When you’re new to exercise, fitness gains come quickly. But once you put on your running shoes or start exercising regularly, you need to work harder to challenge your stronger, more efficient body. You can achieve this by changing the intensity, duration and frequency of your exercises. The trick is to avoid overdoing it to the point of injury or burnout. Make a smart and safe transition with these tips.
Assess your current fitness level
Start by assessing your current situation, as well as your strengths and weaknesses. Here are the questions to ask yourself:
– What you are already doing (exercise mode), including cardio exercises and strength training.
– The intensity of your efforts (intensity)
– how often you do it (frequency)
– the duration of the exercise (duration).
Set new goals: one more step
Then look where you want to be. What specific and realistic goals can you set for yourself to improve your fitness? Maybe you can jog or swim for 45 minutes instead of 30. Or you could add flexibility exercises to your routine. Maybe you want to train for an event such as a 10k or a minitriathlon.
Do more: step by step
The best way to improve your physical condition is to increase the intensity of your exercises. Intensity refers to the effort you put in. The fitter you are, the more you need to exercise to feel energized and get results. By pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, you’ll get the most effective workout possible, which is important, especially if you don’t have a lot of time that day to train. If you train at a lower intensity, you will need to do longer or more frequent sessions to get the same effects on your fitness. To progress, first increase the frequency of your activity (number of days per week). As you get fitter, increase the duration of each workout and finally the intensity.
To increase the intensity of your workout:
1 Move faster
Walk faster or start jogging if you usually walk or jog. The faster you move your body, the more work you will do in a given time.
2 Add a vertical challenge
Run or walk on hills, or increase the incline on a treadmill. Add a step stool for aerobics.
3 Increase resistance
Increase pedaling resistance on a bicycle. For strength training, gradually lift more weight.
4 Cross training
Take part in a variety of activities, some of which are more demanding or more vigorous.
5 Try Interval Training
It involves interspersing short bursts of high-intensity activity (like a 10-second sprint) with intervals of low-to-moderate intensity activity, like walking.
Watch out for injuries: don’t overdo it
If you exercise for several hours a day, every day, you run the risk of an overuse injury or fatigue and exhaustion. And unfortunately you won’t get a lot of extra fitness gains. To avoid overtraining, gradually increase the total time, distance or intensity of your exercises. Alternate hard and easy workouts from day to day, and schedule rest and recovery periods.
Once you’ve reached a new level of fitness, take a moment to congratulate yourself on how far you’ve come!