You already know that exercise is important: It makes you healthier, makes you feel great and can help you look better, too. However, it can easily slip by the wayside because of other things going on in your busy life. If you can exercise just 30 to 60 minutes per day, five days per week, you will notice a big difference in your fitness.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that all adults get at least 2 1/2 hours of moderately intense cardiovascular exercise each week. Split up over five days, this means that you should do some type of aerobic exercise for thirty minutes per day. You can split this up into three, ten-minute sessions during the day if you want to. Some moderate level exercises that you might consider include walking, water aerobics and playing doubles tennis. One way to work this into a five-day exercise plan would be to walk for a half hour, three days per week, and play doubles tennis the other two days, for example.
Rev Up the Intensity
Don't have time to devote a half hour per day to your cardio workout? No problem! Instead, engage in a vigorously intense activity instead for half the amount of time, suggests the CDC. Working up a sweat by running, swimming laps or playing a game of basketball means that you only have to put in a minimum of 15 minutes on your workout days to get the same heart-healthy effects. If you would prefer to work out at this higher level, switch your plan so that you are running for 15 minutes per day, three times per week, and playing singles tennis for the other two days, for example. Of course, you could also choose one or two days per week to work out at a lower intensity, but you will need to double the time that you spend exercising on those days to help you meet your recommended weekly goal.
Twice per week, you should do muscle-strengthening exercises for your major muscle groups. To exercise your abs, try various crunches designed to work different muscles of the abdomen. Some of these include oblique crunches, double crunches and V-ups. You can add a medicine ball to your routine, which will help you to strengthen those muscles even more quickly and effectively. Be sure to rest your muscles at least one day in between abdominal workouts. Either skip muscle training entirely on your off days or perform a workout designed to target other areas, such as your legs, arms or back.
Warnings and Considerations
Always check with your doctor before beginning any type of exercise program. Your physician will be able to advise you as to whether your chosen program is appropriate for your specific circumstances. Cross-training is a great way to stay interested in your workout and reduce the chances that you'll injure yourself. Instead of sticking to the same exercises throughout the week, try to mix it up: Roller blade one day and jog the next; swim once per week and meet friends for a game of volleyball, for example.
Michelle Kulas worked in the health-care field for 10 years, serving as a certified nurses' assistant, dental assistant and dental insurance billing coordinator. Her areas of expertise include health and dental topics, parenting, nutrition, homeschooling and travel.