How to Create a Health Focussed Exercise Plan

'Health is wealth'

We all want to be 'healthy', but good health encompasses so many aspects of life. Physical, mental, emotional and social wellbeing are all vital for a healthy life, but as a Personal Trainer, the physical (and somewhat mental) aspects of health are our focus, as this is where our expertise lie.

As we have mentioned many times before in our Sterling Fitness blog posts, exercise and/or sport can have a profound positive effect on mental health. This is true for the short term effects which are caused by the release of endorphins, as well as long term mental wellness which comes from consistency, regular movement, routine and a sense of belonging.

Of course, there's no need to go into much detail about the physical benefits, as this is something we are all familiar with, but just some of the physical health benefits to be gained from exercise include:

  • Increased mobility

  • Better stamina

  • More able to complete daily tasks such as mowing the lawn, lifting heavy items.

  • Reduced risk of heart diseases

  • Sharper reactions

  • Improved coordination

  • Controls health conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes and Arthritis

  • Better sleep

This is information that most of us know, but the fitness industry is a confusing place, so knowing where to actually start can be like entering a minefield. There is plenty of information out there from Personal Trainers and other fitness experts, however there is also a lot of information from unqualified 'experts'. It's important to remember that just because someone may workout regularly and have the body of your dreams, it doesn't mean that they know what they're talking about. Our advice is to always consult a Personal Trainer first, and of course here at Sterling Fitness we are always happy to help.

This brings me onto my next point; just because someone may look 'healthy' (slim, 'toned', relatively fit), it doesn't mean that they are. Health comes in all shapes and sizes, and the reverse of this is that someone may look healthy, yet be the complete opposite.

So, how to go about designing a workout program if your goal is to improve your health?

First things first, you need to determine what your weaknesses and therefore areas that need improvement are. You might have stiff joints, not be able to run around with your children or simply need to lose a bit of excess fat in order to keep your heart healthy and the pressure off your joints. Whatever you need to work on, you must think about how important each aspect of your health is to you, and design your program based on these priorities.

For example, if your main concern is that you are struggling with stairs, then you can focus your program around this. This can then be broken down into individual areas to target, which when all worked on together will help you to achieve your goal. For this issue, you would want to work on strength in the legs, core stability, balance, posture and some cardiovascular work.

When designing a program, you should use progressive blocks of training (periodisation) to ensure progress, and when designing individual workouts, you should order your exercise in terms of importance, with the largest priority first.

However, whilst working on your weaknesses it's important to consider balance. Even though you might not care about a strong upper body, you'll thank yourself later if you work on a well rounded approach.

Another very important thing to consider is your enjoyment of the program. This often gets overlooked, but if you don't enjoy what you're doing, you are much more likely to skip sessions and not give it your all. The ability to exercise is a privilege, and exercise should never be seen as a chore or punishment.

Not only this, but you will also see greater gains in mental health if you are enjoying your time in the gym.

Programming is a skill that takes many years to perfect, and even on a basic level can be confusing. Personal Trainers are fully qualified to provide you with programming, be it through Personal Training sessions or Online Personal Training, and this is what we would advise if you don't know where to start. Even if you have the basics, the principles of periodisation, creativity, exercise selection and training style can be hard to master, and so we would always recommend seeking the advice of a qualified PT.

Here at Sterling Fitness, we can provide PT sessions, Online PT, and online programming for your gym sessions so that you can be sure that you can stick to your bespoke program and see the results you are looking for.

Get in touch for more info!

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