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What does an ideal week of exercise look like?

Low, medium and high intensity exercise

This is a question I get asked a lot, and obviously it varies from person to person, and you need to make it personal. It needs to work for you. You know that old question, what’s the best type of exercise? Well, it’s the one that you can maintain. Consistency is key.

Here’s what an ideal week looks like, taking out all the personal nuances of you and I: low intensity exercise, medium intensity exercise, and high intensity exercise.

  • Low is activities like walking. It’s while I’m standing here in front of the camera. It’s while I’m walking around. It’s your basic daily life movement, so you should be doing that on a relatively constant basis seven days a week.
  • Moderate activity three to five times a week. That could be a brisk walk, a light jog, something that just gets your heart a little bit higher, but it’s not high intensity.
  • High intensity exercise two to three times a week. That could just be for two minutes or 10 minutes a day, getting your heart rate up. Examples would be sprinting, spinning, lifting heavy weights, HIIT, a dance class, a Zumba class, anything like that. That’s all going to be really important, but the key is finding something that you can maintain, and it’s also finding something that you find really enjoyable, those two are inextricably linked.

I like to mix it up. I do my boxing sessions regularly. Plus we’re in the process of making a little gym in the garden, and we’ve got one of these boxing figures that you can punch. We’ve got a pull-up bar. I’ve got a wallboard, which is a big board that you can bang up against the wall. I’ve got a kettlebell out there, but also I do look for bodywork exercises, so you don’t need any equipment. You just need a space about 4′ x 8′ in which to exercise, but ideally something a little bit bigger.

Also, think about doing some of your exercise, whether it’s the low, medium or high, outdoors. Get the benefit of being in the sun, or at least in the fresh air. Try going barefoot, earthing yourself onto the ground as well, which is what I do, so you’ve got that connection with the earth. Just think about how you can blend exercise with movement. Exercise would be a planned session, it doesn’t have to be very long. It can be 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30, or an hour if you like, but actually, shorter, sharper, focused sessions can often be more effective.

Exercise is contrasted with movement, which is just your daily life movement that I talked about at the start. Don’t mistake the two of them. Movement isn’t exercise and exercise isn’t movement. In other words, you couldn’t just exercise for an hour, and then sit down all day thinking you’ve ticked that box, because you haven’t. You’ve got to blend the two.

Think about ancestral movement, which you’ve heard me talk about before. A caveman didn’t sit still, run frenetically, and then come back and sit still. They were up and at ’em all day foraging, scurrying, chasing, hunting, sharpening tools, washing, and so on. That’s the type of movement that we want to emulate as model day humans.

If you’ve got questions, send them to me at [email protected].

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Leanne Spencer is an entrepreneur, coach, TEDx Speaker, author of Remove the Guesswork, and founder of Bodyshot Performance Limited. Bodyshot is a health and fitness consultancy that helps busy professionals get more energy by removing the guesswork around their health, fitness and nutrition. Visit www.bodyshotperformance.com or email [email protected] to register your interest in our services and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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