We’ve done a lot! We have…
- gotten into our mental state of mind
- tracked our habits,
- and become aware of when we’re satisfied while eating
That brings us to part 4, where we’re going to get into some movement. Of course, we like to focus on moving and getting the most out of your exercises. This is a great place to start with anything you’re doing. It’s also the thing I’m always the most excited to talk about!
Aerobic vs Anaerobic exercise
So let’s talk basics for a minute. There are basically two forms of exercise: aerobic, which requires oxygen and anaerobic, which does not. Cardio is essentially aerobic exercise. Whenever you do any type of cardio (running, elliptical, most group fitness classes) you breathe heavier because your body needs more oxygen to support that level of activity. On the other hand, strength training (anaerobic) does not really require any oxygen because your muscles are providing the energy.
What’s the point of all of this?
You burn calories with aerobic exercise, and you build muscle with anaerobic exercise. With aerobic exercise, your heart, organs, and entire body need a lot of oxygen to survive, and it needs energy (through calories) to do this. Anaerobic exercise (strength training), on the other hand, is fueled by muscle. You do burn some calories with strength training but the real benefits come changes in your physique (more tone and definition) and an increased metabolism so that you burn calories more efficiently.
Which is best?
You need both! (Of course I was going to say that). My favorite way of looking at this is to equate it to our day-to-day lives of working. You go to work and you make money. You either have a salary or hourly wage and every time you work, that’s what you earn. Let’s call that cardio.
But you also need to develop occasionally in order to make more money. You need to go to school, or take a training course, or earn a certificate. You could just go to work on a daily basis with no education, but most of us need to invest in some type of development to increase our earning potential. We’ll call that strength training.
Most people like to stick with cardio alone, because it makes the money (burns the calories). However, if you don’t build a better foundation for your body (education), there’s a good chance you won’t make as much.
What You Should Do Now?
Your next steps depend on what you’re currently doing. The CDC [xxx] recommends that you get anywhere from 75 – 150 minutes of exercise depending on the level of intensity.
If you’re not exercising at all: Do something. Take your pick of either anaerobic or cardio, or do both.
If you’re already exercising: Add something that is missing. If you tend to go nuts with cardio, add some strength training. If you lift a lot, do some cardio.
For Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercise:
- SweshFit Workouts! The best way to get everything in a short period of time
- Go to a class. Look for something along the lines of Bootcamp, Total Body, or Circuit Training. These typically have a mix of both forms of exercise
- Walk or run outside
- Go to the gym and get on a machine
- Go to the gym and join a class
- Go to the gym and hop on the machines. These are usually the easiest place to start, and the gym typically has the machines laid out in a way that you can jump from one to the next and cover your entire body. Don’t be afraid to ask the staff for help.
- Do the some basic body weight moves: squats, pushups, and planks are my favorites. Do a few rounds of these to get comfortable with the movement
Ok, I’m working out and moving. Now what? How long? Where should I focus?
If you’ve started doing something, you’ll start to understand the types of exercises that work for you and your body. If you want more guidance than that, here are some general rules of thumb:
- Running and jumping rope tend to be the most intense sustainable forms of cardio
- The elliptical, stationary bike, and swimming are more low impact forms of cardio so that your legs and joints don’t take too much of a beating
- There’s some math behind how much exercise you should do to lose weight, but initially that’s not as important as being sure you move consistently
This site is all about fitness so keep coming back for more ideas on different things you can do to mix up your workouts and how to reach your fitness goals.
Move! Aim for at least 75 minutes – that’s 15 minutes if you do it every weekday and about 30 minutes 3 days each week. It doesn’t have to be super intense, but challenge yourself to do what you can!