When you want to make fitness a part of your lifestyle, you have to consider that whatever you choose, it needs to be exercise and physical activity that is effective, safe and sustainable. This involves choosing exercise and activities you enjoy, incorporating a variety of workouts, and allowing time for rest and recovery. It’s also important to focus on building healthy habits, including balanced nutrition, stress management techniques, and quality sleep, as these factors can significantly impact your overall fitness success.
It is a common misconception that the harder and more intense a fitness routine is, the better the results will be. While pushing your body to its limits can undoubtedly be a challenging and rewarding experience, it is essential to understand that a hardcore fitness routine does not necessarily mean better results and is not sustainable long term.
A sustainable workout regime can be maintained over the long term, providing ongoing health and fitness benefits without causing burnout, injury, or excessive stress. Sustainable exercise can surf the curve of intensity and challenge, but for the most part, it should be moderate intensity. Moderate-intensity exercise has been proven to be more successful for long-term fitness results.
Key elements of a sustainable workout regime include:
It would be best if you defined your fitness goals so that the plan would suit the desired outcome. For example, if you want to get stronger, you must include strength or resistance training. If you want to improve cardiovascular health, you must include cardio. If you have no goals, you will pinball from workout to workout, which is not sustainable.
If you are new to exercise or have specific fitness goals, consider working with a certified personal trainer or coach who can help you design a safe and effective training program tailored to your needs, goals, lifestyle and history. A customized training plan can make the workout more enjoyable and increase the likelihood of sticking to it over time.
Whether it’s weight lifting, kickboxing, yoga, or dance, finding the exercise we want can influence how sustainable it is. Positive experiences from movement and training are essential for sustainability and consistency. Finding something you enjoy isn’t a chore to complete; it’s something you look forward to.
A sustainable workout regime requires consistent effort and dedication. Regular exercise, even if it’s just a few times a week, is more effective than sporadic, random hardcore workouts. Fitness training that is not sustainable for long-term success includes activities that are too intense, too frequent, or too focused on short-term results. In addition, it is more challenging to be consistent when a workout plan is constantly crushing your soul and body.
To avoid boredom and plateauing, a sustainable fitness program should incorporate progressive challenges, such as increasing the weight, reps, or challenge of exercises and activity over time. Once your body adapts, and the movement doesn’t challenge you, you must progress the training to make it challenging again. If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.
Rest and Recovery
Rest is part of the plan! Adequate rest and recovery are critical to avoid burnout and injury. Incorporating rest days and getting enough sleep and proper nutrition can help the body recover and perform better in the long term.
Ensure that you exercise in a supportive environment that makes you want to return. This can include having a workout buddy or just a class or gym with a positive and fun vibe. You can still be serious about your fitness progress while having fun.
By following these steps, you can create a sustainable training program that is effective, enjoyable, and that will stick long term so you can reap the mental and physical benefits of moving your body.
Shara Vigeant, BA, NSCA-CPT, CFSC