My Weekly Workout Routine: Keep It Simple!
I’ve been thrilled by all the positive feedback I’ve received on my recent article in HumbleDollar about the importance of being as disciplined with our fitness program as we are with our investment portfolio. After all, what good is all the money we’re saving up over thirty-plus years of investing if we’re not around to enjoy it?
Health equals wealth, as one reader put it! Couldn’t agree more.
A few readers have asked me what specific exercises I do in my weekly program, so I thought I’d follow up with a blog post with a few details.
First, let me just say that I’m not a trainer and have no background in exercise physiology. As the signs in the gym remind us, please talk to your doctor and the trainer at the gym before beginning any exercise program.
Second, everyone’s body is different, and we all have different issues and weaknesses we’re looking to mitigate with our fitness program. I, for instance, beat up my knees pretty badly when I was younger through years of intense basketball, so that’s why my fitness program includes leg extensions and leg curls to build the muscles around my knees. It's paid great dividends over the years.
With those two caveats, here’s what I do each week:
- Goal: Exercise 4 or 5 times a week for 40-45 minutes (total of 160-220 minutes per week)
- Every day before exercising (even off-days): 5 minutes of stretches that includes lower-back stretches. I’ve been doing these early-morning stretches for 30 years, ever since I experienced lower-back pain in my early thirties. A colleague suggested then that I start stretching and I’ve been doing it ever since, with very little lower-back pain since. Here’s a good 5-minute stretching routine for men that will get you started https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/5-minute-wake-up-workout/
- Three days a week: 25-30 minutes of cardio (note: I usually do this on the elliptical machine, stationary bike, or treadmill to minimize impact on my joints) followed by 15 minutes of exercises meant to build my core (sit-ups, push-ups, planks, side-bends, Russian twists, etc. – here’s a good routine from Asana Rebel that I like because it’s effective and not too strenuous for those of us who are older)
- Two days a week: 20 minutes of cardio followed by 20-25 minutes of upper body and lower body light weights. I never do two days straight of the same weights, in order to rest my muscles. I also try to mix my weights from week to week so as to hit different muscle groups. Maybe one day I’ll do the weight machine circuit at the gym; two days later, I’ll do free weights with the dumbbells. However, I make sure to do the leg extension and leg curl machines at least twice a week to keep those knee muscles strong.
That’s it! Nothing fancy or complex, but the simpler your fitness routine, the more likely you’ll be to follow it, in my opinion.
Again, make sure to consult with a trainer as to your own specific needs and limitations. And don’t be afraid to vary your routine. For instance, when the weather is warm, some days I’ll go for a long, brisk walk or bike ride outside instead of doing cardio at the gym. Or I’ll do 40 minutes of yoga with my girlfriend. Variety is just as important to our physical health as it is to our mental health!
Enjoy and stay fit!