities which overlap the different components.  For instance, I use an agility ladder (it’s like a hopscotch court) with clients who want to improve their coordination and agility Home Workout Routinefor activities such as tennis.  It’s not only just good for that, but also provides aerobic benefits since it raises their heart rate.  (I’ll be covering specific exercises and activities like this in future posts – stay tuned!)

 

So now you know which components (aerobic, strength, flexibility and coordination exercises) and their recommended amounts you need to include in your home workouts . The challenge is to find the right balance of each to match your exercise needs and schedule. There’s no doubt these four components are the main staples of a well-balanced exercise program, and should serve as the outline for yours.

 

I hope that helps,

Paul

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