You cannot achieve fitness without exercise or exercise is necessary for fitness. You will protect your heart if you do a moderate level of physical activity throughout your life because regular exercise helps you keep fit.
People who are physically fit look good and feel good. A good exercise program will lengthen your life, improve your appearance, build self confidence and help delay the aging process.
Remember that you need to do something physical activity every day. If you don't use your joints, they'll tighten up with age to create the bent and worn out appearance associated with old age. People with arthritis experience less pain if they continue to keep their joints flexible. The joints remain flexible by doing regular exercise.
The exercises may be categorized based on the energy pathways that are utilized during exercise. Some exercises need oxygen while others do not need oxygen. Following two categories of exercises may be considered.
Aerobic means "with oxygen", so aerobic exercise is done in such a manner that the body requires large amounts of oxygen to generate energy. This involves moving the body slowly and smoothly. The muscles utilize oxygen to burn fat and glucose to produce energy. The exercise is performed at moderate levels of intensity for extended period of time.
Aerobic exercises include walking, jogging, running, dancing, swimming, skiing, rowing, etc. You can do aerobic exercises at home on an exercise bike, treadmill, etc.
The benefits of doing regular aerobic exercise
- Improving lungs by strengthening the muscles involved in respiration.
- Strengthening the heart, improving its pumping efficiency and reduce the resting heart rate, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Improving the blood circulation and reduce blood pressure.
- Increasing the number of red blood cells.
Walk 100 steps a minute for good health
Researchers at the School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, San Diego State University, recommend (the American Journal of Preventive Medicine) walking at more than 100 steps per minute on level terrain to meet the minimum of the moderate-intensity guideline.
Because health benefits can be achieved with exercise lasting at least 10 minutes, a useful starting point is to walk 1000 steps in 10 minutes. You can repeat thisw 3 times a day to build 3000 steps in 30 minutes.
Anaerobic means "no oxygen". The anaerobic exercise is performed at high levels of intensity for short period of time. During the anaerobic exercise, the muscles do not require large amounts of oxygen, but metabolizes muscle glycogen to produce power.
Anaerobic exercises involve resistance training or strength training and weight lifting.
One of the important advantages of anaerobic exercises is that these don't hurt the body joints as these are usually non-impact exercises.
Safe Exercise For You
The safest form of exercise is regular walking.
Other form of physical activities good for your heart that uses the large muscle groups are: running, jogging, swimming, bicycle riding, rowing, dancing, taking stairs, etc. While exercising, keep an eye on your Target Heart Rate.
- Spend 30 minutes each day in brisk walking.
- Park your car 10 minutes from work and walk. Make little changes in your habits.
- Get off the bus or train 1 or 2 stops early and walk that last part.
- Take the stairs instead of lift or escalators.
- Don't look for excuses for not doing any physical activity.
Researchers suggest people to walk 150 minutes a week, which is equivalent to 30 minutes each day 5 times a week.
Following is the new guidelines for exercise based on the exercise version of the food pyramid from the Health and Human Services Department.
- For aerobic activities, go at least 10 minutes at a time to build heart rate enough to count. You should be able to talk while doing moderate activities but should not be able to sing. With vigorous activities, you will be able to say only a few words without stopping to catch a breath.
- Adults should do muscle strengthening activities like weight training, push-ups, heavy gardening or carrying heavy loads for at least two days a week.
- Older adults who are still physically able to follow the guidelines should do activities that maintain or improve their balance.
- Children and teens must do muscle-strengthening activities like sit-ups, tug-of-war - and bone-strengthening activities such as rope jumping and/or skipping, three times a week.
- Children must do daily mostly moderate or vigorous aerobic activity, such as running, skateboarding, bike cycling or soccer for an hour.
Excuses For Not Doing Exercise
- I don't have the equipment. You can walk without any equipment. You need only a good quality of shoe pair.
- I don't have the time. Change your daily routine to keep 20-30 minutes for exercise. You can exercise at any time, not necessarily in the morning.
- I exercise on weekends. For best health, you need to exercise your heart and lungs regularly.
- I don't have the will power. If you do it, you'll enjoy it, and if you enjoy it, you'll do it. Walk with a friend, you will encourage each other.
Warning for those who exercise for the first time
Get advise from your doctor before starting an exercise program, particularly if you
- have heart disease
- are overweight
- have had a stroke
- have high blood pressure
- are a male over 35 years old or female over 45 years old.
If exercise causes discomfort, causes pain in your chest or your heart, makes you breathless or heart is breathing too fast, stop immediately and see your Doctor.
Before, during or after exercise (walking)
- Drink water before you start walking or exercising. Replace fluid during and after you exercise by drinking water or fruit juice. Do not drink too much water.
A study reported in New England Journal of Medicine in April 2005 says that drinking too much water can dilute blood's normal salt content, producing a condition known as hyponetremia. To know if you are drinking too much, weigh yourself before and after exercise. If you have gained in weight, you are drinking too much. To avoid this, you should drink while you are in motion. You should also empty your bladder before you drink a lot.
- Avoid drinks like tea, coffee or alcohol as these can cause your body to lose fluid.
- Wear comfortable clothing.
- It is very important to wear shoes made for walking or running, otherwise you may harm your leg bones as too much pressure is exerted on your leg bones during walking, jogging or running.
- Relax while you walk, take deep breaths, listen music or think about things you love or enjoy.
- Warm up or stretch before you start the activity, and cool down with stretching afterwards.