February is Heart Health Month. The American Heart Association recommends we exercise regularly:
At least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week for a total of 150 minutes.
At least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days per week for a total of 75 minutes; or a combination of the two.
Moderate to high intensity muscle-strengthening activity at least 2 or more days per week for additional health benefits.
A recent study by the CDC showed that the average American is not getting enough exercise. The survey revealed that only 20.6 percent of people met the total recommended amounts of exercise.
How does your weekly workout regimen stack up to the rest of the country?
- 20.6% – Met the total recommended amount of exercise.
- 49.6% – Exercise for at least 30 minutes three days per week.
- 18.5% – Exercise one or two days per week.
- 31.3% – Haven’t exercised within the last week.
Of those individuals who exercise:
- 52% of surveyed adults met the AHA aerobic activity guidelines.
- 29% of surveyed adults met the AHA muscle-strengthening guidelines.
- 13.5% of obese individuals exercise.
- 22% of overweight individuals exercise.
- 26% of underweight or normal weight persons exercise.
Everyone has bad habits when it comes to exercise, but you really need to ditch these three workout mistakes to make the most of your time.
Sports Drinks & Shakes – Sports drinks may give you a boost, but they’re full of sugar and calories. Especially if you’re trying to lose those extra pounds, stay away from the high-calorie drinks and stick with water. If you are feeling tired during your workout, try eating a small snack about an hour before you exercise. As for protein shakes after a workout – again, watch the calories and sugar. If you’re exercising to slim down or lose weight, a high-calorie protein shake may not be the best way to go. Protein is vital after a workout to repair muscles and gain strength, just make sure you’re not drinking more calories than you just burned. Read the labels on your sports drinks and shakes – you may be surprised at just how many calories you’re drinking.
Routine – When you do the same workout repeatedly, your body becomes used to it and the exercises become easier and less effective. Working out should be difficult, so try to vary your routine as much as possible. If you’re on a treadmill for example, try a high incline at a slower speed the first day, and a lower incline but faster speed the second day. If you incorporate strength training into your workouts, maybe try changing the exercises you do for each muscle group. The more variation you add to your routines, the more effective your workouts will be.
Cardio Exercise – Aerobic exercise is good for your body. It is an effective way to burn calories and increase your heart health. However, if you don’t balance those workouts with some strength exercises, you’re missing a key component of health and fitness. Strength training is the only way to increase lean muscle mass and lose stubborn bulges. It helps prevent injury and increases metabolism – even while you’re at rest. Substitute a couple of strength sessions for cardio days, hitting all your body’s major muscle groups.