When it comes to exercising, are you a weekend warrior? Do you only exercise sporadically, like only during weekends? Going this route is not only harder on your body, but it will take you longer to achieve your fitness goal, (if you ever do).
A consistent routine of cardio, strength and flexibility training, three to four times per week minimum, gradually works up your body’s fitness level. This recurring exercise regimen allows your muscles, tendons and ligaments to gradually strengthen and adjust to the strains of exercising.
Decrease the Risk of Injury
If you only exercise on the weekends, you are increasing your risk of injury. You are exhausting your body for one or two days and then it’s inactive for another five days. Do you notice that you are sore a day or two after you exercise? With a consistent routine your body adapts and the soreness goes away.
Improve Your Mood
A consistent workout routine also improves your mood. When you exercise, your brain releases a hormone called endorphins. The purpose of endorphins is to reduce the discomfort of exercising, but it also has an effect on mood. Known as an exercise high, you are generally happier after exercising and the effect lasts for a few hours. Without a consistent routine, you’ll notice more mood swings.
Achieve Your Fitness Goals
If you are trying to lose weight or build muscle, a sporadic exercise routine will not help you achieve either goal. Exercising two days per week doesn’t burn enough calories to affect weight loss. And as far as building muscle (larger muscles help burn more calories which will also help with weight loss), muscles need to be exercised at least every other day to have any real noticeable increase in size.
Start With a Trial Period
If you don’t yet have a consistent routine, you can create one by giving yourself a “trial period” of exercising four days per week, one hour per day, for thirty days. It takes anywhere from 21 to 30 days to turn an activity into a habit. If you find that you don’t like it after your trial period, you can go back to your old schedule (but most likely you won’t because it’s now a habit).
Exercise at the same time each day. Most people exercise in the morning. However for some, they prefer to do it during their lunch hour or after work either on the way home or after getting home. Experiment and find which time works best for you and then stick to that time.
Practicing a regular exercise regimen will not only revive you physically, but also mentally. With consistency comes a gradual increase in muscle mass, reduced stress and an overall greater feeling of relaxation.