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Live Vibrantly - October 9, 2020

What is a Comprehensive Exercise Routine?

By Carson Fralin

We all know that there is always a bike or treadmill to be found at the local gym. We might rely on paths for jogging and walking, or an indoor pool for swimming laps. These are all great ways to satisfy our aerobic or cardiovascular needs. But cardio is just one component of achieving and maintaining our physical fitness. We can gain other physiological and psychological benefits that we can’t get solely from aerobic exercise.

To better understand why aerobic exercise alone is not enough, let’s first define fitness.

Fitness is defined as the “ability to carry out daily tasks with vigor and alertness, without undue fatigue, and with ample energy to enjoy leisure-time pursuits and respond to emergencies” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

These are the seven components of physical fitness:

  • Strength
  • Power
  • Endurance
  • Mobility
  • Flexibility
  • Balance
  • Agility

Each of these components does not require its own separate workout. Instead, address all of these components by creating a comprehensive exercise routine that breaks up your workouts with different modes of exercise throughout the week.

Here’s an example of what a weekly routing might look like:

  • 1 or 2 days each week: Warm up with some mobility exercises and balance drills before doing a strength training, resistance workout with free weights [Example: using a dowel to warm up the shoulders with a couple mobility drills, performing a couple sets of in-line lunges for hip and ankle mobility that also challenges your balance. Then, perform 3 – 4 sets of the following exercises for 8 – 12 repetitions: Dumbbell Front Squat, Dumbbell Lunges, Dumbbell Overhead Press, and Dumbbell Y-Raises].
  • 1 or 2 days each week: Engage in some form of traditional cardio exercise such as riding a bike or walking on a treadmill, then cool down with some static stretching.

With each workout taking no longer than 30 to 60 minutes, you will have plenty of time to address every component of fitness during the week. More importantly, the variation can keep your routine from getting boring so you stay engaged and fit.

As always, please consult your physician before engaging in any exercise activity.


Carson Fralin is Recreation Coordinator at Goodwin House Alexandria. Carson is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach having worked with populations all across the spectrum with more than eight years of experience working with older adults. Having received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in exercise physiology at Virginia Commonwealth University, he has used his education and experience to apply concepts of functional training to help others attain the highest degree of fitness for both performance and attaining a better quality of life.




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