The exercise component: taking the next step toward better health
By: Mark K. Jordan
It’s that time of year when being outdoors is most common. Warmer weather brings with it many more outdoor activities. Whether you are working with a personal trainer, working out at a gym, pursuing an enjoyable outdoor activity or following an exercise program online, the ability to break it down into increments can be most helpful toward establishing consistent health and wellness habits.
I say this because my 40-plus years of experience has shown me that whether you’re exercising on your own or with a group, with a certified expert or guided by online recommendations, the desired goal can be more readily achieved when you do two things:
1. Consider the exercise plan as one part of the overall wellness approach.
2. Approach the plan in steps.
In the previous article, we mentioned exercise as one part of the overall wellness approach. We said that the wellness approach makes one more likely to reach goals related to well-being. In this article, we will focus on the exercise portion – step by step.
No matter your source for an exercise or activity plan, it is usually designed to be integrated into your given week or seven-day timeframe. Examples include walking three to four times a week, or going to the gym and training upper body on Monday, legs on Tuesday and cardio on Wednesday, then repeating that routine on Thursday Friday and Saturday. It might be playing ball with the kids on Tuesday and Thursday, doing yard work on Saturday and going to the beach to swim on Sunday.
There are a variety of routines that people undertake as the weather gets warmer. Many seem to be centered on what you do within a given week. Having an exercise routine or activity plan within a seven-day timeframe allows you to look at each week as a step you can take toward better health. Some group these timeframes into two-, four- or six-week cycles for their clients. I’m referring to a cycle as a period of time during which the routines or activities remain consistent without much change. I have had the best results with three-week cycles (i.e. repeating a one week routine three times while lasting three weeks).
This is relative to what I mentioned in the previous article when I said, “We can do anything if it’s only going to last three weeks.” This is why it works: When you start your exercise routine in that first week, your body is adjusting to the new activities. When you’re in the second week, it’s easier than the first because your body is familiar with the routine. The third week serves as a mini celebration toward completing your first cycle: Your body is familiar with it; you’ve already done it twice (during the first two weeks), so you know you can complete this third week.
Depending upon the results, you might change things a little to enhance your results, or you might just say, “I got these results after one three-week cycle. I wonder what the next cycle will provide – and the next cycle after that?”
This approach allows you to look at the results after each cycle and decide what changes can be made to maintain or improve your results. You start to say things like, “I can repeat that cycle for another three weeks because I know how it feels and I know the results it gives me.” You start looking at the overall exercise/activity plan as a series of cycles or steps that provide results. It is no longer an endless experience of day-to-day activities with no change in sight. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel every three weeks!
Since the exercise routine is only one part of the overall wellness approach, we will cover other parts that are important for you to reach your wellness potential and experience optimal well-being. This will be done in my next series of articles. In the meantime, have fun and congratulate yourself on your achievements each step of the way. Make your three weeks interesting!
Mark Jordan was recently certified as the Guinness World Record Title Holder for most pull-ups within 24 hours (competing against 4,321 people at age 54). He also appeared on Dr. Oz in recognition of his wellness accomplishments. For more information about wellness consultations, coaching services or speaking engagements, contact Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.markkjordan.com.