Have you been trying to lose weight with exercise, but just haven’t been able to make it stick? You are not alone. People who exercise at home often struggle with getting their desired weight loss results. The problem – not having a consistent weight loss plan. Just like with any other activity, exercise will only yield results when you make a habit of it. In this article, we tell you how to formulate a weekly activity plan that works for you.
What is the Importance of Exercise for Weight Loss?
Exercise is a crucial aspect of weight loss and management. When you exercise, your body uses the energy that is stored in your cells and muscles (in the form of glycogen and fat) to fuel your activity.
Exercise also helps boost your metabolism and build muscle, which raises your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and resting energy expenditure. Thus, exercise contributes to weight loss by helping your body burn more calories.
How Long Should You Exercise Every Week for Weight Loss?
Most doctors and health experts recommend moderate-intensity exercise for about 150 to 300 min., spread out over at least 5 days a week. Optionally, you can choose high-intensity exercises for about 75 to 150 min per week for weight loss.
It is recommended to exercise for at least 5 days every week for sustainable weight loss results. It is also important to have 1 or 2 rest days in your week, where you relax and let your body recover from the exertion caused by exercise.
You can also choose to include a day of “active rest” where you allow your muscles to recover from the exertion of the previous day (usually a day of strength training) while still performing lower-intensity activities like walking, yoga, swimming, etc.
What Exercises Should You Include in Your Routine?
In order to improve your overall health and fitness and to lose weight, experts recommend that you include different types of exercises in your routine, like:
Cardio or Endurance Training
Also known as aerobic exercises, these activities are helpful in improving your stamina and heart health. Cardio exercises are generally moderate-intensity activities, which increase your heart and breathing rates. Your muscles receive a steady stream of oxygen, which is used to produce energy along with the glycogen or fat stored in your body.
Strength Training and Resistance Training
These exercises help strengthen your muscles, bones, and joints, while also helping you maintain muscle mass. Strength training involves lifting heavy weights for a short period of time in order to build muscle and improve your strength.
Resistance training involves building muscle and improving endurance by pushing or pulling against something using your own body weight, resistance bands, free weights, or equipment.
Strength and resistance training are both categorised as anaerobic exercise, as they usually involve short bursts of intense activity where your muscles do not receive enough oxygen. Thus, your body uses only the stored glycogen or fat to fuel your workout.
Examples of strength and resistance training include weight lifting, exercises using weight machines, callisthenics (body weight exercises) like jump squats, push-ups, pull-ups or chin-ups, isometrics (exercises that involve contraction of muscles) like planks, plyometrics, etc.
These are exercises that improve your balance and the flexibility of your joints. Flexibility exercises like stretches and lunges are usually done before cardio and strength training exercises to prevent injuries like muscle sprains or tears.
Flexibility exercises are recommended for most adults over the age of 45, in order to prevent balance issues later in life.
What Should Your Weekly Exercise Routine Look Like?
To craft a weekly exercise plan, it is essential to first figure out what your fitness goals are, and how much time you are willing to allocate each week for exercise. Then, plan your 5 days of exercise, 2 days of rest, and 1 or 2 days of active rest based on your schedule.
Consistency is key when it comes to weight loss, so plan your weekly exercise routine on days that you have free time. If your goal is weight loss and overall fitness, you can use the following weekly workout plan as an example:
Day of the Week
Flexibility + Cardio
Flexibility + Strength Training
Flexibility + Cardio
Flexibility + Cardio
Flexibility + Strength Training
You can modify the plan according to your schedule and work in activities that you prefer. You can increase or decrease the days of rest and active rest based on your fitness level and schedule.
Ensure that you have a gap of 48 hours between sessions of strength training to allow your muscles to recover. You can continue to perform low intensity activities like walking or yoga on the days after strength training (days of rest or active rest). You can also choose to include some amount of cardio exercise on days you perform strength training or resistance training.
How Much Daily Movement Should You Incorporate in Your Routine Apart from Exercise?
Apart from exercise, an active lifestyle is crucial for weight management. Walking whenever possible, taking the stairs, and generally spending less time seated can all promote a healthy lifestyle.
Though conventional wisdom recommends getting in 10,000 steps a day, this is in no way a universally applicable benchmark. It is better to set your own goals based on your current activity levels. Increasing your daily movement gradually by 1500 to 2000 steps is a great way to stay active. Try to avoid staying seated for too long; take a 10-min walk every two hours.
What Should Beginners Keep in Mind When Formulating an Exercise Routine?
When trying to formulate a workout plan, you need to keep the following aspects in mind:
- Assess your current fitness level.
- Determine your fitness goals, whether they be weight loss, building muscle, or improving overall fitness.
- Analyse your schedule to determine the best time to workout; try to keep this time consistent across the week.
- If you are a beginner, start slow and aim for gradual progress.
- Keep your exercise plan balanced and include cardio and strength training exercises of varying intensity levels.
- Start and end your exercise sessions with stretching to prevent injury.
- Aim for 45 to 60 min of cardio exercise at least 5 days a week. On days allotted for strength training, aim for 20 to 30 min of cardio.
- Allow some time in your week for rest.
- Include a wide variety of activities in your exercise routine.
- Try to include more movement and activity in your daily routine apart from exercise.
Don’t Have Time To Read?
- Exercise and physical activity are essential for weight loss and management.
- Most health experts recommend around 150 to 300 min of moderate-intensity exercise for weight loss, spread over at least 5 days a week.
- A balanced weekly workout plan should preferably include 5 days of cardio exercise, 2 or more sessions of strength training, and at least 1 or 2 days of rest or active rest.
- Your exercise plan should ideally include cardio exercise to improve stamina, strength or resistance training to build muscle, and flexibility exercises to prevent injuries.
- Along with exercise, increasing your daily movement by walking more, taking the stairs, etc. can also help you cultivate a more physically active lifestyle that contributes to weight loss.
- If you are new to exercise, having a consistent weekly workout plan in place will help you make exercise a habit.
- Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading nutritionists and dieticians to get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Check out our store to order healthy treats, weighing scales, fitness bands, and more! We also have a Weight Management Program which provides 360º care. Start your weight management journey with Phable.
A good daily exercise routine should ideally include 30 to 60 min of exercise, with 5 to 10 min of stretching, followed by a cardio workout. Try to include at least 2 sessions of strength training in your weekly exercise routine. You should also aim for more physical activity and movement every day (walking, stair climbing, etc.) apart from exercise.
The best weekly workout schedule for overall fitness should include:
- 5 days of cardio workouts
- 2 sessions of strength or resistance training
- 1 or 2 days of rest or active rest
This depends upon your overall health, fitness goals, and the type of exercise you choose. A 15-minute session of cardio exercise is unlikely to have a significant effect on your weight, but it can still contribute to lowering your risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease to some extent. A 15-minute session of anaerobic exercise like high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or callisthenics can help you burn fat, but is unlikely to have a significant effect on your overall health. Most experts recommend at least 30 min of exercise every day for optimum health.
Not necessarily. Your goal of daily steps depends upon your current activity levels and fitness goals. If your current daily step count is around 2,000 to 3,000, then increase your step count gradually to reach your set goal. If you are currently walking more than 10,000 steps daily, then increase your goal by 1,500 to 3,000 steps, based on your fitness objective.