The Best Exercise Routine is made up of several elements. You have to enjoy it, it has to work, and it needs to evolve to meet your changing needs. Making a routine that combines all of these is sometimes difficult. Something you enjoy might not necessarily work too good, and if it works too good, you might not enjoy it.

Fun

The most important element of The Best Exercise Routine is having fun. No matter how effective a workout is, if you hate doing it, you’ll quit before realizing any results. The first step in planning this routine is picking activities that you enjoy doing. You’ll need to pick a wide variety that fit into each of the following categories: aerobic (running, swimming, biking, team sports), resistance (weight lifting, pushups, sit ups, pull ups) and flexibility (stretching, yoga, pilates).

Exercise

Once you have an idea of the types of exercise you want to do, you’ll need to know how often, how much and how hard to exercise. All three areas of exercise (aerobic, resistance, flexibility) have their own recommendations.

Flexibility

Flexibility is an often overlooked area of exercise. It is important as it reduces the risk of injury and can increase the efficiency of your routine. Flexibility training should be done 6-7 days per week. Start off by doing a light 5 minute warm up. It can be walking, riding a bike, or anything that isn’t very intense. Once you’re warmed up, pick one stretch for every major muscle group and hold it for 15-30 seconds. Repeat each stretch 2-4 times.

Cardio

Aerobic or cardiovascular exercise should be done 3-5 times per week and can last anywhere from 20-60 minutes. If you’re working at a lower intensity (walking) consider going for the full 60 minutes while higher intensity activities (running, basketball) can be shorter. You don’t have to complete the entire workout in one sitting. You can do 15 minutes now and 15 minutes later. Studies show that splitting your cardio up will yield the same health benefits as doing it all at once.

Resistance Training

Resistance training should be done 2-3 times per week and shouldn’t last longer than 60 minutes per session. If you’re only doing it 2-3 times per week, you can do a whole body workout in one day. If you’d rather do upper body one day and lower body another, you can go 4 times a week. While you don’t need to be a gym member to do this workout, the gym has the best equipment to help you. You can buy equipment for your home such as benches, dumbbells and elastic ropes, but unless you’re willing to spend a lot of money, you’ll never have anything close to a gym.

Start by picking one exercise per muscle group: chest, upper back, lower back, abs, triceps, biceps, glutes, quads hamstrings and calves. For each exercise do 1-2 sets that consist of of 8-12 repetitions per set. The amount of weight you do should be at a level that when you’re on your last repetition (anywhere between the 8th and 12th rep) you can’t do anymore – the point that you’ve reached muscle failure. If you can do more than 12, increase the weight and if you can’t do at least 8, lower it.

Change

Stick to this routine and you’ll soon find yourself running faster, jumping higher and lifting more weight (although not overnight). Along with this change, your workout needs to evolve and allow you to improve even more. Every four weeks, change the exercises you’re doing. If you’re running, try biking. Switch the machines you use for resistance training and make sure to up the weights as you get stronger.

The Bottom Line

The Best Workout Routine is just one example of an exercise schedule you can follow. Any physical activity that you participate in will be beneficial to your health even if it isn’t structured like the one outlined above. The most important rule to remember is to have fun. If you’re having fun you don’t see it as a chore and you’ll actually look forward to doing it.

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