How to create a well-rounded fitness routine
By Kayla Hartson
Student Fitness Program Coordinator
May people who are new to exercise may feel overwhelmed at the beginning because they don’t know where to start. There is so much fitness information on the internet that it can be difficult to figure out what is accurate and what is not.
Below are the current American College of Sports Medicine exercise recommendations that specify what type and how much exercise to engage in each week.
ACSM weekly exercise recommendations
- Cardio: The recommendation is 3-5 days per week of a combination of moderate and vigorous intensity cardiorespiratory exercise equaling at least 150 minutes per week (30 minutes per day).
- Resistance: ACSM recommends training each major muscle group 2-3 days per week with at least 48 hours of rest between training sessions for the same muscle group. For general muscular fitness, it is recommended to train each muscle group for a total of 2-4 sets with 8-12 repetitions per set.
- Flexibility: A healthy individual should engage in at least 2-3 days per week of flexibility exercises. Stretching daily would deliver the best results. In order to get the most benefit from a stretching exercise, ACSM recommends stretching a muscle to the point of tightness and holding it for 10-30 seconds, repeating 2-4 times. A person will see significant flexibility improvements after 3-4 weeks of consistently following these guidelines.
- Neuromotor exercise: Neuromotor exercises can help improve skills such as balance, coordination, gait and agility. It also can be referred to as functional fitness training. It is recommended to engage in neuromotor training at least 2-3 days per week for about 20-30 minutes each day. A great example of neuromotor training is yoga.
- Reduce sedentary behavior: Reducing your daily amount of sitting time is also extremely important for health and fitness. Even for people who exercise regularly, long amounts of sedentary time have been linked to health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Standing up for a couple of minutes each hour or participating in 10-minute exercise breaks are great ways to reduce sedentary behavior and improve health.
By using these weekly guidelines, you can create a well-balanced plan to exercise that fits your schedule each week. As always, some exercise is always better than none. It is OK to start small and add on as you improve.
The Cardio versus Weights table shows the health benefits of cardiorespiratory and resistance exercise.