How To Increase Fitness
How do you increase fitness? Many people look to increase their fitness levels, yet do not have planned a structured and effective method of achieving this goal. Looking for such a fitness plan can also uncover regimes which tend to focus purely on aerobic exercise, and exclude exercise which improves strength and muscular power. Increasing overall fitness should involve making improvements to muscular strength, power and endurance, as well as improving aerobic ability, balance and flexibility. A common mistake made is of following a purely aerobic training plan, which neglects lower repetition resistance exercise, to improve strength and power. Leaving out these fitness components will result in suboptimal general fitness.
Increasing fitness involves improving strength, power, speed, endurance, cardiovascular performance, balance, and flexibility. Increasing fitness levels would therefore require an extensive and wide variation of exercises, with an effort to improve these fitness components in a balanced manner.
Muscular performance can be improved with the incorporation of resistance exercises, such as free weight exercises. Resistance exercises can be performed using various repetition ranges to improve strength, power or endurance. Lower repetition ranges with a high resistance, say 5-12 repetitions, would be a good choice for improving strength levels, as well stimulating muscular growth. Lower repetitions are ideal for strength gains, but it would be wise to only perform at these lower repetition ranges if you have a level of experience, to avoid injury and poor form whilst using a heavy resistance. Higher repetition ranges, of over 12, would be more inclined towards improving muscular endurance. Obviously, the higher repetition ranges will require a reduced resistance to able to complete the sets.
Aerobic ability can be improved by following exercises which require increased work of the heart, lungs and circulatory system. Exercise of this type is followed commonly by those looking to improve their fitness, believing fitness is purely about aerobic performance, neglecting the resistance exercise mentioned above.
Fitness training plan
A training plan for improving overall fitness must include exercise to enhance ability in each fitness component. It is therefore optimal to include both resistance and cardiovascular exercises within the plan, to improve muscular function, and cardiovascular function.
A resistance regime would commonly incorporate the major compound exercises, which tax the major muscle groups of the body. Squats, deadlifts, lunges, bench press, overhead press, rows and pull ups, are all great exercise choices. Weight/resistance training three days per week, with sufficient rest between sessions, allows for a lower body exercise, a pushing exercise, and a pulling exercise to be included in each training session, or to use each training sessions for each of the three disciplines (Monday – legs, Wednesday – push, Friday – pull, for example).
Rep ranges should be varied, allowing for muscular strength, power and endurance to be improved. This can include a micro-cycle, where each week the repetitions range is changed, specifically focusing on a particular muscular function. Alternatively, each session could include a verity of rep ranges and speeds.
Aerobic ability can be enhanced by swimming, cycling, sporting activities, and running. Speed, distance and duration can be varied to offer a wide spectrum of enhancements to cardiovascular function. Aerobic exercise can be performed for thirty to sixty minutes, three to four times per week. Exercising the heart has added health benefits, with improved activity levels said to reduce risk of stroke and heart disease.
It is advised to seek advice from your GP when embarking on a fitness regime.