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Have you ever set the bar high for your fitness routine only to find it crashing down on you not long afterward? If you’ve lost sight of your New Year’s fitness resolution and are feeling a little disappointed in yourself, you may be wondering, what is the best way to achieve a balanced workout regimen?

You are not alone in wondering how to answer this question.

You’ve probably been told that running is all you need, or hot yoga will do just the trick, but maybe you’re left feeling like there's still something missing. Balance is a state of harmony, and when it comes to fitness, you want to make sure you are challenged while still working mindfully with your body. One of the most important things to remember is to listen to your body and what you need more or less of so that you do not cause yourself any harm.

Let's take a look at five elements that make an ideal and balanced regular exercise program.


1.Get Regular Cardio

It is important to make sure you get cardiovascular exercise multiple times per week. Anything that gets the body moving continuously for 30-45 minutes at a time such as running, swimming or biking are examples of aerobic activities you can do 3-6 days per week. You want to elevate your heart rate to the point where you would be out of breath trying to hold a conversation with someone. Give your heart and lungs a workout!


  1. Strengthen Your Muscles

The next step is to tone muscles, and there are many ways to strengthen the body. You can switch it up between resistance training and bodyweight exercises weekly. Resistance training will be anything you do that uses an opposing force, such as weight lifting, resistance bands, etc. Bodyweight exercise only uses the body for training in moves like planks and pushups. 


For effective strengthening, focus on one area of the body at a time, such as upper body or lower body. Work each main muscle group to its maximum by performing at least one set of 8-12 repetitions of the exercise, and increase the weight or repetitions as needed to increase your strength. For example, perform exercises that target the arms, shoulders, back, glutes, and thighs. Aim to tone your muscles 3 times per week, and be sure to give yourself one day of rest in between muscle groups.


  1. Stretch it Out

Stretching is an often overlooked part of the fitness routine. Build in time at the end of your workout to stretch every major muscle group- especially the ones you have focused your workout on that day. Stretch your neck, shoulders, back, hips, hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves. Hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds.


It is important to stretch your muscles because it will help the body achieve its full range of motion during movement.  If your muscles and joints are not flexible enough and cannot extend fully, it can lead to injury. Stretching helps keep the joints healthy and the muscles pliable.


  1. Recovery Day

Make sure to include one recovery day every week. Having one rest day per week is as important as your workout itself! When you exercise, your muscle fibers actually break down. You want to make sure that your body has time to rest so that the muscle fibers can rebuild. This also helps prevent injury, because too much exercise can lead to overuse injuries.


  1. Hydrate

Drink plenty of water! Hydration is essential for the optimum functioning of your vital organs.Your body needs water to survive and thrive- so give it what it needs. Also be sure to eat plenty of hydrating foods such as fruits and vegetables to nourish your system. You will find your recovery time improving and overall health feeling better as you drink more water.


Include these five steps into your workout program every week to achieve a state of balanced fitness. Add variety to the mix and try different techniques and sports in order to continually challenge yourself. You will see your fitness begin to harmonize the more you focus on incorporating these steps into your workout routine.


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