HOW ESSENTIAL IS EXERCISE FOR KEEPING YOUR BODY FIT?
Physical Fitness can be measured in various aspects such as your balance, stamina, strength and flexibility. Regular exercise makes you fit, gives a general sense of well-being, improves appetite and sleep and makes the heart and circulation, lungs and respiration work more efficiently.
Regular exercise is vital to help maintain good health. Exercise burns up extra calories in food and reduces the likelihood of these being converted into fat. Exercise carried out for at least about 20 minutes three times a week is beneficial for the body.
Physical Fitness can be measured in various aspects such as your balance, stamina, strength and flexibility. It is often assessed by measuring heart rate after exercise. Fitness can also be measured in terms of the strength of specific muscles required to perform a task such as lifting weights. Optimal Physical fitness requires both aerobic exercise and muscle – strengthening exercises.
Research has shown that regular exercise 3 days a week gives a 15 percent boost in mental functioning.
WHAT TYPE OF EXERCISE SCHEDULE SHOULD I HAVE FOR OPTIMAL BENEFITS?
There are three main types of exercises that can be included in your exercise program. These are-flexibility, strengthening, and fitness.
- FLEXIBILITY EXERCISES
These involve stretching, loosening up and bending and help muscles and joints to perform their full range of movement with suppleness and ease. These exercises are beneficial to reduce stiffness and keep your joints flexible.
- STRENGTHENING EXERCISES
Include both flexibility and fitness exercises as well as the use of weights and specially designed equipments in a gym. These exercises help maintain or increase muscle strength, leading to firming up of the body and an improvement in posture.
- FITNESS EXERCISES
These help increase your endurance and stamina. Vigorous activities (Aerobic activities) such as brisk walking, jogging, cycling, dancing, and swimming along with many sports like football, tennis, badminton etc. improve fitness. The improvement can be seen after a few weeks of regular, fairly, hard exercise i.e. 30 minutes of aerobic activity every day. However, the level of fitness soon declines if the exercise regime is abandoned.
There are various types of activities that you could choose from to suit your life style and requirement.
WALKING: Walking is the best form of moderate exercise. Brisk walking helps circulation of blood throughout the body. Walking can help people avoid a heart attack, peel off pounds and even develop a hard body. An ideal walking schedule for beginners is 20 minutes 6 or 7days a week. As you develop endurance and loose weight increase your walking time gradually. If you don’t need to lose body fat, you can stay fit by walking 20 to 30 minutes 3 days a week.
RUNNING OR JOGGING : Running improves cardiovascular fitness, promotes endurance and stamina and gives complexion a super fit glow. However, over exertion can cause fatigue, insomnia and rapid heart beat after the exercise.
CYCLING : Cycling strengthens legs and thighs, heart and lungs and improve circulation. Fresh air, speed and sense of freedom allow the mind to soar. Ride at an even speed, instead of exhausting the energy by pedalling hard. The continual pumping action benefits the heart.
AEROBICS : This vigorous form of exercising which is generally accompanied with music, will slim you down and improve the efficiency of your heart, lungs and circulatory system.
SWIMMING : It tones all parts of the body symmetrically. The crawl, butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, all of them firm buttocks and thighs, broaden shoulders, slim torso and lift breasts. Swimming also gives a beautiful back and pressure tones the skin to a smooth polish.
TENNIS, BADMINTON AND SQUASH : These sports help develop strong buttocks and leg muscles, strengthen wrists, reflexes, eye hand co-ordination and foot work ability. Warm up before you play. Drink plenty of liquids after play.
Other daily activities like climbing stairs, gardening, carrying groceries etc all count towards moderate exercises which help in burning calories.
WHAT ARE THE BASIC PRINCIPLES FOR DESIGNING A FITNESS PROGRAME?
No standard set of exercises can be planned to suit each and every individual. The basic principles for an exercise schedule are:
- Evaluate your fitness level. Be certain that your exercise plan will not aggregate any chronic physical condition you may have, such as arthritis.
- Identify your specific goal whether you are aiming for weight loss or general fitness and so on.
- Set a specific time period, you want to allot to your programme
- Pick the exercise that uses skills different from those you may use at work.
- Consider choosing an activity you already enjoy or would like to try. If the activities are the ones you like, you’ll always be motivated to keep doing them.
- Plan an exercise programme that includes strength training as well as endurance (aerobic) activity.
- Begin exercise gradually and work up slowly to your desired level of fitness.
- Always perform your exercise with right posture techniques so as not to lay stress on any of your joints and to avoid injury.
- Use equipment that is the right size or weight for your level of skills and physical size.
- Begin each workout with a gradual warm up period that includes flexibility exercises (at least five minutes) and end your exercise with a cool down period gradually bringing your body back to rest. A good stretch can also help reduce post-exercise soreness.
- Be certain to get enough daily rest.
- Pay attention to your own body’s signals when they tell you to slow down.
- Never exercise after a heavy meal or after drinking alcohol. If you feel sick or dizzy, stop immediately.
- After and during exercise, prevent dehydration by drinking water.
- Aim to workout the whole body equally to make all groups of muscles strong. Otherwise weaker muscles may be prone to injury.
- Proper breathing pattern is an essential factor during workouts.
CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE STARTING ANY EXERCISE REGIMEN IF YOU ARE SUFFERING FROM ANY DISEASE- EVEN IF THE DOCTOR HAS ADVISED YOU TO EXERCISE.
WHAT ADVANTAGES WILL I DERIVE FROM EXERCISING REGULARLY?
Exercise is not only essential to remain fit and healthy but also to push away disease. It has been recognized now that most of the diseases are related to life styles and sedentary life style is the common cause. Exercises thus benefit the body and mind both- by keeping us fit and stress free. We derive following from the exercise:
- Improved motor skill
- Increased muscular strength
- Increased muscular flexibility
- Increased endurance
- Changed shape
- Weight control or weight loss
- Increased relaxation and improved moods.
- Helps to live longer.
- Some forms of weight- bearing exercises pumps Calcium into bones and helps to maintain their density and strength.
- Helps to lower blood pressure