Both the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association—and most recently the World Health Organization (WHO)—have recommended getting between 150 and 300 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity per week for proper fitness.
This is not a casual suggestion. Americans have become more sedentary in their lives than ever before. Getting your weekly 150 minutes of aerobic activity is not only a recommendation for proper health—it’s essential.
Yes, essential, for combating the development of common ailments like hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes. Weekly active fitness comes with the added benefit of boosting brain function, improving your mood, and increasing your overall energy. So let’s become anti-sedentary and get moving!
How do I start?
But how can you get to that weekly 150+ minutes? The secret? It’s not as challenging as you might think.
Chances are if active fitness is not currently part of your weekly routine, you at least know the important role aerobic activity can play in a healthy, balanced life. But, as is often the case for some, we don’t know how to begin. We don’t know how to get that exercise needle off the zero and into the driving lane.
If you don’t currently exercise on a weekly basis—or if you used to and have fallen out of the habit—below is a guide and some simple tips to help you smoothly incorporate activity into your weekly schedule. And if you add workouts that focus on balance and coordination, as well as resistance training, this can improve strength, stability, and prevent potentially harmful falls.
With a little scheduling effort and maybe some psychological motivation, you can get from Zero to 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week and crush your weekly fitness essential!
Finding Your Drive
If you’re reading this article it means you already have an interest in getting the exercise you need to get and stay fit. So what are the reasons behind that interest?
Is it better health? To lose weight? To prove your worth? To look and feel better about yourself? Maybe you have a specific goal to run a marathon, or a 5K, or just one mile. Maybe you’re tired of feeling fatigued all the time and you want to feel more limber and energetic.
There’s something within you that makes you want to move more than you currently are—so what is your personal drive?
Making it real
Whatever the motivation is—make it clear. Write it down. Say it out loud. Find a way to make it real. You’re more apt to commit to a change in your life if you bring it outside yourself rather than keeping it in your head as a lonely fleeting thought.
Try this: Find a picture in a magazine or on the internet that represents to you what your motivation is. Maybe it’s a picture of some healthy body. Maybe it’s a picture of a pair of pants you’re finally going to fit into. Or maybe it’s just a motivational phrase like “Your Health is Waiting.”
Cut out the image or phase from the magazine (or print out the image if found online) and put it up on a wall in your home, at work, or somewhere you’re going to see it all the time. Let it be a constant reminder of what you’re working toward and what you want to accomplish.
Sometimes, we can’t find the drive to exercise because the task seems so daunting. Results we want can seem so distant and impossible to achieve we hold back because we don’t want to fail. If this is the case try to focus on the process not on the product and remember: you don’t have to be perfect.
Back when running was my main source of exercise, I had a mantra I would repeat in my head to get me to go: “I don’t have to go far. I don’t have to go fast. I just have to GO.” And that was enough to get me out of the house and running. Once I got out there, I was fine. Because I gave myself permission not to be perfect. I gave myself permission to fail. Maybe a simple mantra like this will work for you too.
COMING UP IN PART 2: Starting Slow and The 4300 Minute Weekly Decision
MATTHEW KONKEL is a NASM certified personal trainer who likes to crush his weekly fitness essential with running and resistance training. He’d like to help you do the same!
Contact him at Invivo Wellness to schedule a fitness assessment or book personal training.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of INVIVO Wellness.