Have you been trying to lose weight with exercise, but just haven’t been able to make it stick? You are not alone. People who exercise at home often struggle with getting their desired weight loss results. The problem - not having a consistent weight loss plan. Just like with any other activity, exercise will only yield results when you make a habit of it. In this article, we tell you how to formulate a weekly activity plan that works for you.
Exercise is a crucial aspect of weight loss and management. When you exercise, your body uses the energy that is stored in your cells and muscles (in the form of glycogen and fat) to fuel your activity.
Exercise also helps boost your metabolism and build muscle, which raises your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and resting energy expenditure. Thus, exercise contributes to weight loss by helping your body burn more calories.
Most doctors and health experts recommend moderate-intensity exercise for about 150 to 300 min., spread out over at least 5 days a week. Optionally, you can choose high-intensity exercises for about 75 to 150 min per week for weight loss.
It is recommended to exercise for at least 5 days every week for sustainable weight loss results. It is also important to have 1 or 2 rest days in your week, where you relax and let your body recover from the exertion caused by exercise.
You can also choose to include a day of “active rest” where you allow your muscles to recover from the exertion of the previous day (usually a day of strength training) while still performing lower-intensity activities like walking, yoga, swimming, etc.
In order to improve your overall health and fitness and to lose weight, experts recommend that you include different types of exercises in your routine, like:
Also known as aerobic exercises, these activities are helpful in improving your stamina and heart health. Cardio exercises are generally moderate-intensity activities, which increase your heart and breathing rates. Your muscles receive a steady stream of oxygen, which is used to produce energy along with the glycogen or fat stored in your body.
These exercises help strengthen your muscles, bones, and joints, while also helping you maintain muscle mass. Strength training involves lifting heavy weights for a short period of time in order to build muscle and improve your strength.
Resistance training involves building muscle and improving endurance by pushing or pulling against something using your own body weight, resistance bands, free weights, or equipment.
Strength and resistance training are both categorised as anaerobic exercise, as they usually involve short bursts of intense activity where your muscles do not receive enough oxygen. Thus, your body uses only the stored glycogen or fat to fuel your workout.
Examples of strength and resistance training include weight lifting, exercises using weight machines, callisthenics (body weight exercises) like jump squats, push-ups, pull-ups or chin-ups, isometrics (exercises that involve contraction of muscles) like planks, plyometrics, etc.
These are exercises that improve your balance and the flexibility of your joints. Flexibility exercises like stretches and lunges are usually done before cardio and strength training exercises to prevent injuries like muscle sprains or tears.
Flexibility exercises are recommended for most adults over the age of 45, in order to prevent balance issues later in life.
To craft a weekly exercise plan, it is essential to first figure out what your fitness goals are, and how much time you are willing to allocate each week for exercise. Then, plan your 5 days of exercise, 2 days of rest, and 1 or 2 days of active rest based on your schedule.
Consistency is key when it comes to weight loss, so plan your weekly exercise routine on days that you have free time. If your goal is weight loss and overall fitness, you can use the following weekly workout plan as an example:
|Day of the Week||Activity|
|Monday||Flexibility + Cardio|
|Tuesday||Flexibility + Strength Training|
|Thursday||Flexibility + Cardio|
|Friday||Flexibility + Cardio|
|Saturday||Flexibility + Strength Training|
You can modify the plan according to your schedule and work in activities that you prefer. You can increase or decrease the days of rest and active rest based on your fitness level and schedule.
Ensure that you have a gap of 48 hours between sessions of strength training to allow your muscles to recover. You can continue to perform low intensity activities like walking or yoga on the days after strength training (days of rest or active rest). You can also choose to include some amount of cardio exercise on days you perform strength training or resistance training.
Apart from exercise, an active lifestyle is crucial for weight management. Walking whenever possible, taking the stairs, and generally spending less time seated can all promote a healthy lifestyle.
Though conventional wisdom recommends getting in 10,000 steps a day, this is in no way a universally applicable benchmark. It is better to set your own goals based on your current activity levels. Increasing your daily movement gradually by 1500 to 2000 steps is a great way to stay active. Try to avoid staying seated for too long; take a 10-min walk every two hours.
When trying to formulate a workout plan, you need to keep the following aspects in mind:
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