What is THE best exercise program?

Before we get too deep into the weeds, we need to accept an unfortunate fact: the majority of the human race is sedentary. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that adults aged 18 or older aim for the following benchmarks every week

  • 75-150 minutes of high-intensity cardiovascular exercise or 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise
  • 2+ days per week of resistance training that targets all major muscle groups & movement patterns
    • Squatting
    • Hinging (deadlifting, kettlebell swings, etc.)
    • Vertical pulling (lat pull-down, pull-ups, etc.)
    • Vertical pressing
    • Horizontal pulling (rowing)
    • Horizontal pressing (bench press, push-ups, etc.)
  • 300+ minutes or more of physical activity such as walking, gardening, playing with children or grandchildren, etc. 

Only about 10% of adults meet or exceed these recommendations, and 80% of adults report not exercising at all weekly.

What does this mean? It means we literally have a lot of work to do, and that we can’t be too picky on what we choose to use for our exercise program, as long as it helps us meet the minimum recommendations. We are big fans of CrossFit here at HealthHQ, as it helps people check the box on all of the above requirements inside a normal week of exercise. However, we understand CrossFit & CrossFit-style exercise such as Orangetheory, F45, Fitbody Boot Camp, etc., are not for everyone for many reasons. So, what do we think is the best exercise program?

  • Intense – As you may have noticed, if you’re willing to push the intensity of your cardiovascular exercise, you don’t need to do as much each week. During cardiovascular exercise, if you can speak full sentences, you are working out at low intensity. If you can speak a few words at a time (“Yeah, no problem”), you are working out near moderate intensity. If you can only speak one or two words or no words, it’s safe to say you’re working out at high intensity. If you hate exercise, intensity is the shortcut to needing to do less of it each week.
  • Challenging – Resistance training should be heavy & hard. If you’re able to do more than 12-15 reps of an exercise, the weight is too light! True strength gains happen at or above 60% of our 1-rep max which correlates to a 6/10 on the Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale. If you feel like you could do more than 4 reps after you finish a set, bump the weight up a bit!
  • Time efficient – In the busy era that we live in, exercise programs that combine strength training & cardiovascular exercise together mean we chip away at the large amount of time we need to be doing cardiovascular exercise as well as provide muscular strengthening. Time spent doing “functional fitness” or “functional training” style workouts in a gym or at home checks multiple boxes in a very time-efficient manner. If you can’t make it to a gym for whatever reason, consider at-home programs like Street Parking to get the job done in the basement or garage in a time & equipment-efficient manner.
  • Enjoyable – Don’t forget that you probably won’t make a habit of something that you hate. If you are truly committed to making regular exercise a habit, don’t be afraid to try different programs to see what works best for you, your schedule, and your goals. 

Looking to begin a regular exercise program or have questions about what it would look like? Let your physical therapist know at your next appointment. Not a patient yet? Give us a call or text at 810-354-5380 or book an appointment at https://healthhq.fit/schedule/