Scientific research continues to change the way we think about exercise. One of the most exciting pieces of news to come out of the literature of late is new information on exercise timing.
You have probably heard there is a better time of day or preferred days in the week to exercise for best results. The prevailing wisdom is that you should exercise every other day, for at least an hour, three times a week for the best results. You have also heard for the best possible weight loss, specific times of the day for exercise are the best. But are all of these statements important or true? Not really.
Historically, most athletes and body builders have adopted a work one day and rest the next approach to exercise. The basis for this approach is to stimulate the muscles to get stronger or bigger (or both) on one day and let them rest on another.
These athletes usually work very hard and expend large amounts of energy. They also typically need to workout much harder than you are me because of their sport or competition. Their muscles need more rest to accomplish their sport.
On the other hand, you and I need a safe and effective exercise program that will let us age gracefully and allow us to continue participating in the activities we love so much. Too many rules set for when you can and can't (or should) exercise only detracts from getting the activity your body so desperately needs.
Here are my three exercise recommendations that will make it much easier for you to stay active and healthy.
- Work towards getting three hours of balanced exercise per week including body balancing, strengthening, posture correction and walking. Any time increment that adds up to three hours works just fine.
- Exercise when you can even if it is just on the weekends. It is better to clump your exercise if you need to (best to spread it out) than to skip it all together.
- Forget the every other day or best time of the day rule for exercise. Participate when you can and when your body (and mind) most enjoys the activity.
Giving yourself more freedom to exercise opens up the real possibility that you will actually accomplish your fitness goals and not get bogged down in the details.