Workout routines that promise a fit physique with little investment of time and effort are extremely appealing. However, their true payoff is actually much less than what you would hope.
“If a program sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” says Dr. Howard Knuttgen, a research associate in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Boston’s Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. According to Knuttgen, any exercise regimens that promise quick and easy fitness are “exercise quackery,” as they don’t involve enough intensity or duration to be sufficient in maintaining cardiovascular health.
In order to make your workouts most effective, says Knuttgen, you must spend the proper amount of time and energy on your exercise. However, the “right amount” for someone else may not be what’s right for you. This means that you must take into account your own physical abilities as well as your schedule.
To judge whether an aerobic workout is strenuous enough for you, turn to the “talk test”. This means that if you can carry on a conversation while you are exercising, you are at the right pace. Moreover, to make sure you are working out often enough, take a look at the national exercise guidelines. These suggest 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise on most days of the week, as well as strength training on a couple of those days. While it can be difficult, consider working your schedule around this guide: for example, try switching out 30 minutes of daily TV time for 30 minutes of exercise.
Remember: to get the full benefit of your workout, you need to know how hard you’re exercising, and that can be different for everyone. Take into account your own needs in accordance with the national guidelines, and you’ll be on the path to fitness in no time.