As a fitness professional it's really easy for me to sit here and say that everyone needs to exercise and then go on to list all of the great benefits of exercise. And honestly, that might be enough for most people. But at the end of the day people really want to know, is exercising really necessary or would I be better off spending my time and energy elsewhere?
Well I guess the answer really depends on what your goals are. If your goals include:
being less productive
feeling more stress
higher levels of mental fatigue
higher risk of health complications
being less alert, attentive to detail, and shorter attention span
Then not exercising would actually benefit you in achieving your goals. Ok, sorry, I let my sarcasm get the best of me there.
In his book "High Performance Habits" writer and world renown business coach Brendon Burchard pulls together twenty years of research and ten years of insights gained from interviews, surveys and professional assessment tools to tell us what habits take people from being simply achievers to elite level high performers.
One of the things he found in his investigation into high performance habits is that high performers are healthier than their peers. He says that in researching over twenty thousand high performers that "the top 5% of all high performers are 40% more likely to exercise at least three times per week than the 95% below them." He also talks about how many people feel like they need to sacrifice their health for success, but they are wrong. "In survey after survey, [they] found high performers to be more energized -- mentally, emotionally, and physically -- than their peers."
Lets get sciency for just a second, I promise this will be quick and painless, haha. Exercise increases production of brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), which causes new neurons to grow in your hippocampus and other areas in the brain. This helps create increased plasticity and the ability to learn faster, remember more, and improve overall brain function. Exercise literally helps you improve your ability to learn. Additionally it helps:
decrease stress (which kills mental performance)
perform general tasks faster and more efficiently
increases attention span
makes you more alert
All of this will help you improve performance.
So, the question isn't whether or not you should be exercising its, "how should you be exercising?" Here is what I recommend:
30-60 minutes of exercise/movement most days (4-7 days)
2-3 days of focused resistance training (30-60 minutes)
2-3 days of moderate-high intensity cardiovascular based training (30-45 minutes)
1-2 days of lower intensity, active recovery based exercise (30-45 minutes)
Let me break that down a little with some examples.
Resistance training basically means, adding resistance to build strength. Building strength is vital to physical health and helps with weight management/weight loss.
Moderate-high intensity cardiovascular training could look like a run, interval workout, bike ride, etc. You want the heart to get pumping at a moderate to high rate in order to help improve cardiovascular function and health.
Lower intensity, active rest, is basically any activity that causes your heart rate to rise above where it would be at rest. A walk, playing with the kids intentionally, yoga/stretching, are all good examples. The goal is to get moving and do it consistently for 30-45 minutes.
If you do not currently exercise regularly then this can look overwhelming. Fear not! Any good/sustainable plan starts with small changes moving you in the right direction with gradual progress over time. If you are currently at 0 days a week it would be unreasonable to jump to 6 days. So, evaluate where you are at and start setting a goal to make small sustainable changes and progress gradually over time.
The top 3 things you need to do right now to have a sustainable exercise routine is:
Set a goal
Have a plan (shooting from the hip has a very low success rate)
Set a schedule and put it on your agenda/calendar
Get yourself a workout buddy or accountability partner
Ok, that was 4, sorry. That last one is a game changer though.
At the risk of making this post longer than anyone wants to read, I'm going to wrap it up. The moral of the story is, if you want to become the best, most successful version of yourself, regular exercise needs to be a priority in your life. Here is what one of my clients said recently:
If you need help understanding where to start or where to go next in your exercise journey we are here to help. We offer fully comprehensive online training programs designed specifically for you. Each program is coached and monitored to make sure you are getting the absolute best results. The best part is, these workouts can be done on your schedule from anywhere (home, gym, hotel, outside, etc).
We like to work with highly motivated individuals who just need guidance (tell me exactly what I need to be doing) and accountability (keep me on track and don't let me slack off).
If that is you, schedule a free 15-minute consultation with Brandon so we can see if our coaching program would be the right fit for you!
To find a time on my schedule that works for you: click here