If you’re attempting to jumpstart your fitness, choose a well-designed exercise plan that meets your body and your schedule.

We’re well into winter and the year is in full swing. So how is your New Year’s resolution to exercise regularly going?

You can be fair. No one’s listening.

Maybe you’re not quite hitting your goal. Or the whole thing has dropped by the wayside. Or you haven’t even begun yet.

Do not worry, there’s still hope.

Sometimes all you need to reach your goal is a well-designed strategy. A sensible strategy.

So here you are — a strategy for kick-starting your fitness program. One which just might work for you.

A 30-day strength training routine — no equipment required

How much exercise do I need?

We know that regular physical activity is great for us, however, just how much is enough?

The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans urges the following for healthy adults:

  • 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic action. Or 75 minutes per week of vigorous action. Or any combination of both.
  • 2 or more times a week of moderate or vigorous muscle-strengthening — aka resistance training — that targets all major muscle groups.

On top of that, it’s also advisable to incorporate stability and flexibility training into your fitness plan. These can often be done alongside aerobic or muscle-strengthening activities.

There are many methods to fulfill those guidelines. What’s important is to find something which works for you.

Sarah Walls, a personal trainer and owner of Virginia-based SAPT Power & Performance Training Inc., advised Healthline that if you’re starting out, one option is to break it down like this:

  • Aerobic activity: five days a week, 20 to 30 minutes per day
  • Resistance training: three days a week, 30 to 60 minutes a day

At Fuse Fitness at Berkeley, California, founders Kristin Rios and Pascha Brown, both certified personal trainers, stated they ease beginners into exercise.

“Together with beginners, we have them start with two workouts every week so that they have plenty of time to unwind and recuperate between,” Rios and Brown informed Healthline. “We encourage walking and yoga between sessions, and tons of great water and sleep to aid with soreness.”

The workouts in Fuse Fitness are hour-long sessions that pack in all of the vital elements of fitness — mobility and flexibility, strength training, conditioning, agility, balance, and core training.

This saves you time, which is nice if you’re short on that.

As people become more comfortable exercising, Rios and Brown encourage them to increase to three to four-hour-long sessions weekly. These sessions could be either one-on-one workouts or group classes.

Similarly, Walls said that “over the span of one or two years, the intensity ought to be improved as the person grows more comfortable with doing the moves correctly and their fitness level improves.”

Working out at the gym, though, is only one way to stay active.

“We invite our customers to participate in activity every day when they are not training,” said Rios and Brown, “whether it is hiking, bicycle riding, gardening, rock climbing, or biking .”

These non-gym activities can easily get you around 150 minutes per week of aerobic activity.

Just don’t neglect whole-body strength training to get more aerobic activity. Stronger muscles burn calories, strengthen your muscles and also make it a lot easier to remain active during your life.

And remember, resistance training is not only lifting weights. Exercises that use your body as resistance — things such as pushups, pull-ups, planks, and squats — count also.

You can arrange your workouts through the week in whichever manner you need, but here are a couple of tips to keep in mind:

  • Alternate your hard and easy days, especially with resistance training. This gives your muscles an opportunity to recover.
  • It’s OK to do aerobic activity and resistance training on the exact same day. Walls urge that if you are performing a traditional resistance training session, then take action before aerobic exercise. Circuit training and some fitness classes, however, mix things up more, with good results.
  • To avoid fitness burnout, just take off one day per week from structured exercise. Go for a hike or bicycle ride, hit the beach, or walk around town.

How hard should I exercise?

One way to tell if you are working hard enough is to just “sense” it.

“All activities need to be done at a level that challenges the person. Cardio should make us huff and puff. Strength training should make us grunt a bit. Stretches should make us wince. Balance training must make us moan,” said Fitz Koehler, a fitness and game performance pro using a master’s degree in exercise and sport sciences.

Koehler added that in case you can hardly talk, you’re probably working too hard.

Tasks like brisk walks, baseball, and some types of yoga are generally moderate intensity.

