• Shruti GOCHHWAL

Exercise

Whether people participate in high-intensity exercises like weight training or uphill cycling, or light exercises, like going for a walk or jog, regular exercise provides an extensive range of benefits for the mind and body.

Engaging in an exercise of any intensity daily is important for avoiding a range of diseases and other health illnesses.

Let us see the different types of exercises and their advantages, as well as the considerations one needs to make before coming up with a fitness regime.

Types of Exercises

Exercises are of three major types:

  1. Aerobic

  2. Anaerobic

  3. Agility training

Let’s see each of these categories.

Aerobic exercise

Aerobic exercises aim to improve how the body utilizes oxygen. Most aerobic exercises are of an average level of intensity.

An aerobic exercise session includes warming up, exercising for 20 or more minutes, and then cooling down. Aerobic exercise generally uses big muscle groups.

The advantages aerobic exercises are:

  1. Increases muscle strength in the heart, lungs, and body

  2. Decreases blood pressure

  3. Increases blood circulation in the muscles

  4. Improves the red blood cell count to increase oxygen transportation

  5. Decreases the risk of stroke, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases (CVD)

  6. Increases life expectancy and symptoms for individuals with coronary artery diseases

  7. Decreases the risk of osteoporosis and stimulates bone growth when practised at high intensity

  8. Increases sleep hygiene

  9. Improves stamina by increasing the body’s capacity to store energy compounds, like carbohydrates and fats, within the muscle

Credits: Pexels Caption: A man doing some aerobic exercises at the beach

Anaerobic Exercises

Anaerobic exercises don’t utilize too much oxygen for energy. People use this type of exercise to boost strength, power, and muscle mass.

These exercises include high-intensity activities that usually don’t last longer than around 2 minutes. Examples of anaerobic exercises are:

  1. Weightlifting

  2. Sprinting

  3. Fast and intensive skipping using a rope

  4. Interval training

  5. Isometrics

Even though all types of exercises benefit the lungs and heart, anaerobic exercises provide lesser benefits for cardiovascular health compared to aerobic exercises and burn fewer calories. But, it is more effective compared to aerobic exercises for increasing muscles and improving strength.

Increasing muscle mass causes our body to burn more fat, even while resting. Muscle is the most suitable tissue for burning fat in our body.

Agility Training

The goal of agility training is to increase a person’s ability to maintain control while slowing down, speeding up, and changing direction.

For example, in squash, agility training helps the player maintain control over their court positioning through good recovery after every shot.

Caption: A man playing tennis Credits: Pexels

People who participate in sports that hugely rely on coordination, positioning, balance and speed, are advised to engage in agility training regularly.

Stretching and Flexibility

Some exercises combine muscle conditioning, stretching, and balance training. An effective and popular example is yoga.

Yoga postures improve flexibility, balance, posture, and circulation in our body.

Yoga originated in India several years ago and aims to unite the body, mind, and spirit. Modern yoga utilizes a combination of posture, meditation, and breathing exercises to achieve the same set of goals.

An individual looking to manage arthritis may need simple stretches to improve function and mobility. On the other hand, someone with depression might need more emphasis on the deep breathing and relaxation elements of yoga.

Pilates is yet another stretching method that enhances core strength and flexibility. Tai chi is also an efficient method for exercise that focuses on calm stretching rather than intensity.

What are the Risks of not Exercising?

An inactive lifestyle can increase the risk of health problems like:

• Cardiovascular disease

• Diabetes

• Cancer

• Osteoporosis

It may also contribute to an increased risk of premature death, including the complications of being obese and overweight.

In several parts of the world, the number of obese and overweight people continues to increase drastically.

According to a recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, that scientists conducted in 2013–2014 across the U.S., more than 2 in 3 adults are obese or overweight.

The same survey found that nearly 1 in 13 adults face extreme obesity and have an increased risk of severe health conditions.

What Keeps You from Exercising?

If you’re facing trouble starting an exercise plan or following one, you’re not alone. Several people struggle to move out of the inactive rut, despite their best intentions.

Caption: A lazy woman watching her laptop  Credits: Pexels

There are multiple good reasons to exercise — from improving mood, energy, health, and sleep to lowering stress, anxiety, and depression.

However, if knowing why and how to exercise was enough, most of us would be fit. Engaging in exercise regularly takes will and discipline! you need a smart approach and the right mindset.

While everyday situations like a tight schedule or poor health can make exercising regularly more challenging, for most of us, the greatest barriers are mental.

Maybe your motivation quickly declines or there’s a shortage of self-confidence that prevents you from taking positive steps, or you simply get discouraged and give up. Several of us have been there at some point in time.

Whatever your fitness level or age, even if you have never exercised a day, there are always some baby steps that you can take to make exercise more instinctive and fun.

