Exercise: of what type and how much?

Why should I exercise?

Exercise is beneficial at any age. Regular physical activity can also halve your risk of coronary heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and some cancers. It can also reduce the risk of osteoporosis, which causes the bones to become brittle and easily break, as well as relieve low back pain and mitigate the stiffness and pain of osteoarthritis.

Exercise is also good for the mind. People who introduce regular physical activity into their routine are in a better mood, sleep better, have lower levels of stress and anxiety and perceive positive changes in their own concept. For some people with depression, physical activity can be as effective as following a treatment or taking medication.

How much exercise is enough?

The recommended healthy level of physical activity is 30 minutes of moderate exercise for at least five days a week. Moderate refers to it being enough to stimulate the heart and lungs to make it stronger. That is, you have to breathe faster, with a higher heart rate and you will also feel warm.

What kind of exercise?

The type of exercise to choose will depend on the current physical form and health status, and those that are intended to be achieved. For example, if you are trying to lose weight, it is best to do moderate aerobic exercise such as walking, running, or biking. And the more you do, the more calories you will burn and the more weight you will lose.

The key to getting the maximum benefit from the exercise is regularity. The best way to do this is to make exercise part of the daily routine, for example by going to work on foot or by bicycle. Try not to see the exercise as a burden and choose something that is enjoyed, whether walking, playing football or dancing.

A balanced approach to different types of exercise

Different types of exercise are beneficial to your health in different ways. The best way to ensure a global fitness is to incorporate each of these elements into your exercise routine.

  • Aerobic exercise

To keep your heart healthy, you need to do aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise is an activity that uses oxygen, increases the heart rate and leaves you slightly out of breath. Helps maintain heart, lungs, blood vessels and healthy muscles. Combined with a balanced diet, aerobic exercise is the best way to maintain a healthy weight. Some of the most aerobically efficient activities are walking or biking.

You should try to exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes five times a week. Adjust the intensity of the exercise according to your goal. If you have not exercised for a long time or if you have an illness, you should talk to your GP before you start. If you are not feeling well when you exercise, you should stop and visit your GP as soon as you can.

If you just want to keep your heart healthy and reduce your risk of disease, you only need to raise your heart rate slightly when you exercise (50 to 60 percent of your cap) to be beneficial to you. Maximum heart rate is calculated by subtracting 220 from age in years, for example, the maximum heart rate of a 50 year old person would be 170 beats per minute (ppm). So a healthy heart rate for someone of this age would be between 85 and 102 ppm, which would amount to a “moderate” exercise that would also feel hot and breathless.

However, you will need to increase your exercise intensity a bit more if you want to burn more calories, for example, if you are trying to lose weight, still further benefit the heart and actually improve your fitness. Try to get a heart rate of 60 or 80 percent of your maximum cap. So in the example of the 50 year old, the target would be between 102 and 136 ppm.

One way to measure your pulse is to pause briefly during activity, count the pulse at the wrist for 15 seconds and multiply it by four. Then continue exercising, adjusting the intensity of the exercise if you require it. Try to start gently and then gradually increase the intensity. As you get more fit, you will realize that you need to work harder to reach your target heart rates. This is a good sign that your body is becoming more efficient at using oxygen.

  • Strength Training

A balanced exercise program should include strength training, which helps the muscles not contract and gives a more toned appearance to the body. In addition, muscle burns more calories than inactive tissue, so developing the muscles will help maintain a healthy weight.

Strength training involves moving your muscles against some kind of resistance, so you will also hear what you call resistance training. You can use elastic bands, free weight (like weights), weight lifting machines or your own body weight. Try doing some strength training two or three times a week. Find a weight that allows you to do a series of eight to ten exercises. A general workout should include two or three exercises for the upper body and two or three for the bottom plus abdominal exercises.

  • Flexibility Exercises

Muscles that do not stretch regularly have the risk of becoming shorter and less elastic. This reduces the range of motion in the joint and increases the risk of injury from tears and pulls. Try to include some flexibility exercises in your exercise plan two or three times a week. With these you should stretch all the major muscles of the upper and lower body.

Yoga, pilates and tai chi include many exercises that focus on flexibility and agility. They consist of stretching and relaxing the body in different positions and maintaining the postures with the help of conscious breathing. They can help increase flexibility and strength as well as encourage relaxation and improve circulation, balance and posture.

Exercising Safely
To exercise safely, go gradually getting into a routine. Start with moderate exercise for brief periods and increase intensity and duration as you get more fit.

You should warm up before you start exercising to increase blood flow to your muscles and reduce the risk of injury. A warm-up usually involves some low-intensity exercise for five to ten minutes, followed by stretching exercises. It should also cool down at the end of the session by gradually reducing the intensity and re-stretching the muscles. It is important to keep the body hydrated, so drink enough water before, during and after exercise to replenish the fluids you lose when you sweat. This will vary depending on the person and the climate in which you are.

You may feel some pain after intense exercise, but if you feel it while exercising, you may want to stop. Visit your GP to see if everything is OK. You should also check with your primary care physician before starting a new exercise program if you have heart disease, hypertension, joint pain, diabetes, if you are recovering from an illness or if you are pregnant.

Key points you need to know when practicing:

  • Try to do at least 30 minutes of activity at least five days a week.
  • Moderate aerobic activity is enough for your health to benefit.
  • You may need to exercise more if you want to get in shape.
  • You may need to exercise up to 90 minutes a day to maintain weight loss.
  • It should also include strength and flexibility workouts two or three times a week.



  • Jalene (#)
    April 25th, 2017

    Action requires knedoewgl, and now I can act!

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