Adopt Standards For Your Weekly Exercise
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services publishes "Physical Activity Guidelines" for adults. In 2008, those guidelines called for moderate-intensity aerobic exercise at least 150 minutes a week, vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise at least 75 minutes a week, and strength-training at least twice a week.
This May, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine reported that those adults who had followed the 2008 HHS guildelines for exercise reduced their risk of mortality... healthy adults by 27%, and those with an ailment by 50%. I don't know that I generally believe in the government's prescriptions for health, but I do think adopting regular exercise standards - and keeping them - does help maintain your vitality.
My exercise routine, adapted from Bill Phillips' stellar "Body For Life" suggestions, comes pretty close to those HHS standards, and has the added virtue of being do-able even when your job requires a heavy schedule of work and a lot of travel. I own a business, and I do need to spend a fair amount of time on the road, so that's an important factor for me (and for many of my business-running clients).
Three days a week, I do interval training on a treadmill. Not sexy, not glamorous, but you can find a treadmill (or exercise bike, or elliptical machine) at virtually every mid-size (or larger) hotel. My interval workouts definitely qualify as vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, and though I'm only running hot for about twenty minutes each time, my pulse readings tell me I'm getting a great weekly dose of highly-intense cardio work.
Three other days a week (alternating with the interval workouts), I lift weights. That's one more strength workout than the HHS standards call for. I can usually find the equipment I need when I'm on the road... and when I can't, I travel with resistance bands that give me a decent substitute workout and are light and compact in my luggage. Each workout only lasts 40-45 minutes, but because I've learned how to maximize the efficiency of the workout, I'm okay with the fact that I only get about 120-130 minutes of the sort of moderate-intensity aerobic activity that comes along with strength training. Add in the walking and other "hidden" exercise I do every week, and it's plenty.
The goal is to be as strong as possible for as long as possible. Think about how you can create a weekly exercise regimen to which you can stick with some discipline. And remember, Exercise is only one of the five key daily health habits I call "The NEWSS," along with Nutrition (favor fresh foods), Water (get two liters a day), Sleep (get eight hours a night), and Supplements (take at least one good supplement to give your body what the modern diet doesn't).
To your success... and to the personal vitality upon which that success depends!
by Michael D. Hume, M.S.
Health Habits: Keep Score On Your Fitness