Are You Exercising Enough?
At the gym, it is natural for people to subconsciously observe the workout habits of others. Perhaps you are waiting for the next set or enjoying a nice ride on the stationery bicycle when you casually look around the room. Most likely, you will notice a variety of different people exercising at different intensity levels. The question is which level is right for you and why?
Before you start any workout or exercise program, it is extremely important to understand what you are trying to accomplish. Have a plan that addresses the areas you are focusing on with your fitness training. Then, implement that plan to the very best of your ability, in each and every workout. Without goals, you will just be going through the motions, and any results you see will probably be accidental. If you target the things you would like to achieve from the beginning, the results will be faster and better. By setting goals, you also establish the type of exercising you will be doing, and that is what decides your intensity level. For example, if you are trying to lose weight, it takes a certain training program that is different than that of those who are trying to pack on pounds of solid muscle.
What exactly is "intensity level"? The level of intensity used during a workout simply refers to the pace of the exercising and how much energy is exerted. Typically, moderate intensity is recommended for a long-term active lifestyle. However, many people have conditions that may cause them to exercise at a lower intensity. Age, illnesses, and injuries are all factors to consider when finding your intensity level. Generally, the highest level of intensity is used by athletes. They need to constantly push their bodies to the maximum levels with each workout in order to improve their performance in their respective sport. However, people who are exercising to stay healthy do not need the same high intensity workout. They can burn fat and prevent diseases with a moderate intensity exercise program. Older adults might have a lower intensity workout. The national recommendations from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are at least 2.5 hours of moderate level exercise a week for adults aged 18 to 64. Another option is to perform a vigorous form of exercise for 1.25 hours a week. And up to an hour a day of exercise is recommended for weight loss by the American College of Sports Medicine. Basically, a good rule to follow is to listen to your body and follow its lead. Never continue exercising with pain and always start any new program slowly, building up the intensity gradually.
What is Your Intensity?
Now that you have your goals and intensity, how do you know if you are at the right level? A simple test is to try talking as you exercise. Moderate intensity activities should still allow you to carry a conversation, but not a lengthy or detailed one. Also, while performing at a moderate intensity level, you will find it difficult to sing. In high intensity workouts, talking becomes more difficult, and catching your breath is necessary to say a few words. As a side note, the above example is only an illustration to give you an idea about how to measure the level of intensity in a workout. Talking is usually not something that is done extensively while exercising. In fact, people should focus more on the repetition they are performing and less on conversation. To learn more about the exercises and intensity level that is right for your fitness goals, please consult with a physician and/or personal trainer.