For exercise, we will be focusing on stressing the cardiorespiratory system in order to produce favorable adaptations in aerobic capacity. This will have a tremendous effect on gene expression, brain health and function, your mood etc. Smart exercise will amplify your efforts in our other 3 areas of focus: nutrition, sleep, and stress.
With exercise it is important that you pick something that you enjoy as this will play a huge role in your decision to stick with it long-term and make it part of your routine. We will focus on walking, jogging, and running because it is available to almost everyone. All you need is a pair of running shoes! However, if you do not enjoy walking, jogging or running then there are many forms of exercise that can provide a similar stimulus. The goal here is to exercise for at least 20 minutes a day.
For the purposes of this program we will be following a typical “3 on/1 off” format where you will be exercising 3 days consecutively and taking every 4th day to rest and recover. I am going to assume that you have not been exercising regularly and will be starting from ground zero. Each 3-day period we will be increasing either duration or intensity. If you are more advanced or already have an established routine then by all means continue with that instead.
At the end of these 30 days the goal is to have you able to run/jog with greater intensity than you started for a total of 20 minutes per day. If you follow this progression exactly, you will hopefully get there.
Try and achieve and maintain a target heart rate of 50-85% of your maximum heart rate. If you don’t know what that is there is a list of averages HERE.
Although most people can jog or run, there are many people who do so incorrectly and wind up with nagging injuries or worse. Do you consistently experience shin splints (pain along the front of your lower leg)? There is a good chance that:
- Your running mechanics could improve (Consider working with a running coach or doing some research on “Pose” running form online)
- You are wearing the wrong shoes (Have someone fit your foot and for many flatter shoes are better)
- You have poor mobility (Make sure to mobilize prior to exercise)
Warm up explainer
5-15 minute warm up and mobilization consisting of:
- 5 minutes of light aerobic work to get your heart rate up and blood flowing. Examples include: jumping rope, rowing machine, jumping jacks, or brisk walking on a treadmill (if you choose to exercise in a gym).
- 5-10 minutes of mobilization to get your joints and soft tissues ready. The goal here is to avoid injury and promote proper mechanics. For walking/running we will focus on warming up the shoulders, thoracic spine, hips, knees and calves and ankles. Go through the sequence below:
20 pass-through’s with a PVC pipe, broomstick, or other stick like object that is long enough such that your arms are extended when the stick is at hip height.
Deep squat and hold for several minutes. Hold onto something if balance is an issue but be sure to keep your heels on the ground. If you are bad at this then that is a definite sign that you need to work on it more. We are designed such that this should be a natural resting position.
Single leg floor touches
Alternating downward dog for ankles and achilles
*Notice that we are not “stretching” before exercise and we are instead mobilizing. Research has shown that pre-exercise stretching is actually counter-productive. Elaborate a bit more possibly because this is a novel concept for most people…