How Often Should You Exercise?

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, healthy adults should try to get in at least 150 minutes of exercise per week. The chart above lists how often and what type of exercise should take place. Inactivity offers no health benefits, and can be unhealthy. Activity below 150 minutes per week will offer some health benefits, while shooting for 150-300 minutes per week offer the most benefits. If you go over 300 minutes per week, although giving you additional health benefits, there haven’t been any studies to prove that there are any substantial benefits to over-doing it.

When instructing a class, Group Fitness Instructors (GFI) have a choice on how they’d like to lead their participants. Will they lead a teacher-centered class, or student-centered?

In a teacher-centered class, the instructor will focus more on their own views vs. those of the class. They will incorporate dependence among the participants, as well as intimidation. “If you can’t do 20 more sit ups, you don’t belong in this class!” Goals are unattainable, and quick fixes are the main focus.

In a student-centered class, independence is fostered. Encouragement is a must, and attainable goals are the focus. Student-centered classes work within reality, letting the participants know that working hard will help them to reach their goal, but the goal won’t be reached overnight.

During a fitness class, you’ll notice the start of the session involves a warm- up portion to it. Warm-ups help to prepare the body for the rest of the class. Dynamic movement is a must, and rehearsal movements are a key factor in helping the participants to better follow the routine. All the major muscle groups are tended to, and verbal directions are clear. The volume and tempo of the music are appropriate for a warm-up.

To stretch or not to stretch? That is the question, and it’s one that has been debated over with no clear answer. During a warm up, when stretches are held for brief periods of time it can help in adding flexibility, but only when done repeatedly. Since it’s hard to put repeated stretches in during a warm-up and have time for the other portions required (dynamic movement, rehearsal moves) dynamic stretches seem a better fit. Really, stretching is in the eye of the beholder, and if you feel better stretching during a warm-up, you should go with it.

After the warm-up comes the cardio section. This part of the class promotes independence, gradually increases the intensity, you can give modifications to those who need it, build sequences progressively, put in work outs the target various muscle groups, and music is thrown in that motivates and gets people going.  Each person works at his or her level, and this helps the participant to take care of themselves and to have self-responsibility.

After the cardio section comes muscular strength. This area of the work out promotes muscular balance, maintaining proper form, use equipment safely and creates a motivational and instructional atmosphere. When adding weights to a cardio work out, it can really add to the routine. Heavy weights are generally not recommended, since it can cause stress on the arm and shoulder muscles, as well as the wrist and elbow joints. It’s best to go with weights that are comfortable.

At the end of the work out comes the stretching portion, or the cool down section. Stretching is a must, and stretching the muscles that had been used during the work out is essential. This should be a relaxing time. Music is slower and more soothing. This can be a time to reflect on the hard work you’ve put into your work out, and the benefits you are receiving from taking the time to take care of yourself, and your health.

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