Components of a Fitness Program

If you are new to exercise or haven’t exercised in some time, you may not be familiar with the most basic components you need for a fitness program. Even if you exercise regularly, it could be helpful to have a reminder of what your workout should incorporate.

An effective fitness program incorporates several basic components, including various types of exercise, a reached level of intensity, a regular amount of frequency and duration, a structure that is safe and variation.  These are explained more in detail below:

  1. Exercise: Well rounded fitness regimens should incorporate all of the following types of exercise:
    • Aerobic or cardiovascular training: Primarily strengthens your cardiovascular system (your heart and the blood vessels – arteries, capillaries and veins) and your respiratory system (your lungs).
    • Core Training: Primarily strengthens your abdominal muscles and lower back, a.k.a. ‘Your Power House’.
    • Flexibility Training: Primarily gives flexibility to your musculoskeletal system (the muscles, the bones and cartilage). This helps to reduce risk of injury, prevents stiffness and allows you to move freely.
    • Strength Training:Strengthens your musculoskeletal system.
  2. Level of Intensity:  It is important that you are working hard enough during exercise. Intensity refers to the degree of difficulty of an activity and how much strength and energy you need to use in order to perform it. This will vary depending on the type of training you are doing, but in general, you should feel challenged, but not so much so that it is difficult to perform activities.
  3. Frequency and Duration: At a bear minimum, you should aim to exercise 30 minutes at a moderate intensity, three times a week. It is important to exercise a minimum number of times a week and to spend an appropriate length of time each time you exercise to ensure you gain associated health benefits.
  4. Variety: In order to see continuous results from a fitness regimen and to help prevent boredom, it is important to vary the way you exercise and the types of exercise that you do. Try to switch up your activities as much as possible. Instead of running on the treadmill every day, try to also play tennis, use the elliptical trainer, go for a hike or build in other types of activities. You should also do this for core, flexibility and strength training as well.

If your workout program is missing any of these components, you might not be as effective as you’d like in reaching your goals.

Does your workout program include all of these components? What might it be missing?

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