Developing a Well-rounded Fitness Program with 5 essential Elements

Published / by Daniel Jacks

fitness-goal-735x400Everyone, from the most die-hard fitness fanatics to the greenest rookies taking their first steps toward improved physical condition, can benefit from a well-rounded training program for physical fitness. To maximize the efficiency of your time and efforts be sure to include these following five elements to give you a well-balanced routine.   

–    Aerobic Fitness

Commonly called cardio or endurance activity, aerobic exercise is the single most important element of a training program. Aerobic training elevates your breathing rhythm, causing faster deeper breaths that fill your blood with oxygen increasing stamina.

The higher level of aerobic fitness the better jobs your heart and lungs can do distributing life and energy-giving oxygen to all parts of your body. This will make it easier to take up the challenge of unexpected physical demands like sprinting to your car in a downpour, or jogging up 3 flights of stairs if the elevator is out.

There are many ways to get good aerobic exercise, any activity that requires movement of the large muscle groups and accelerates heart rate and breathing is an aerobic activity. Walking, dancing, biking, swimming, jogging and of course water aerobicsóor cleaning the garage, vacuuming the house, snow shoveling, you name it.

For a healthy adult aerobic activity is vital, the Department of Health and Human Services suggests a minimum of 150 minutes of reasonable aerobic activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise. A combination of the two is equally effective. It is also suggested to space your time out evenly throughout the course of the week rather than jam it all into a weekend.

–   Strength training

Another important element to a fitness program focuses on muscle strengthening. A twice a week program of strength training can greatly improve the conditions of your skeletal and muscular condition. While in the thick of a weight loss program, strength training can maintain strong muscle mass while the fatty tissue is burned away.

Going to the gym will provide you with a plethora of devices to target every muscle in the human physique from barbells and resistance machines to free weights and fitness balls. You donít have to pay up for a gym membership to begin a successful program of strength training, however.

Soda bottles filled with sand or water make excellent and inexpensive home-made weights. Resistance bands wonít cost you an arm and a leg for good results. And never forget the power of dynamic tension and the use of your own body weight in exercises like push-ups, crunches, and the leg squats.

–    Core Exercises

The muscle groups pertaining to the abdomen, pelvis, and lower back constitute your core muscle group. These core muscles are responsible for supporting your upper body and coordinating your upper and lower body movements. Core strength is an essential part of a well-rounded exercise program.

Core training gives you a solid center that allows you to balance your upper body better and use your lower body muscles more effectively. What are the core exercises? Anything that focuses on the trunk of the body without support, various abdominal crunches as well as many core exercises are done with a fitness ball.

–    Balance training

It is of vital importance to regularly practice balance training, especially for older adults. The reason this is so important is that balance will eventually begin to deteriorate with age this can result in accidents and injury as bones get more brittle.

But it is never too late to begin essential balance training to improve the condition of the core muscles. Standing still with your body weight balanced on one foot is an excellent balance exercise. Traditional Tai Qi exercise routines can also be very beneficial.

–   Flexibility and stretching

Flexibility is very important to maintaining physical condition but more important to the prevention of sprains, pulled muscles, and other injuries. Some activities like gymnastics and dancing require a more flexibility than others like jogging. Flexibility can be improved by regular stretching exercises, allowing for more strenuous activities and eliminating the tendency for muscles to cramp up or get strained.

Stretching exercises are also great for relieving stress; this makes them even more important to a well-rounded exercise program.

Warm up before you stretch with ten minutes of your favorite low-intensity activity or just a walk around the block in the clean morning air. Then stretch again after you work out when your body is warm and your muscles are more inclined to being stretched.

If you are not in the habit of regularly exercising yet, it may be best to stretch more than 3 times a week to maintain flexibility in the muscles.  Yoga activities are a tremendous way to improve flexibility.

–   Cover all the Bases

Whether you employ the services of a qualified trainer or would rather design a program for yourself it is best that your exercise routine incorporates a piece of all these elements to make you strong as well as flexible and energetic. It is not necessary to try and fit each element into your daily routine however including them regularly will guarantee you a long and happier life with reduced risk of injury and best of all the strength and vitality to enjoy it all.

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