Updated: Oct 9, 2020
Do you know if you are working out enough to get the results you want?
Is the intensity of your workout where it should be to be considered a workout?
These are kind of trick questions - here's why:
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week to achieve the health benefits, maintain current weight, and/or prevent weight gain. Those who are overweight or obese - it's 250 minutes.
Here are the basic recommendations, by exercise category: [A] Cardiorespiratory Exercise: Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. Exercise recommendations can be met through 30 to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days per week or 20 to 60 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise three days per week. One continuous session and multiple shorter sessions of at least 10 minutes are both acceptable to accumulate the desired amount of daily exercise. [B] Resistance Exercise: Adults should train each major muscle group two or three days each week using a variety of exercises and equipment. Very light or light intensity is best for older individuals or previously sedentary adults just starting to exercise. Two to four sets of each exercise, with anywhere between eight and 20 repetitions, will help adults improve strength and power. [C] Flexibility Exercise: Adults should do flexibility exercises at least two or three days each week to improve range of motion. Each stretch should be held for 10 to 30 seconds, to the point of tightness or slight discomfort. Repeat each stretch two to four times, accumulating 60 seconds per stretch. [D] Neurometer Exercise: Neuromotor exercise, also referred to as "functional fitness training," is recommended two or three days per week. Exercises should involve motor skills (balance, agility, coordination and gait), proprioceptive exercise training, and multifaceted activities (yoga) to improve physical function and prevent falls in older adults. Between 20 and 30 minutes per day is appropriate for neuromotor exercise.
If you have worked with me before in the past or working with me now, you will know that my weekly programming consists of (3) strength days (2) active recovery days and (2) rest days.
So, here's the answer to my trick question . . .
Whether an activity above is considered strength, active recovery or rest depends on your current fitness level. If you are just starting out, yoga could very well be a strength day for you while active recovery means a leisurely walk rewarded by a plop on the couch for rest. If you have been doing this a while - months . . . years - then a workout for you is going to have to be more rigorous than yoga because yoga is now your active recovery with a rest day spent walking for an hour.
But guess what? Plot twist . . .
The more active you are and the healthier you get, the further that threshold moves which means you need to keep moving.
Being active is a combination of [A] + [B] + [C] + [D] throughout the week, not one or the other. I know this might seem like a lot of time spent "working out" but consider this - we are engineered to consume energy (eat) and release energy (move). That is our who premise of our existence. To be mobile, to wander, to explore, to work. The more we sit to scroll on social media, watch TV, or jam on work emails, the more drastic that movement seems to our bodies (why we get injured when we try to do too much at once) and the more imperative it is for us to get moving and keep moving.