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How Much Should I Be Exercising?

We all know that exercise should be a priority in everyone’s life whether they’re trying to lose weight or not. Regular exercise is for everyone from tiny tots to the oldest adults! Adequate exercise improves our lymph system, detoxification, blood sugar balance, cognitive function, our sleep quality, and so much more. As a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, I feel that food is extremely vital to our overall health yet countless nutrition professionals are not talking about the value of exercise. I know, I know……stay in your lane! Ha ha! But seriously, I’m holistic and understand that getting healthy takes more than just eating well. The body wants to heal and regular movement helps it do just that on numerous levels.

How much we should really be exercising is pretty personal. Some people thrive moving daily while others can become too stressed doing a workout routine requiring more effort than what is healthy for them at that time. My recommendation for most people is to fit in 150 minutes of exercise each week which breaks down to five 30 minutes workout sessions weekly.

How do you know if you’re exercising too often for what your body can handle?

1. If you’re overly stressed and know it–and doing high intense workouts, you could actually be doing your body a disservice. While exercise does act as a stress reliever, there is a fine line between doing it too often and going too hard for what your body can handle. It’s wise for you to consider your stress if you’re planning to up your exercise game and even take it down a notch if you know you’re the type to go all in–give it 110%–and die trying–all while trying to carry too much on your plate overall. Know your limits and recognize when it’s time to chill and do something light.

2. If you once had normal menstrual cycles but now they’re iffy. This is an enormous red flag that something is off in your body and needs to be addressed. immediately. This does happen for women if they’re over doing the exercise. It can also happen if there are other imbalances that need addressing. Work with a professional to get to the underlying cause if this resonates with you.

3. If you’re struggling in ways you shouldn’t be. Exercise should be uplifting, energizing, and bring a whole host of other healthy benefits into our lives. If you are going too hard, it could negatively effect your sleep and your heart health. Again this relates to excess stress in the body that’s not getting handled well and can cause some unwanted symptoms like poor sleep quality, heart palpitations, anxious stomach, or tight chest. Watch yourself, exercise should be challenging but sometimes too much is simply too much.

How do you know if you’re not exercising enough?

1. Are you moving for at least 30 minutes 5 days a week? If not and your physically capable, it’s time to step it up. Our ancestors had to move for survival but we have gotten so lazy over time. Everything is at our finger tips now days. We can order food from our phones or computers and have it delivered right to our doors. We have robot vacuums, dishwashers, and vehicles that make our lives extremely easy and cause us to move less. This is why it’s imperative that we make exercise a priority for optimal health.

2. Are you carting around excess weight? If that’s a yes, then you probably need to up your exercise routine to something more challenging and/or do it more often. Again, I love recommending 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week because I feel like that regiment is very reasonable and most of us can comply. If you’re still heavier than you’d like and are keeping up with adequate exercise 5 days per week, stay faithful, and you’ll get there. If it’s not happening fast enough for you, evaluate your foods to make sure they’re nutrient dense and giving your body everything it needs to function at it’s best. If you’re still struggling, hire an NTP to help you.

3. If you’re not sleeping well at night, the lack of movement could very well be the cause. Regular exercise has an enormous impact on your overall sleep quality. It encourages your body to be ready for sleep at bedtime which helps you fall asleep faster as well as sleep deeply at night. The benefit of waking up well rested and not having to pry yourself out of bed each morning is worth every sweaty workout.

4. If you are not sweating during your workout, you need to push harder. Sweat is an amazing way for your body to detox a bunch of junk that we’re exposed to. If you’re not sweating enough, those unwanted chemicals are staying inside where you absolutely do not want them to be.

Does it matter what kinds of exercises you do? Lifting weights or doing body weight exercises are my personal favorites. Nothing can compare to naturally building up those muscle groups. Cardio is a great asset to your workout routine but it can’t do as much for you as weight training like lifting and body weight movements.

For beginners: I highly recommend walking, jogging, yoga, aerobics, lifting (start small), and dancing. Youtube has some wonderful, free & fun beginner workouts.

For long time cardio performers: add in some lifting to get more bang for your buck

For those that struggle to make exercise a lifestyle: please hire someone–an NTP like me, a health coach, a trainer, or join a gym class with friends to help hold you accountable. Your financial investment in a well-trained professional will encourage you to put forth this valuable lifestyle change.

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