Get Rid of the Negative Attitude

You need not spend hours in a gym or compel yourself into painful or tedious activities you hate to experience.

Keep in mind that a little exercise is better than none at all. Just adding fair amounts of physical activity to your daily routine can have a profound effect on your physical and mental health.

Be Easy On Yourself

Self-compassion increases the chances of you succeeding in any given endeavour. Thus, don’t beat yourself up about your current fitness level, your supposed lack of willpower.

That will only demotivate you. Rather, look at your unhealthy choices and past mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow.

Manage Your Expectations

You’re not going to immediately transform your body. Demanding too much, too soon can often lead to frustration. Try not to get discouraged by how far you have to go to reach your fitness goals or what you can’t accomplish.

Rather than obsessing over results, focus on consistency. While the improvements in energy and mood levels may happen quickly, the physical change will come in time.

How to Find Time to Exercise?

Fitting exercise into a tight schedule can setback a successful regime. However, you don’t need to allot a large amount of extra time to exercise to experience the benefits.

Let’s look at a few tips for fitting physical activity in a tight schedule:

  1. Replace car journeys with cycling or walking. If not feasible, try parking a few meters away from the destination and walk the final bit.

  2. People who travel by public transport can try getting off their train or bus a few stops early and walk the rest of the way.

  3. Instead of taking elevators or escalators, try walking up and down the stairs.

  4. Try to reduce the amount of time spent watching television and avoid binge-watching TV shows. Also, while watching television, simple exercises, like jumping jacks or stomach crunches, can help a person include physical activity in their day.

  5. If you enjoy playing video games, consider playing games that implement a physical activity, like exercise routines on a Nintendo Wii.

  6. Gardening, vigorous housework, and going up and down the stairs while doing chores also count as physical activity.

Caption: People cycling and walking in a park  Credits: Pexels

You will gain the most benefit from exercises that fit your lifestyle. The examples listed below are the simplest to fit into a daily routine:

  1. Go for a brisk half-an-hour walk at least five times every week.

  2. Go for walks with your friends or walk your dog more often.

  3. Try adding swimming to your weekly routine.

  4. Take part in exercise classes that are collaborative, fun, and educational.

  5. Take membership of a martial arts club. Beginner’s classes can be fun and gentle.

Exercise is usually a gradual learning curve. An individual should spread sessions across the week and scale up the intensity gradually.

It is crucial to drink plenty of water during and after exercising. Consulting a doctor is a good precaution to take if you have a health condition or injury that can impact exercise levels.

Although a combination of anaerobic and aerobic exercise provides the maximum benefit, any exercise type is better than nothing especially for people who have an inactive lifestyle.

Guidelines

Whether an exercise is low, moderate, or dynamic intensity level varies according to your fitness level. Yet, as a general guideline:

  1. Low intensity: You can speak in full sentences, or sing.

  2. Moderate intensity: You may be able to speak in full sentences, but not sing.

  3. Dynamic intensity: You get breathless to speak in full sentences.

For individuals, an exercise of moderate intensity is enough to enhance your overall health. You could breathe a little more than usual and your body might feel warmer.

Present U.S. guidelines recommend that people practice at least one of the following:

  1. 150–300 or more minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week

  2. 75–150 or more minutes of dynamic intensity, aerobic physical activity

  3. A combination of the above two types of exercise

While committing to these goals, you should remember that even 10-minute bursts of physical exercise during the day can provide health benefits.

Tips for Beginners

Caption: Exercising with friends is a great way to start  Credits: Pexels

Exercise can be a tough ritual to maintain for a few people. Follow the mentioned tips to achieve long-term benefits:

• Have a Set Goal

Be it for health reasons or otherwise, always try to keep in mind the reason you began increasing your exercise levels.

• Find Your Pace

Exercising too much too quickly could increase the possibility of injury and the chance to build a stable routine. Set targets based on the goals you had at the beginning of the regimen and laud even small wins to increase confidence.

  1. Have Fun!

A regimen is more successful if a person enjoys the activities it involves.

• Exercise With a Friend

If you exercise with a friend or join a fitness club with your friend, you may like the sessions more. However, this depends on you.

• Trainers and Teachers

People looking to step up their routine or just beginning a regimen can benefit from a personal teacher or trainer. They can provide guidance and motivation, helping people stay motivated and track their goals.

• Keep Changing Your Routine

Modify your exercise session every few weeks. Altering it can help you work on different muscle groups and thus enhance the range of benefits.

If you enjoy one particular activity, like running, try modifying the distance and speed of a run, or take a different route.

Despite enjoying exercise sessions, you may notice that you eventually lose interest in it. That’s the time to ramp things up and implement something new or modify the way you pursue the exercises that have worked so far.

The advantages of regular exercise are wide-reaching and should be a part of everyone’s day to help them remain healthy.

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