Martial arts, bicycling at a good rate, and basketball are often vigorous.

Heart rate and activity monitors may also tell you how hard you are working. Check your device’s instructions to know how to figure that out.

Walls recommends that folks try to do aerobic exercise and without one of these devices.

“As people become more used to knowing how hard they have to work to receive their heart rate up to ideal ranges, the track can be used however, is much less necessary,” said Walls.

Rios and Brown said a heart rate monitor can also be “a fantastic way to stay motivated and inspired to work hard. It enables you to know when it is possible to push harder (on these lazy days).”

Once you’ve got a good base of fitness, you can try increasing the intensity much more.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) — also called sprint interval training (SIT) — alternates extreme bursts of exercise together with rest or low-intensity activity.

“In HIIT, you work as hard as possible for a short quantity of time, anywhere from 20 to 40 seconds,” said Rios and Brown. “Then you break for a brief interval to allow your heart rate to come down a little and prepare for another interval of workout”

Rinse and repeat for 10 to half an hour.

Many people are drawn to HIIT since you get exactly the very same benefits in less time as you would with a longer, less-intense workout.

But don’t overdo it — give yourself at least one day between your HIIT workouts to recuperate.

“People often overlook that part,” said Rios and Brown. “The body actually gets stronger during your recovery period. If you continually work at a high degree of intensity without taking any rest days, you will end up very vulnerable to injuries and/or overtraining.”

How can I start exercising safely?

If you are just starting out, give your body time to adapt to the new movements and activities.

“Training should always progress slowly,” Koehler told Healthline.

If you do too much, too fast, you risk burning out or perhaps injuring yourself.

A good way to look at the physical activity guidelines would be as a long-term goal.

You may start to see changes in your energy levels after a few weeks of regular exercise, but the big shifts in your fitness can take per year or more.

So start with what you can realistically handle — both physically and time-wise.

The longer you stick with exercise, the more likely it will turn into a habit.

One 2009 study in the European Journal of Social Psychology found that it requires on average 66 days to construct a new habit.

So choose a plan that you can achieve each daily.

That might mean walking moderately for 20 minutes three days per week.

Once you’re comfortable with that, consider doing one day of resistance training every week. Then two. Then three.

For long-term success, increase your intensity or duration bit by bit.

And first and foremost, remember the most important principle of fitness — choose activities that you like doing.

“Pursue the things you love, but keep adding variety so as to consistently challenge your body in new ways while keeping things fresh,” said Koehler.

What’s adrenaline?

Adrenaline, also called epinephrine, is a hormone released by your adrenal glands and also a few neurons.

The adrenal glands can be found at the top of each kidney. They are responsible for producing many hormones, including aldosterone, cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. Adrenal glands are controlled by a different gland called the pituitary gland.

The adrenal glands are divided into two parts: outer glands (adrenal cortex) and internal glands (adrenal medulla). The inner glands produce adrenaline.

Adrenaline is also referred to as the “fight-or-flight hormone.” It is released in response to a stressful, exciting, dangerous, or threatening scenario. Adrenaline assists your body to react faster. It makes the heart beat faster, increases blood flow to the muscles and brain, and stimulates the body to generate sugar to use for fuel.

When adrenaline is released suddenly, it’s often referred to as an adrenaline rush.

The adrenaline rush...and everything else in your adrenal gland | Dear Dr. Christina

What happens in the body when you experience a rush of adrenaline?

An adrenaline rush starts in the mind. When you comprehend a stressful scenario, that data is sent to a part of the brain called the amygdala. This area of the brain plays a role in emotional processing.

If danger is sensed by the amygdala, it transmits a signal to another region of the brain known as the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is the command center of the brain. It communicates with the rest of the body through the sympathetic nervous system.

The hypothalamus transmits a signal through autonomic nerves into the adrenal medulla. When the adrenal glands receive the sign, they react by releasing adrenaline into the bloodstream.

