Q:

What is a good workout schedule?

A:

According to certified personal trainer Joe Dowdell for Shape magazine, it is recommended that a routine include at least three full-body strength-training workouts every week with a day of rest or cardio in between. An effective workout routine is one that is tailored specifically to an individual's unique schedule and incorporates time for exercise into a period of the day when a person is feeling the most energetic and optimistic.

Dowdell explains that the pitfall of many workout routines is that people often do not treat the exercise time slot as important as other priorities scheduled on the calendar and frequently find excuses to skip it. The better a workout blends into a person's schedule, the more likely she will stick to the program and reap the rewards.

A well-rounded workout regimen includes an emphasis on weight-bearing exercises mixed with a bit of cardio. Strength-training does not need to take more than 30 minutes of time to complete, and people are encouraged to perform weight-bearing exercises on non-consecutive days so the muscles have adequate time to repair during the time off. Another approach is to incorporate smaller 15-minute exercises into every day and work isolated muscle groups one day, while switching to a new group of muscles the next. This way, workouts are shorter and muscles do not get overworked, notes Dowdell.

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