ALL ABOUT EXERCISES AND THEIR BENEFITS
Consult your doctor before embarking on any exercise program
Modern Life Style:
One of the prices that we are paying for the modern life style is “profound inactivity” in our daily life. Industrial revolution brought in the system wherein people work for large industries and their corporate offices. Those who worked for themselves or in industries preserved the manual activities to some extent. But those people working in offices and shops gradually have gotten used to sedentary life styles. Other facilities like remote controls, garage door openers, and pilot lights in stoves etc went further in people taking to chairs and becoming couch potatoes.
Our bodies are used to and made to have regular activities. In olden days there were no gyms and they were not necessary either, because people would do enough activities during the day. People used all body muscles to do hard work almost all day. They walked long distances because the fastest ride used to be a horse or camel. As the sedentary life set in late 1800s, people got used to inactivity. This probably has become the cause of many diseases like cardio vascular diseases, diabetes, obesity etc. We need to correct our life styles and get back to activities through sports or exercises to maintain our health.
Popularity of Fitness clubs:
It seems that the fitness gyms started sometime around 1950s. By that time the sedentary life styles started creating adverse effects on the health. Public awareness increased with the medical advice. Those who were used to doing a lot of manual work did not need this. But those who were working in offices needed such facilities.
Benefits of any exercises;
Exercise of any kind will help circulation of blood in the body and will generally make you feel good. If nothing else a stroll or a walk in the neighborhood for about half an hour a day will help. If you are overweight or have tendency to be obese, or have diseases like coronary artery, blood pressure, diabetes, burning calories by cardio exercises and resistance exercises are important and makes your muscle better tuned for insulin by reducing insulin resistance.
Objectives of work out and fitness activities:
To keep body active
To lose weight
To increase heart rate to a maximal level
To replace fat in muscles with more and larger muscle fibers containing protein
To reduce insulin resistance in muscle for better utilization of glucose
To meet above objectives usually two different types of workouts are suggested; Let us try and understand the details of such exercises.
Objective of cardio exercise is twofold,
a) To burn calories: You need to have some goal of burning calories every day. I burn about 150 calories in about 20 to 30 minutes on a trade mill.
b) To increase heart rate within a safe range: This is important to understand thoroughly, because otherwise, you may do more harm than good. You must have a pulse meter on the machine and keep the heart rate checked. Some people use old method of counting pulse in neck artery during exercise for ten seconds and multiply by six to get heart rate per minute. There is a generic formula that can be used by almost all. However, those with heart conditions must check with their doctors for their ideal maximum heart rate. Formula is 220 – (minus) your age = Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) that you should ever reach. If you have heart conditions you must get advice of your doctor. To start with you may reach upto 80% of MHR and gradually over few weeks reach upto to 90% of the MHR. For example I am 70, so 220 minus 70 = 150 may be my MHR. I stay between 120 and 135. 120 is 80% and 135 is 90% of 220, which is MY MHR. You must calculate yours.
In my personal case, while doing cardio exercise, after a little warm up, I start on the tread mill with maximum incline (which is usually 15) and a slow speed of 3 miles per hour. As my heart rate rises to my MHR of 120 to 135, I reduce the speed to 2.5 miles and then if necessary also reduce incline to keep the heart rate within my predetermined range.
I see many persons running at 5 or 6 miles an hour with zero incline. They may be training for marathon run or championships. I do not intend to run any marathon do not wish to damage my joints at high speeds of running. So, if 2.5 miles raises my heart rate to my MHR range with proper incline, I do not see any reason to run faster.
Resistance exercises or weight training exercises:
Purpose of such exercises is to build muscle by replacing fat with muscle that contains protein. It is claimed that protein keeps on burning calories even when at rest. Whether that is true or not, good muscles surely make you look good and make you feel nice. More important though is the fact that the muscle fibers subjected to resistance exercises somehow become more sensitive to insulin and hence help you control your blood sugar and diabetes.
Objective: Build and Develop Muscles, Push weights, Pull weights, Lift weights; any activity that you normally do for a little while, if it is prolonged over a period of time is generally the resistance or muscle building exercise. This is perhaps simpler way of explaining the resistance exercise, but I believe in simplistic definition and it is generally true.
1. You must ensure that you do the activity only long enough to make your muscle ache or burn and no more. If it is prolonged it may cause tear of muscle fiber and hurt you.
2. You must also not to exercise the same group of muscles for about 48 hours, so that they have enough time to repair and regenerate the injury of stress from exercises.
To achieve this you need to use maximum weight and do 10 to 15 repetitions in each set and do 3 to 6 sets depending on your fitness.
Do you need to join the fitness clubs? ;
To accomplish your objective of becoming active, burn calories and have muscle training you do not need to join the fitness club, unless you are planning to be an athlete and compete in championships. However, it is true that if you go to gym, people working out there will motivate you to do your exercises daily. Same or similar beneficial exercise can be done at home with stretch rubber bands, dumbbells, weights, pushups and similar exercises.
Bottom line is that we all must get out of inactivity and sedentary life style imposed on us by the modern life style. I wish you success to protect yourselves from many unwanted diseases.