How often should you exercise?

A common question we’re asked in the Grounded studio is how often should you exercise? Well, the most accurate answer is that it depends. It depends on whether you’re wanting to exercise for health, fitness or weight loss—even whether you’re training for something in particular, such as a marathon or triathlon. Let’s explore a couple of the factors that can make a difference to this question. 

What are the recommended guidelines for exercise? 

There are standard health guidelines on how often you should exercise. According to the Australian Department of Health, doing any physical activity is better than doing none! Ideally adults between 18-65 should be doing 2½ – 5 hours of moderate intensity physical activity or 1¼ – 2½ hours of vigorous intensity exercise (or the equivalent combination of each) per week. The department also recommends doing muscle strengthening exercise at least two days per week. 

Minimising the amount of time spent sitting and trying to break up longer periods of sitting as often as possible is another recommendation set out by the department. This is because there is research to suggest that if you spend more time on your bottom each day than you do standing or moving around, it increases your chance of some types of cancer and is linked to heart disease and diabetes. This is even if you do 30 – 60 minutes of exercise a day! So, make sure you keep yourself moving as much as possible even outside those blocks of exercise. 

How often should you exercise for weight loss? 

If your goal is to lose weight, the type of exercise you do is just as important as how often you exercise. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to push yourself to breaking point. The old adage of “no pain no gain” is just not true! Any kind of incidental exercise adds up to your overall daily movement so just try to stay as active as possible. 

Ideally, meet the minimum guidelines set out by the Australian Department of Health and try to avoid sitting for long periods of time. Beyond this, you may like to work out a schedule that includes a few different types of exercise. Interval training has been proven to be the most effective fat burning exercise. Interval training is a combination of strength and cardio where you do short, sharp bursts of activity followed by periods of brief rest so that your heart rate goes up and comes down. The Grounded Strength and Functional Fit classes are good examples of this. 

Remember, weight loss is just as much—if not more—about how you’re nourishing yourself. Any exercise measures will be much more effective when combined with a healthy way of eating. 

How often should you exercise for fitness? 

If your main aim is fitness, you’ll probably find that your exercise requirements change as your fitness does. If you’ve been inactive for a while, you’ll need to start slow. Recovery is an important part of exercise so don’t push yourself too hard in those early weeks when you’re getting your fitness back. We’d recommend keeping the intensity low and having at least a day or two rest in between each exercise day to begin with and work your way up to more. 

If you’re still confused about how often you should exercise, an ideal schedule would look like this: 

1-2 days of strength training
1-2 days of cardio (or combine these into an interval style class outlined above)
1-2 days of something like Pilates or yoga

Ideally give yourself two days of active recovery within a 7 day week. 

4 ways Pilates reformer classes will change your body

Have you fallen in love with Pilates reformer classes yet?

This dynamic approach to exercise is a member favourite at Grounded—and for good reason. Not only will you come away from these classes feeling challenged to just the right level, over time they will begin to change your body in a number of positive ways. Here’s what you can expect to notice.

1. Improved posture

Correct form is a key focus in Pilates reformer classes. You are trained to place your spine into ‘neutral’ position (which is essentially where the three curves naturally present in your spine are maintained) and maintain it through each exercise. In doing so, you activate all the postural muscles responsible for holding you upright and elongating your spine.

The repetitive engagement of these muscles, along with the activation of other key muscles in your body (your core, for example) naturally begins to shift your sitting and standing posture. Since you’ll be challenged to think about the way in which you’re moving your body in your Pilates reformer classes, your awareness of your movements throughout the day also increases so you learn to catch yourself when your posture slips.

2. Strengthened core

Reformer classes offer a wide range of exercises designed to strengthen muscles from head to toe but there is a strong emphasis on developing the core. Having a strong, stable core is not just all about how our tummy looks, it’s a foundation for a healthy body and key for being able to maintain mobility through your life. In fact, a significant amount of lower back pain is associated with poor core strength. So, not only will Pilates reformer classes help to tighten and strengthen your tummy, butt and back muscles, they can help to alleviate back pain.

3. Increased flexibility

There are two different types of flexibility—active and passive. Pilates reformer classes will help you to achieve both. Think of active flexibility as a combination of strength and flexibility such as when an acrobat (or advanced yogi) can put their legs into a complete split from a handstand. Passive flexibility would be moving into the splits on the floor and using the ground and gravity to get you further.

Pilates reformer classes include exercises that increase the strength and mobility of your muscles both actively and passively. Whether being able to do the splits is on your bucket list or not, active and passive flexibility will result in greater agility, stability and mobility which to you means less pain, tension and risk of injury.

