As I get older, the more I realize just how important self care is. As a child, I was pretty active. We had a nice size fenced backyard with a swing set. Every chance we could when the weather was nice, me and my older sister would be outside playing, jumping rope, skating, riding our bikes, playing on the monkey bars, swinging and just having fun. Little did I know back then that exercise for self care would become very important as I got older.
Physical activity was always visible to me. My dad worked out at the gym daily after work. He also loved to bowl, and would do so every Saturday night. He was in a bowling league and has quite a few trophies to show for it. When I was around 5 years old, my dad put me and my older sister, who was 8 in a kids’ bowling league. I can barely remember how often we practiced, but I have two trophies that I can brag about. My mom also worked out a lot. We would watch her do Jane Fonda and Billy Banks Tae Bo workouts on her VHS player. I often joined in for the fun of it, not realizing it was healthy as well.
Fast forward, now in my forties. I am thankful that it exposed me to regular exercise so young. It seems the older I get, the more I tend to gain weight. Not only does exercising helps me keep my weight in check, it also enhances my mood and sanity. My efforts to workout have gone from vanity workouts, to hiring a personal trainer to shed some of the unwanted pounds. While consistency helps, I have found that switching up my routine from time to time works best.
How to Exercise for Wellness
When it comes to exercise for wellness, my best advice I can give anyone is to find something you like. If you enjoy what you are doing, then it will not be a chore for you. In the end, it will not even seem like exercise. My workout routine consists of resistance training, yoga, and very little cardio three days a week. I find this mix has been the most effective in me burning fat and seeing results with my clothes fitting better.
My body type builds muscle pretty easily. In addition, it will also gain fat really quickly as well if I become stagnant. With this in mind, I tried so many types of workouts to see which one worked best for me. In the end, I decided on a plant that compromised of resistance training, yoga, and light cardio. Remember, the goal is to find what works for you and focus on healthy body positivity.
Leg Day Resistance Training
My leg day training is ideal to be done at a gym. However, you can easily make this routine work for you at home. I have done so on many days that I did not have the motivation to go to the gym. I typically do legs twice a week. My leg day routine consists of:
- 10 minute warm up on treadmill or row machine
- Back squats – 4 sets/ 8 reps
- Dead lifts – 4 sets/8 reps
- Jump Squats – 20 after each set of dead lifts
- Abductor – 4 sets / 15 reps
- Adductor – 4 sets/ 15 reps
- Lunges – 4 sets/8 reps
- Calf Raises – 4 sets/12 reps
- Dumbbell Thrust – 50 reps
- 15 minute on treadmill at 3.0 for cool down.
- Stretch – Various stretches for 10 minutes.
Upper Body Resistance Training
I normally do my upper body routine once a week. However, if your focus is to improve your arms and back, then you can do this routine twice a week. The upper body plan consists of:
- 10 minute warm up walking on a treadmill or elliptical
- Standard bicep curls – 4 sets/ 15
- Hammer bicep curls – 4 sets/ 15
- Reverse forearm curls – 4 sets/15
- Triceps extension – 4 sets/15
- Triceps pull down – 4 sets/15
- Lat pull down – 4 sets/15
- Back row – 4 sets/15
- Pushups – as many as you can to failure
- 20 minute cool down on the treadmill
Core/ Cardio Workout
This core portion can de done 4 days a week. It is a lightweight and will keep your abs toned without being sore the next day. The goal when doing core workouts is to be sure to engage your core muscles and move slowly in the movement. You will see better results. In addition, the cardio is just 20 minutes of walking on a treadmill. If you are looking to burn more fat, you can extend the cardio time, as well as change to the elliptical to burn more body fat. The core cardio plan consists of:
- Dead bug – 3 sets/ 20
- Bridge with Marches – 3 sets/ 20
- Bird Dog – 3 sets/ 20
- Side Planks – 3 sets/ hold as long as you can
- Plank – 3 sets/ hold as long as you can
- Crunches – 3 sets/ 20
Yoga for Self Care
As we focus on physical activity for self care, I have to include yoga. Yoga has so many benefits for your mind, body, and spirit. With yoga, I normally follow an online streaming service. There are many yoga programs available, and I encourage you to find one that resonates with you. It is important to find a teacher whose energy matches yours and who you will enjoy learning from. The routines I do are normally 30-45 minutes long, and range from hip stretches and deep relaxation flows. These routines are great for days in between weight training as they allow you to rest and stretch. Proper stretching a rest is essential to repair muscles and prevent injury. You will thank yourself after these workouts!
The goal with resistance training is to make it heavy enough, so it is a challenge. If the weight is so light that you breeze through the first set, bump it up. I have seen better results when I lift heavier. In addition, be sure to get proper sleep and get support by joining social groups if needed. I hope sharing my guide has been helpful. Always remember to prioritize self -care.