Monday, June 24, 2013

5 Steps to Get the Most from Your Workout

Exercise can elevate your mood, improve your sleep, strengthen your immune system, help you manage your weight, and simply let you have fun.

Runner on Bastyr University campus trail.
Running is one way to help get to your goal of 10,000 steps per day.

Exercise can elevate your mood, improve your sleep, strengthen your immune system, help you manage your weight, and simply let you have fun. But there are many reasons why people do not exercise. It's best to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week, or 30 minutes five days a week. Here are 5 simple tips to maximize your workout and increase your exercise time.

  1. Every step counts. Buy a pedometer and aim to take at least 10,000 steps per week. Aiming for a specific number can be motivating, and it is fun to see if you can meet a daily goal.
  2. 20-minute rule. If you work at a desk and are sitting for much of the day, make it a habit to get out of your chair every 20 minutes and take a two-minute walk. Walk to the farthest printer, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or find other tricks. Studies show that exercising in small bursts is beneficial.
  3. Partner up. Find a workout partner to make yourself accountable and to help each other vary your workouts.
  4. Multiple muscle groups. Try holding a squat while doing bicep curls or lunging while doing a shoulder presses Pushups and jumping rope are great choices to engage multiple muscle groups at the same time.
  5. Personalize it. It may be beneficial to meet with a personal trainer for a few sessions to get some ideas for how to maximize your workout and vary the routine so that you do not become bored. A personal trainer will also make sure you are keeping proper form, which leads to better results.

Exercise is an important part of a healthy life. Try out one of these tips the next time you lace up your tennis shoes! Your naturopathic doctor can also help you find exercise strategies that are most beneficial for your health concerns and wellbeing.

— By Emily Lesnak, ND, naturopathic doctor and resident at Bastyr Center for Natural Health.

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