Exercise consistency is key

By Matthew Petrone, Kristen Edwards and Pfc. Tanner Poush, Kenner Army Health ClinicAugust 25, 2016

Exercise consistency is key
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEE, Va. (Aug. 25, 2016) -- It's never too late for a beach body if people follow some simple guidelines to working out and staying fit.

Consistency in working out will bring more substantial results than periodic extreme fitness routines.

Working out three hours a day for one month can bring on health problems including stress fractures, tendon and muscle strains that often discourage people from continuing to workout. Try slowly increasing work out time weekly or biweekly starting with 30 minutes, three times a week and slowly making it to 60 minutes five times a week.

The following are additional tips to help individuals achieve better fitness levels.

• Slow and steady not only wins the race but helps one get to the finish line later in life. A favorite choice of many people to get in shape is either walking or running for cardiovascular health. Studies show as little as 10 minutes of moderate intense physical activity can lead to a healthy heart. One study found that 60 to 90 minutes of weekly exercise reduced heart disease risk by up to 50 percent.

• An easy way to start is by running or walking and gradual increase in distance or time. One safe way to transition to full running is starting with 4 minutes of walking followed by 1 minute of running and slowly change the walking and running until you are able to run without walking. People should not get frustrated if they find they can only run for 30 seconds at a time. Exercise is the most important part of working out, not how much anyone accomplishes.

• Strength training is equally important for overall health. It increases testosterone naturally, promotes better sleeping and retains muscle mass. For some, free weights can be intimidating so it is recommended to start with bodyweight exercises or machines. Three basic exercises that can make a huge difference in fitness level for anyone just starting out are assisted pull ups, planks and sit squats.

• Assisted pull ups can be done on a machine, with bands or using a TRX strap system. Planks help to keep the core, our main connection between the upper and lower body, tight and ready for all movements. Sit squats are an exercise for patients who have knee pain and are performed by attempting to sit in a chair or bench. Once your gluteus maximus touches the padding, immediately stand back up. For squats, remember to lead with the hips back, heels down and look just over the horizon.

• The weather will still be hot for many months. Keep in mind a body also needs to adjust to the changes. Most, if not all live in air conditioned and climate-controlled space. It's best to pick a time in the day that is cooler to exercise -- early mornings or late night -- or take the workout inside. Dress appropriately for the activity, take more breaks when the temperature rises, and you may even have to cut back on the intensity level depending on the activity. In warmer weather, remember to increase fluid intake throughout the day, not just during exercise.

While trying to get beach ready, keep some of these tips in mind to enjoy the outdoors for many weekends ahead, not just one. A smart start will help make the most of the years to come.

The new Strength and Performance Center at Fort Lee is a great example of a place that has cardiovascular machines, free weights and functional activities to keep people going with variety and challenges for all ages and experience levels. The Army Wellness Center is an excellent facility to start documenting your results with the body fat mass testing and other assessments available to help one succeed in the ultimate test called life.