Often, understanding the science behind why things work will help you feel motivated to do them. That’s why today we’re going to tackle an important topic: the science of fitness. Understanding the science behind exercise can help you make the most of your time in terms of fitting the best workout into a busy lifestyle for optimum health and wellness. Exercise is so important to our wellbeing that it really should be a regular part of everyone’s life. Living a balanced life in which we eat healthy foods and exercise often will nourish our mind and body, and you will see the benefits in how you feel!

Science of fitness

Not all workouts are created equal or provide the same benefits. A 30-minute leisurely walk will, of course, provide different benefits compared to an intense aerobics workout or day at the gym lifting weights. However, one thing is for sure…however you exercise, whatever exercise type or intensity you do…it’s going to help your health. There are two basic classes of exercise: cardio, and strength training exercise. Simply put, cardio exercise gets your heart pumping quickly (thus the name!) and likely involves sweating and lots of movement. This type of exercise is great for burning calories and getting the heart pumping. 

Strength training exercise, on the other hand, involves working to strengthen and build specific muscles, involving more calculated movements, such as when lifting weights. But strength exercise is not just about lifting weights, however! You can get a good strength workout in with light weights and resistance bands, or even do a bodyweight routine which uses the resistance of your own body to build strength! Both strength and cardio exercises have their benefits and both should have a place in any good exercise regimen! 

While exercising, it’s important to have a workout plan that changes workouts often to target all major muscle groups in the body and to allow rest time for those muscle groups you’ve exercised. Try to include cardio and strength training exercises in your routine for their respective benefits. Be sure to follow proper technique, and perhaps invest in a personal trainer who can make sure you are performing exercises correctly to prevent injuring your body. Some soreness after exercise is ok, especially if you are just getting back into exercising after a long time away from it. This is called delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, and shows up as soreness or pain in the muscles about 24 to 48 hours after an intense workout. This is just the muscles becoming stronger, but, if the pain is more than just mild, it may be a sign you need to ease into the intensity level you want a little more slowly. Keep in mind, even top professional athletes experience DOMS at times! 

Benefits of exercise

The science of exercise also includes understanding how it benefits your body. Exercise strengthens your muscles, but perhaps the most important muscle it strengthens is your heart. With regular exercise, your resting heart rate should go down. A low resting heart rate is indicative of a healthy heart; the more efficient it is, the less often it has to beat in order to get blood pumping throughout the body. Exercise also improves your lung capacity and strengthens your muscles, joints, and even your bones. Besides all that, exercise boosts your mood, can increase your metabolism, promotes better sleep, and can give you more energy. 

Some helpful tips

Here are some other steps you can take to maximize your chances of success. A fitness journal or fitness tracking app can help you stay motivated to meet your exercise goals each week, or help you track which muscle groups you work out so you can vary things up. Find a fitness partner…either someone who goes to the gym with you, or someone who has similar goals to you that will encourage you to work out and whom you can keep in regular touch with for encouragement. 

Remember, exercise is important for your body for so many different things. Your cardiovascular system, muscles, bones, respiratory system, and mental health will thank you if you dedicate some time to exercise each week. Try aiming for 2-3 workouts a week. They will go a long way towards living a life full of wellness!