Here at Naples Vitality in Naples, FL, we take the pursuit of fitness very seriously. Improving your fitness level not only helps you prevent diseases and illnesses but also enhances your quality of life by optimizing how you function during day-to-day activities. A proper fitness program combines nutrition, exercise, and other lifestyle choices that support health and longevity.
However, not all fitness regimes are created equal. So how do you know if a particular program is going to be effective? The answer is not simple, as we believe several factors should be a part of every fitness plan.
What Should a Fitness Program Include?
Cardio, otherwise known as cardiovascular exercise, is a vital part of any fitness program for two reasons. First, it strengthens your heart, which is the body’s most important muscle. In fact, cardio is known to cut the risk of heart disease by 21-29%. It also improves circulation, decreases blood pressure, and mitigates the risk of heart rhythm problems like atrial fibrillation. Second, cardio is king when it comes to burning calories, making it easier to burn fat and lose weight.
Some examples of cardio include running on a treadmill, jogging outside with your dog, jumping rope, swimming, dancing with friends, or any activity that gets your heart rate up for an extended period of time. There are countless other cardio exercises that benefit your heart, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of cardio to find the form you enjoy most.
You should aim for at least half an hour of moderate-intensity cardio five days a week. Alternately, you could participate in high-intensity cardio for 25 minutes, three days a week.
Building muscle mass through strength training is another vital part of any fitness program. Strength training increases your resting metabolic rate, helping you burn calories even when you’re at rest. It also supports long-term weight loss efforts by increasing lean body mass and decreasing fat mass. Additionally, strength training promotes healthy bones and joints by increasing bone density and strength.
This is important for everyone but especially crucial as we age for supporting our bodies and preventing injuries. There are lots of ways to strengthen your muscles, including using free weights like dumbbells and barbells. Some examples of strength training include doing bicep curls with a dumbbell, or leg presses on a weight machine. You can also do strength training exercises using only your own body weight for resistance, such as squats, planks, and pushups.
Two-to-three days of strength training per week is ideal. While many experts recommend doing body splits to target specific muscle groups on certain days, full-body workouts are just as effective, especially if you can only do a couple of sessions per week. You can maximize your strength training workouts by targeting multiple muscle groups at the same time with compound exercises. For example, a squat with shoulder press is an example of a compound exercise.
Doing mobility work is another crucial component of any fitness plan. Mobility exercises are designed to improve the range of motion in your joints in order to reduce pain and increase daily function throughout the whole body. It’s important to address any mobility issues as it can lead to poor posture, improper form during exercise, and muscle fatigue that eventually leads to injury.
It’s not just preventing injury during exercise, either. A lack of mobility is often responsible for a host of problems that occur over time from hunching over at a desk or sitting for long periods of time. That’s why everyone should practice mobility exercises, no matter how old or young.
The best part about including mobility training into your day-to-day activities is that it can be done anywhere. Some examples of mobility exercises are hip circles, shoulder circles, and cat-cows. These are often easily incorporated into your daily routine as you can do them while you’re watching TV.
Flexibility and Balance Exercises
Flexibility exercises are designed to stretch our muscles increases blood flow and circulation throughout the body while improving balance and coordination. These types of activities are often overlooked but are crucial to preventing injuries, protecting the joints, and helping prevent falls – which becomes even more important as you age.
There are a variety of exercises that are great for improving flexibility and balance. Yoga is perhaps the most popular form of flexibility training as it can also help with stress and mental well-being. Poses like tree pose and half-moon pose are also really great for building better balance. Other types of flexibility and stability exercises include Pilates, Thai Chi, and foam rolling.
One benefit of this exercise is that you don’t need much equipment beyond a yoga or exercise mat. This means it’s easy to incorporate into your daily routine as you can do the exercises from home.
Realistic Nutrition Goals
Proper nutrition is crucial for anyone looking to lose weight or improve their health. Nutrition goals often involve cutting down on empty calories, such as fried foods and refined carbohydrates, while increasing the intake of vegetables and fruits. In addition, eating a diet rich in whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats will help stabilize your energy levels while increasing satiety between meals.
The key to a successful diet program is ensuring it is realistic for your lifestyle. For example, there’s no point in planning to eat salad for lunch every day if you don’t enjoy salads and know you won’t eat them. Instead, it’s better to set gradual nutrition goals by making minor tweaks to your diet every couple of weeks.
For example, you could decide to cut out soda one week, and once you’re used to that, you could work on adding more vegetables to each meal. Once you meet these smaller goals, it will be much easier to achieve the larger ones. But to set reasonable nutrition goals, you’ll need to get an idea of how much you need to eat every day and learn the best balance of nutrients for your health.
Progress tracking is especially important for beginners as it can be tough to know if you’re on the right track without measurements and data. Tracking your weight may be the first thing that comes to mind, but this is only one of many metrics you can use to gauge your progress. For example, tracking changes in body fat percentage, daily calorie burn, the number of steps climbed or walked, or the number of reps completed per exercise are all ways to measure how well a fitness plan is working.
This is crucial to the success of your fitness journey because, without a way to track your progress, you may not be able to tell if your efforts are working or not. If they aren’t working – or if your progress stalls – we can reassess and course correct your fitness plan.
A Customized Approach
It’s vital to remember that just because one program worked for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you. What works for one person may not suit your specific needs or preferences. For example, one person might do well with high-intensity interval training while another might need to stick with longer, lower-intensity workouts.
That’s why it’s important to work with a professional who can listen to your goals and develop a program that is designed specifically for you. For example, we make sure the exercises you are doing are correct and safe and offer an appropriate level of challenge. In addition, we take into account fitness levels, current abilities, past injuries, safety concerns, and health history so that we can design a customized fitness regime for you.
This way, you will end up with a fitness program that helps you strengthen specific weaknesses you may have and achieve the best possible results. But, more importantly, it’s a program that will be manageable and realistic, so you can actually stick to it!
Find the Perfect Fitness Plan for You
An excellent fitness plan not only helps you maintain a healthy weight but also boosts your energy levels and improves your overall daily life. Once you have a customized fitness program that incorporates strength training, cardiovascular workouts, flexibility training, and realistic nutrition goals, you really feel the difference.
Are you ready to make some healthy changes but need some help? Visit us at Vitality Naples in Naples, FL today, and you can schedule a consultation to find out how our fitness plans can help you live a healthier, happier life!