Studies have shown that lung function, body rhythms, body temperature and hormone levels are at optimum levels for exercise at 6PM. Your optimal time may vary depending on whether you are a day or night person.
More important than when you exercise is the amount of time you spend exercising. This will vary depending on your level of physical fitness. The best exercise program if you are not in shape is 30 minutes a day, three times a week. It works because your body is not used to the strain of working out and nearly anything you do will be an improvement. As your fitness level improves, however, you will reach a weight plateau and the gains will stop. You will have to work harder to see additional benefits from exercising.
Optimum Time for Exercising?
Studies done at the Baylor University Exercise and Sports Nutrition Laboratory showed that 30-minute workouts raised the heart rate of women and men to about 65 percent of their maximum. Thirty minutes was enough time to improve cardiovascular fitness. The short duration was an encouragement for people to exercise several times weekly. Depending on individual fitness levels and the intensity of the exercise, 30-minute workouts burn from 164 to 522 calories. Sedentary and overweight women who followed the workout program for 14 weeks raised their resting metabolic rate and lost an average of 14 pounds. In effect, they lost two inches from their hips and three inches from their waists. At the same time, they showed a 20 to 30-percent improvement in strength and a 15-percent increase in aerobic capacity.
30 Minute Workout
A 30-minute workout should include 20 minutes of resistance training and 10 minutes of cardiovascular training three times a week. During the first 20 minutes, you will want to exercise three areas of the body :
- The Lower Body includes the quadriceps (front upper leg muscles), hamstrings (back upper leg muscles), gluteals (hip muscles), hip flexors (muscles that attach to the pelvis and the femurs), and calf muscles. Exercises can be done with or without machines. These include squats, lunges, leg extensions and curls, and hip abductions and adductions. The Upper-Body includes the chest, back, shoulders and arms. Exercises involve repetitions and weights. They include bench presses, push-ups, overhead presses, curls, kickbacks and dips.
- The Abdomen or Core includes the muscles in the pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen. Core exercises do not involve specialized equipment. They include squats, push-ups and abdominal crunches.
- The final third of your exercise program should include cardiovascular training. This includes exercises designed to improve the flow of oxygen and blood to the muscles. You want to exercise to increase your heart rate from 60% (low intensity) to 80% (high intensity) of its maximum. To find this number, subtract your age from 220. A 40 year old person would have a maximum heart rate of 180. This person would want to get their heart rate up from 108 (low intensity) to 144 (high intensity) to get the most from their cardiovascular training. This is what we call the target heart rate for training. Good examples of low intensity exercises are walking, cycling and jogging. High intensity exercises include running, sprinting and treadmill. Aerobic exercises can vary in intensity and can include dancing and water exercises.
Tips and Recommendations
Before you begin any exercise program, you should consult with your physician to make sure you are healthy enough to exercise. Your doctor may suggest a different exercise program if you need to strengthen a specific muscle group after surgery. A low impact water exercise program may be recommended to regain strength in weak muscles or diseased joints.
You should also work with a trainer or instructor to determine the best exercise routine for you. He/she will guide you through workout suited to your level of fitness. Your trainer will also let you know when you are capable of exercising more intensely to get more out of your exercise program.
It is important to begin at a low level and gradually raise the intensity. Set obtainable goals for yourself so that you don’t become discouraged.