It’s common knowledge that getting regular exercise offers tremendous health benefits. We are well aware that exercise increases strength and stamina while reducing the risk of many types of illness. But physical activity also benefits mental health, which is especially relevant to those in recovery.
So if you’re ready to get in shape, but just aren’t sure where to begin, this handy guide can help. Keep reading to learn how to set your fitness goals, and then create an exercise program to help you achieve them.
Benefits of a workout routine
Learning about the benefits of a regular workout routine can be extremely motivating. You will find that there is really no downside to exercise. Getting in shape can be exhilarating and life changing, especially when you start realizing the many benefits, which include:
- Weight loss: It’s a numbers game. The more exercise you engage in, the more calories you burn.
- More energy: When you engage in aerobic activity a minimum of three times per week for 30-60 minutes a session, it leads to an increase in heart and lung function, improving energy and stamina.
- Increased strength: If your workout routine includes any degree of weight training, you will soon enjoy the benefits of better muscle tone and physical strength.
- Reduced stress: Exercise increases production of the stress-reducing neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine. These are nature’s stress busters.
- Better sleep: The elevation of heart and respiratory rates during physical activity improves sleep Exercise helps you fall asleep more easily and soundly.
- Improved mood: Exercise releases endorphins, the “feel good” chemical, and also stimulates dopamine production. Both of these have a positive impact on your mood.
Daily workout routine
With all the health benefits to inspire you, now it’s time to build your own workout routine. Follow these steps:
- Define your goals: Create a list of fitness objectives. By putting these in writing, you commit yourself to the goals and hold yourself accountable to them. The goals you identify can also help you decide which activities to try. For example, if you desire greater stamina, you would create a more cardio-based program. If muscle mass and tone is important to you, incorporate weight training. For improved flexibility, focus on yoga and Pilates training. Be sure to set reasonable goals and expectations for your age and health status, and check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.
- Plan a workout schedule: A fitness regimen works best when the activities are scheduled into your calendar, just like any other important daily task. Scheduling your workouts helps exercise become part of your regular routine. When planning your workouts, allow for a day off between weight lifting sessions to let muscles rest. Cardio sessions, however, such as brisk walks, running, cycling, or swimming, don’t always require days off unless strenuous.
- Create benchmarks: When you set your goals, also create some benchmarks. For example, you may set a benchmark for losing 10 pounds in five weeks, or to add a half-mile to your run each week. Benchmarks help you stay on track toward reaching your goals.
- Get equipped: The equipment needed for your workout routine will vary considerably based on your desired goals and activities. For example, if you’re starting a daily 30-minute walking regimen, you may just need a good pair of walking shoes and a jacket for brisk weather. However, if you are taking up cycling, you would need to shop for the appropriate bike (mountain or street), cycling shoes and helmet. Identify the equipment needed and gather it up.
Once you have created your fully customized workout routine, it’s time to get moving. Before you know it, you will be enjoying the many benefits of getting regular exercise.
Ashley Addiction Treatment, formerly Father Martin’s Ashley, is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in integrated, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders. Our programs are accredited by The Joint Commission, and result in frequent publications of ongoing research into effective treatment methodologies. We offer holistic care that encompasses the mind, body and spirit through inpatient and outpatient treatment, provide drug detox, relapse prevention plans, family wellness programs and a variety of other services tailored to each patient’s unique needs. Our driving principle — “everything for recovery” — reinforces our mission to transform and save lives through the science of medicine, the art of therapy and the compassion of spirituality, and is complemented by our philosophy of healing with respect and dignity. For information about our comprehensive programs, please call (866) 313-6307.