Once in the bloodstream, adrenaline:

  • Binds to receptors on liver cells to divide larger sugar molecules, known as glycogen, into a bigger, more readily usable sugar called glucose; this gives your muscles a boost of vitality
  • Binds to receptors on muscle cells from the lungs, causing you to breath quicker
    stimulates cells from the heart to beat faster
  • Triggers the blood vessels to contract and lead blood vessels toward major muscle groups
  • Contracts muscle cells below the surface of the skin to stimulate perspiration
  • Binds to receptors in the pancreas to inhibit the production of insulin

The physiological changes that happen as adrenaline circulate throughout the blood is commonly known as an adrenaline rush since these changes happen rapidly. In fact, they occur so quickly that you might not even fully process what is happening.

The rush of adrenaline is what provides you the capacity to Dodge out of the way of an oncoming car before you have had an opportunity to think about doing it.

Activities that cause an adrenaline rush

Although adrenaline has an evolutionary purpose, some people get involved in certain activities solely for the adrenaline rush. Activities that can cause an adrenaline rush include:

  • Seeing a horror film
  • Skydiving
  • Cliff jumping
  • Bungee jumping
  • Cage diving with sharks
  • Ziplining
  • White water rafting

What are the symptoms of an adrenaline rush?
An adrenaline rush is sometimes described as a boost of energy. Other symptoms include:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Perspiration
  • Increased senses
  • Rapid breathing
  • Decreased ability to sense pain
  • Enhanced strength and functionality
  • Dilated pupils
  • Feeling jittery or nervous

After the stress or threat has been gone, the effect of adrenaline can last up to an hour.

Adrenaline rush at nighttime

While the fight-or-flight response is quite helpful in regards to preventing an auto accident or running from a rabid dog, it may be a problem when it is activated in response to everyday stress.

A mind filled with thoughts, anxiety, and stress also stimulates your body to release adrenaline and other stress-related hormones, like cortisol (called the stress hormone).

This is especially true at night when you lie in bed. In a calm and darkened area, some individuals can not quit focusing on a conflict that happened that day or stressing about what is going to occur tomorrow.

Though your brain accomplishes this as anxiety, the real danger is not really present. So this excess boost of energy you get from the adrenaline rush doesn’t have any use. This will leave you feeling nervous and irritable and make it impossible to fall asleep.

Adrenaline may also be published as a response to loud noises, bright lights, and high temperatures. Watching television, using your cellphone or computer, or listening to loud music before bedtime may also promote a surge of adrenaline during the night.

How to control adrenaline

It’s very important to understand techniques to counter your body’s stress response. Experiencing some anxiety is normal and at times even valuable for your wellness.

However, over time, persistent shortness of adrenaline can hurt your blood vessels, increase your blood pressure, and elevate your risk of heart attacks or stroke. Additionally, it may result in anxiety, weight gain, headaches, and insomnia.

To assist control adrenaline, you will need to trigger your parasympathetic nervous system, also known as the”rest-and-digest system” The rest-and-digest answer is the opposite of this fight-or-flight reaction. It helps encourage equilibrium in the body and enables your body to rest and repair itself.

Try out the following:

  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Meditation
  • Yoga or tai chi exercises, which combine movements with deep breathing
  • Speak with family or friends about trying situations so you are less likely to dwell on them at night; likewise, you can keep a journal of your feelings or thoughts
  • Eat a balanced, Healthful diet
  • Exercise frequently
  • Restrict caffeine and alcohol intake
  • Avoid cellphones, glowing lights, machines, loud music, and TV before bedtime

When to see a physician

In case you have chronic stress or anxiety and it’s preventing you from getting rest at night, speak with your physician or psychologist about anti-anxiety medications, for example, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Medical conditions that cause an overproduction of adrenaline are very rare but possible. A tumor of the adrenal glands, as an example, can overstimulate the creation of adrenaline and lead to adrenaline rushes.

Additionally, for people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), memories of the injury may raise adrenaline levels following the traumatic event.