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Exercise

Everybody should exercise. Daily. Why?

Because in this modern, technology-driven world, we have become extremely Sedentary! We take the elevator or escalator, drive in a car / bike to work, get our groceries delivered at our doorstep etc! Compare with our grandparents’ generation when they would walk / cycle to work, walk to the market to buy groceries, walk far to get water etc.

Add to our sedentary lifestyle the easy availability & affordability of highly palatable & processed foods which lead us to eat more than we need. Is it any surprise then that our generation has the maximum rates of obesity and lifestyle diseases? 

Hence, exercise is essential for people of all ages to maintain a fit body and stay away from diseases.

  1. Cardiovascular exerciseAny activity that raises the heart rate 

Exercise are divided into aerobic and anaerobic exercises.

In aerobic exercises, there is increase in heart rate and breathing which is sustained over a long period. Examples re running or brisk walking, swimming, cycling, stair climbing, Zumba, rowing, high intensity sports like tennis, squash, football etc.

Low intensity exercises like leisurely walking, playing with kids or gardening etc are helpful for those who are starting new or elderly. These do contribute to health benefits, but the intensity is low and attempts should always be made for more vigorous exercises. 

Regular aerobic exercise results in numerous health benefits like improvement in lipid profile (like cholesterol, triglyceride), blood pressure and obesity. It reduces risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. 

In anaerobic exercises, there are quick bursts of energy and it is performed at maximum effort over a short time. Examples are jumping, sprinting, burpees, or lifting weight over short time.   

If you are new to exercise, start slow and gradually build up to the goal. E.g. start at 10 minutes of walking/running and gradually increase to 45 minutes/day. 

If same thing done continuously over weeks & months, the body ADAPTS & does not burn as many calories!

It is important to increase the effort, add variations / combinations, High-Intensity-Interval-Training (HIIT), etc. 

DO NOT overdo cardio.

  • HIIT (Crossfit) – 2-3 times a week.
  • Moderate intensity cardio (Jogging, treadmill, elliptical) – 3-4 times a week. 
  • LISS (Low Intensity Steady State) cardio – Try to get as much as you can.
  1. Strength trainingany activity that puts strain on muscles.

The muscles in the body are responsible for our metabolic rate. The body maintains the muscles as per its requirement.

If we do not use the muscles, we gradually lose them and they are burned for energy and the result is a flabby, loose body (not toned and healthy). 

Body weight exercises (Yoga, Pilates), free weights or machines – all are good & equally effective, provided they challenge the muscles. 

The benefits include weight loss, strengthening of bones and builds muscles. More muscle means higher metabolic rate. 

  • BeginnerMachines are easier as the range of movement is defined & weight can be adjusted according to strength.
  • Intermediate to advanced – Can proceed to Free weights, Barbells etc once they’ve learned the proper form.  
  • Body weight exercises – Calisthenics, Yoga, Pilates etc – MANY variations possible, from very easy to extremely difficult – Choose accordingly.

Women do not need to be afraid of heavy weights. You will NOT put on any bulk like men (Women have 20 times less Testosterone than men. Plus, it’s NOT an easy task).

Always use weight with which you can do 8-12 repetitions. If it’s too light & you can do 15-20 or more repetitions with ease, it’s time to increase the weight / resistance.

Very light weights & many repetitions DO NOT put the necessary strain on muscles, rather may be harmful for joints, apart from being a waste of your workout time. Stay away from such light exercise which does not even raise your heart rate.

Recommendations:

Recommended exercise duration for adults aged 18 – 65 years         (for general fitness & maintenance) – 

150-180 mins / Week Moderate-intensity exercise (= 30 mins * 5 times a week)

OR

75 mins / week Vigorous exercise.

(These are basic minimum recommended levels. Obviously, a combination of proper Diet & Regular Exercise is required is one needs to lose fat).

TO calculate how many calories you burn with any particular activity, go to this link:

<script type=”text/javascript” async id=”calories-burned-calculator” data-type=”verywell-tool” data-vertical=”verywellfit” src=”https://www.verywellfit.com/static/4.139.0/components/tools/calculators/iframe-embed/embed.min.js?id=calories-burned-calculator”></script>

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