We all know how essential exercise is for our well-being. It improves everything from cardiovascular health and muscular endurance to mental clarity and physical functionality. A consistent routine is the key to seeing these benefits.
Life is busy, though, and it can be hard to find the motivation and discipline needed to stick to a workout schedule. You want the most bang for your buck when it comes to exercise: that means a workout that’s efficient and well-rounded.
High-Intensity Interval Training (or HIIT) consists of short blasts of cardio intervals with a breather in between. A popular HIIT routine is Tabata Training. A Tabata round is four minutes with eight intervals that involve 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest. Tabata helps burn more fat, increases metabolism, and boosts cardiovascular endurance without any equipment.
If you don’t have the motivation to work out, you can always go for a walk. Walking is the gold standard for physical and mental well-being, especially if you can take your walk outside. It’s safe on your joints and can be done anywhere with no equipment.
The benefits of walking include:
- improved circulation
- increased longevity
- improved sleep
- supported joints
- improved memory
- enhanced respiratory function
- weight loss
- stronger muscles without risk of injury
- a boost of endorphins
All of this goodness is right outside your door! Walking is free, and it exposes you to fresh air, sunshine, and nature. We call that a total win.
Working different muscle groups at the same time improves metabolism and increases muscle tone throughout the body. When you are short on time, patience, or discipline, consider these everyday compound movements:
Lunges: Promote functional, everyday movements and increase strength in the legs and glutes.
Push-ups: Work many different muscle groups, including the core, pectorals, and arms, while increasing overall upper body strength.
Squats: Increase leg, glute, and core strength while burning calories.
Overhead dumbbell presses: Increase upper body strength by working the muscles and joints of the shoulder, upper back, arms, and core.
Planks: Stabilize and strengthen the core and engage most muscles in your body, from the glutes to the arms and shoulders.
We can’t emphasize enough that proper form is essential for each compound exercise. The right technique will ensure you are engaging and working the right muscles.
If these moves get stale and you need a modification to challenge your body, increase your weight load, increase repetitions, and consider adding some cardio between sets. Mountain climbers, high knees, jumping jacks, or jump squats are sure to help you break a sweat.
While stretching might not be the most sweat-inducing exercise, it has such a great return on investment. Stretching:
- improves flexibility
- improves workout performance
- improves functional movement
- reduces the risk of injury
- leads to better posture
- pinpoints imbalances in the body
- helps mitigate daily aches and pains
Stretching is an act of self-care that carves out space to reflect and connect with your body. It doesn’t require anything except yourself—and you can stretch while catching up on a Netflix show.
Remember that – in addition to a consistent exercise regimen – a nutritious diet, meditation, sleep, and staying connected with family and friends will also contribute to a healthier, happier body and state of mind.