Optimizing Your Workout Schedule
for Better Health

In today’s busy world, finding time for exercise can be challenging; however, prioritizing physical activity is essential for maintaining overall health and well-being. Let’s explore how you can optimize your exercise routine to make fitness a priority in your busy life. 

Let’s explore the World Health Organization’s guidelines of physical activity for different age groups. These recommendations are based on extensive research and aim to promote overall health and well-being. It is important to note that ‘cardiovascular exercise’ is considered anything that elevates your heart rate – walking, running, yard work, hiking, biking, etc. The recommendations vary slightly among age groups, and are as follows:

Adults aged 18-64:

  • Aerobic Activity: 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise, or at least 75-150 minutes of vigorous intensity cardiovascular exercise throughout the week, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.
  • Strength Training: 2 or more days per week of strength training, ensuring you hit all major muscle groups within the week.

Older adults aged 65 and above:

  • Aerobic Activity: at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week, or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Aerobic activity should be performed in bouts of at least 10 minutes duration.
  • Strength Training: 2 or more days per week of strength training, ensuring you hit all major muscle groups within the week.

Children and Adolescents (aged 5-17):

  • Aerobic Activity: moderate or vigorous- intensity aerobic physical activity for at least an hour each day.
  • Muscle Strengthening Activities: should be included at least 3 days per week.

Regular physical activity (walking, cycling, sports, etc.) provides significant health benefits. Some physical activity is better than none, so make sure you give yourself credit for everything you accomplish! Physical inactivity is one of the leading risk factors for noncommunicable diseases. Regular physical activity can:

  • Improve muscular and cardiorespiratory fitness;
  • Improve bone and functional health;
  • Reduce the risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, various types of cancer, and depression;
  • Reduce the risk of fall as well as hip or vertebral fractures; and
  • Help maintain a healthy body weight.

Now that we know the ‘what’, let’s look at the ‘how’. As mentioned previously, life gets busy and it can be difficult to manage your time well enough to prioritize your fitness goals. Let’s dive into some examples of how we can fit all of these health recommendations into your weekly schedule to ensure you achieve your goals and continue moving forward on your path towards optimal health and wellness. If you like this weekly schedule layout and workout ideas, check out additional workout ideas in the Fully Alive Fitness Formula Book! Check out Chapter 8: Hacking Time: Efficient Workouts for Busy Professionals.

The Balanced Approach

This schedule offers a balanced mix of aerobic and strength training exercises throughout the week:

  1. Monday:
    • 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (ie brisk walking, cycling)
    • 20 minutes of muscle-strengthening exercises
  2. Tuesday:
    • Rest day or light activity such as yoga or stretching 
  3. Wednesday:
    • 30 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (ie running, HIIT)
    • 20 minutes of muscle-strengthening exercises
  4. Thursday:
    • 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity
    • 20 minutes of muscle-strengthening exercises focusing on different muscle groups than Monday
  5. Friday:
    • Rest day or light activity such as swimming or pilates
  6. Saturday:
    • 30 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity 
    • 20 minutes of muscle-strengthening exercises, targeting areas not yet addressed
  7. Sunday:
    • Rest day or active recovery with activities like hiking or gentle cycling

The Intensive Focus

This schedule prioritized either aerobic or strength training on different days, allowing for more focused workouts:

  1. Monday:
    • 15 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (ie brisk walking, cycling)
    • 45 minutes of muscle-strengthening exercises targeting the lower body
  2. Tuesday:
    • 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (ie running)
    • 45 minutes of muscle-strengthening exercises targeting the upper body
  3. Wednesday:
    • Active rest day including 60 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (a long walk)
  4. Thursday:
    • 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity
    • 30 minutes of full body strength training, incorporating compound exercises
  5. Friday:
    • Rest day or light activity such as yoga or foam rolling
  6. Saturday:
    • 60 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity 
    • 20 minutes of muscle-strengthening exercises focusing on core stability
  7. Sunday:
    • Rest day or active recovery with activities like swimming or gardening

Regardless of the specific schedule you choose, it’s essential to listen to your body, vary your activities, and gradually progress over time. Remember to include rest days for recovery and prioritize activities that you enjoy to maintain long-term adherence. By following a well-balanced fitness schedule that incorporates aerobic and strength training exercises according to WHO recommendations, you can optimize your physical health, enhance your fitness levels, and enjoy the benefits of a holistic approach to well-being.

If this seems overwhelming to you in any way, reach out to your trainer for some assistance in building the perfect schedule for you! We are here to help you every step of the way to becoming the best you can be.

Written by:

Picture of Erica Moore

Erica Moore

NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Stick Mobility Level 1 Certified