When you’re new to exercise, it’s hard to know how much you should be doing. The key is to start low and build up gradually.
The experts suggest that significant health benefits can be obtained from the following exercise prescription:
F = Frequency = 5 x weekly
I = Intensity = moderate
T= Time = approx. 30 minutes
T = Type = varied
Any physical activity that leads to an accumulation of 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity will be beneficial.
F – FREQUENCY = working towards building activity into your daily routine on 5 days of the week.
I – INTENSITY = working at a moderate level where you feel mildly breathless, warm but comfortable.
T – TIME = work towards performing your chosen activity for a total of 30 minutes. This can be broken down and accumulated. You may begin with as little as 3-5 minutes each session and build up gradually.
T – TYPE = any activity that fits well into your daily life, eg walking, vigorous housework, cleaning the car, dancing to music at home, structured exercise (gym sessions, classes etc), sporting activities (swimming, tennis, badminton etc).
It is important that you set achievable, realistic goals because, if not, you will find your plan difficult to stick to and you may be tempted to give up. Doing the same workout day after day can also be boring and result in the same muscle groups being used all the time, which could lead to injury.
Too much exercise may also make you susceptible to injuries and illnesses. Signs of exercising too much include:
• Muscle and joint aches and pains
• Lack of energy
You do need to have rest days to give your body time to recover. Try to vary your workouts so that you do strength training one day and cardio the next. Don’t work the same muscle groups two days in a row and vary the intensity of your cardio workouts. If you run frequently then try to swap a run for a walk or a gentle swim.
It is better to take time out from your exercise routine and rest than to give up altogether or injure yourself.