Is your Exercise Routine Integrated?


Most people who exercise have a goal in mind, such as weight loss, weight gain, general conditioning, core stabilization, hypertrophy, strength,  power or performance enhancement.

Exercise can be a vehicle which can take one towards any of these goals by creating adaptations in the various systems of the body. These systems include:

  1. Nervous
  2. Musculoskeletal
  3. Endocrine
  4. Immune
  5. Cardiorespiratory

Adaptations occur when your body reacts or adapts to a stimulus. They are unique and predicated by a number of variables, some of which include:

  1. Volume- The amount of work performed
  2. Load- The amount of weight lifted
  3. Intensity- The amount of effort exerted
  4. Repetitions- The number of movements for an exercise
  5. Sets- The number of  groups of consecutive repetitions
  6. Tempo- The speed with which a repetition is performed
  7. Rest Interval- The time taken to recuperate between sets, training days  and training cycles (AKA Periodization)
  8. Frequency- The number of training sessions performed during a specific period (usually a week)
  9. Duration- The time frame of a workout
  10. Exercise selection- Choosing the appropriate exercise for ones goals and needs
  11. Nutrition- Ensuring the optimum ratio and amount of macro, micro and phyto nutrients
  12. Sleep- Getting adequate rest
  13. Stress management- Optimizing those hormones that are affected by stress and can have catabolic or anabolic effects on one’s body and the ability to repair


An integrated exercise program should be based on an assessment and have the following training components:

  1. Flexibility
  2. Cardiorespiratory
  3. Core
  4. Balance
  5. Reactive
  6. Resistance

(Note, that for some populations, Speed, Agility and Quickness would also be included)

Flexibility- The normal extensibility of soft tissue allowing full range of motion at a joint. Optimum flexibility is important because it is a component of pain free movement, helps to prevent injuries and enables one to exercise more efficiently.

Cardiorespiratory- Training the cardiorespiratory system helps increase: Flexibility, performance, sense of well-being, blood lipids, insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance and immunity. It decreases: Fatigue, anxiety, depression, coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes (Type II), cancer, osteoporosis and obesity.

Core- Training the core helps to stabilize the spine. Core stabilization is the foundation upon which other types of training are built

Balance- Balance is the ability to sustain or return the body’s center of gravity over its base of support. It is the key to all functional movement.

Reactive- Reactive or plyometric training uses quick, powerful movements. It is designed to enhance neuromuscular efficiency, increase force production and improve eccentric strength

 Resistance- Resistance training is designed to produce changes that result in various strength  adaptations

Most traditional training programs do not emphasize:

  • Movements in all planes of motion
  • Concentric, eccentric and isometric muscle actions
  • Challenging the body’s ability to stabilize or balance itself
  • Challenging the cardiorespiratory system in an integrated fashion

Consequently,  traditional training methods, along with the ergonomic factors in the workplace, are significant contributors to the increased incidence of muscular dysfunction and increased injury.

Many people exercise with good intentions, but with misinformation and under poor direction.

If you have a chronic health condition such as: Obesity, diabetes, hypertension, elevated cholesterol,  osteoporosis, or are plagued by chronic neck, back or joint pain, an integrated exercise program  can be a key component in a plan to correct these conditions.

Do you follow an integrated exercise program?

About the Author

Dr. Geoff LecovinNaturopathic Physician/Chiropractor/Acupuncturist/Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist/Corrective Exercise Specialist/Performance Enhancement Specialist/Certified Sports Nutritionist/View all posts by Dr. Geoff Lecovin