4. Better muscle tone

Did you know that from the age of 30 onwards, unless you actively maintain or build muscle mass, you begin to lose it? This is one of the ways in which body fat levels can begin to change as we age, since muscle is one of the key drivers that keeps our metabolism fast.

Building muscle also helps to keep your bones strong and healthy and prevents injury. So not only will you begin to notice visible changes to your muscle tone from regular Pilates reformer classes, you’ll be reaping in the associated benefits of it too!

Learn more about how we do Pilates reformer classes at Grounded or check out our timetable to see our current class offerings. Our reformer classes are included in our $30pw membership along with a variety of other holistic fitness classes. We can’t wait to see you there!

Feeling flat? 5 tips to boost your energy

Boost your energy - Grounded Fitness

“How can I boost my energy?”

A common thread we hear in the studio is how many people are struggling with flagging energy levels. Whether it’s waking up tired or experiencing a dip in the middle of the day, this can take begin to take a toll. That’s why we’ve put together these five tips to help you reignite and boost your energy levels. You’re welcome.

1. Amp up your nutrition

Good energy starts with good nutrition. So, for a quick boost to your energy, look at what you’re eating. If you aren’t eating in a way that includes lots of nutrients from whole foods, you’re going to start depleting your body. And with depletion comes fatigue.

According to a report by CSIRO, 4 in 5 Australians are not eating the recommended five serves of vegetables. And this recommendation is really just the bare minimum we need to keep our bodies functioning well without deficiency. If you really want to thrive, you should be eating even more than this. So, to boost your energy, load your plate full of veggies!

2. Get moving

Humans aren’t meant to live sedentary lives; if you don’t move enough, you will begin to feel sluggish. So, it stands to reason that boosting your energy involves moving more and exercising regularly.

Movement and exercise aren’t exactly the same thing. Think about movement as your incidental activity throughout your day. It might include walking from the carpark to the supermarket, taking the stairs instead of the escalator or standing at a desk instead of sitting (if you have an office job). Exercise is scheduled time focused on building muscle and/or getting our heart rate up. Both are important to our health and play a role in boosting your energy.

Look for opportunities to increase your incidental exercise and ensure you’re also doing a good 30 or more minutes of exercise most days. For the perfect energy boost, we recommend mixing it up with some cardio or strength-based classes and alternating that with some yoga or Pilates. See our schedule for all our class times to help you plan out your week.

3. Include more restorative practices

Sometimes we need to move more and other times we need to move less—or at least consider the intensity of the exercise we are doing. If you’re on the go from the minute you get up until the minute your head hits the pillow at night, you might benefit from more restorative practices. This will help to support your nervous system which, in turn, will boost your energy.

Living at full throttle 24/7 can communicate stress to your body (especially if you also have a busy mind or often feel overwhelmed by all your tasks) and activate your ‘fight or flight’ response. Our body isn’t designed to live in ‘fight or flight’ regularly. If you don’t slow down or learn how to switch off that stress response, you will begin to notice your energy wane. Practices that focus on slowing down and regulating our breath (especially deep, diaphragmatic breathing) are the ideal solution. So, to boost your energy when you’ve been busy, tired and overwhelmed, try yoga, yin yoga or Pilates.

4. Build muscle

Muscles aren’t just there to make us look good! They also have many important functions in the body. One of them is to boost our energy levels. Inside every cell in your body are mitochondria, and without unpacking this too far, what you need to know is that these little guys are responsible for converting nutrients into energy.

Muscle contains the highest density of mitochondria than any other tissue in our body. This is because you really need a good amount of energy when you’re exercising. However, maintaining a good amount of muscle mass will serve to boost your energy well beyond exercising!

If you’re keen to amp up your mitochondrial levels by building long, lean muscles (and boost your energy in the process), we recommend taking up a strength-based class such as our Strength, Functional Fit or even Pilates classes.

5. Address your stress

Stress drains us. Not just for the reasons we discussed above regarding the stress response, but because it clouds our brain and squeezes all the colour out of our world. Plus, when we feel stressed, we generally feel less motivated. We might forgo our usual exercise routine and lean towards less nutritious food choices in an attempt to make ourselves feel better. So, getting a handle on your stress is an important part of boosting your energy.

Yoga is a great way to alleviate stress and quieten your mind. Yin yoga in particular. One of the greatest gifts this practice gives us is the ability to bring our mind to the present moment by focusing on our breath and bringing our attention to how our body feels through each movement. What we learn on the mat we can apply off the mat, so yoga can be a wonderful tool to help you build your stress resilience while reducing stress levels in your body. Other ways to address your stress and therefore boost your energy include meditation and having clear boundaries about down time and self-care.