It’s exercise time. Where do we start? First we must understand what makes up a proper routine. We must do flexibility exercises. These give us the ability to move through a full range of motion comfortably and effectively and they are also crucial in helping to prevent injury. Dynamic stretching may be the best course that we can take in preparing the body for exercises. Dynamic stretches consist of active movements that send muscles and joints through their full range of motion. The mission of dynamic stretching is to increase muscle temperature and reduce stiffness to improve performance and to prevent injury. When performed properly , dynamic stretches improve agility and speed during a workout. Some useful dynamic movements are the High Knees, Free Squats, Leg swings, Mountain climber, free lunges, Jumping Jacks, Arm circles and crosses, Standing toe touches, on the spot jogging, and hip twists. These can be performed for about 10 to 12 minutes before training.
We have aerobic exercises, which allow us to burn fat and to strengthen our hearts and circulatory systems. Aerobics and endurance training change the number of mitochondria in our cells and thereby will increase the number of fat burning enzymes in the body. As we recall aerobic exercise is any movement performed at 65 to 85 percent of the maximum heart rate for at least 20 minutes that will provide cardio vascular fitness. Remember to maintain at least an inconsecutive day aerobic routine . The beneficial effects of aerobic exercise begin to dissipate within 48 hours.
Activities that may count as aerobic include brisk walking, running, bicycling, swimming, rowing, dancing, and hiking, just to name a few. The aerobic exercises can be static and continuous where after a period of warm-up, a specific speed or intensity is chosen and followed for the duration of the workout until the cool-down period.
For continuous aerobic training we can work with our training heart rate. First we find our resting heart rate. We do this by placing the index and middle fingers of one hand, on the radial pulse of the other hand. The radial pulse is found on the wrist, on the thumb side of either arm, directly in line with the thumb. When you are relaxed, check for 6 seconds and multiply by 10 to find for the minute. Use this RHR (resting heart rate) to calculate and monitor the training heart rate. This is the rate at which the heart should be beating during aerobic exercise for fat loss and cardiovascular fitness.
The formula is like this:
220 – Age – RHR x 65% or 85% + RHR
It is calculated exactly as written . The 220 minus age represents the maximum heart rate. An example would be , using the 65% level at 30 years old with RHR 72 :
- 220 – 30 – 72 x 65% + 72
- = 190 – 72 x 65% + 72
- = 118 x 65% + 72
- = 76.7 + 72
- = 148.7 BPM.
This could be rounded out to 149. Now every 10 minutes this person, while exercising aerobically, would monitor his radial pulse for 6 seconds and multiply the reading by 10 for the minute, to find out if they are meeting the 149 beats per minute target for fat loss and cardiovascular fitness.
There is another type of cardiovascular training technique though, that shifts from aerobic to anaerobic, at intervals throughout a specific period. This is called HIIT or High intensity interval training. After a period of warm-up, periods of highly vigorous exercise are separated with periods of recovery (lower-intensity exercise). The length of each of the vigorous intensity and recovery periods varies (vigorous is typically 30 seconds to 2 minutes in length, while recovery may be 1 to 3 minutes in length). Some intervals may go beyond vigorous intensity into “all-out” or “near-exhaustion” intensity.
By engaging in anaerobic exercise regularly, your body will be able to tolerate and eliminate lactic acid more effectively
Some benefits of HIIT exercises include, helping you burn more calories than traditional aerobic exercise or burn the same number of calories in a shorter space of time. Because of the intensity of the workout, HIIT can elevate your metabolism for hours after exercise. This results in burning more calories even after you have finished exercising. It can produce similar fat loss results compared to static endurance exercises, with a much smaller time commitment. HIIT can also reduce waist circumference. One may also gain some muscle by starting HIIT, because of the high intensity. High intensity interval training may be especially beneficial for those needing to reduce blood sugar and insulin resistance. Research has found these improvements in people with and without diabetes.
These are three examples of HIIT workouts:
- Using a stationary bike, you pedal as hard and fast as possible for 30 seconds. This will raise your heart rate close to the maximum training rate. Then, pedal at a slow, speed for 2–4 minutes. Repeat this pattern for 20–30 minutes.
- After jogging to warm up, sprint as fast as you can for about 15 seconds. Then, walk or jog at a slow pace for 1–2 minutes. Repeat this pattern for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Perform quick mini jumps as quickly as possible for 30–90 seconds. Then, stand or walk for 30–90 seconds. Repeat this pattern for 20 minutes.
Strength training is also important, and this gives us the ability to carry out daily tasks which require lifting, pushing, pulling and more with efficiency and it also prepares us for times of emergency. As we remember from previous articles, when we begin to exercise vigorously, there is a temporary shortage of oxygen getting delivered to our muscles. That means anaerobic exercise must be fueled using glucose through a process called glycolysis. Glycolysis occurs in muscle cells during anaerobic training, without oxygen, thereby producing energy quickly. This process also produces lactic acid, which is the reason why your muscles get so tired after the energy burst.
By engaging in anaerobic exercise regularly, your body will be able to tolerate and eliminate lactic acid more effectively. That means you’ll get tired less quickly.
These exercises tone up our muscles, and help to raise out metabolic rates . This also assists in weight management. Some great anaerobic exercises are Pushups, Chess Presses, Squats or Leg presses, Deadlifts, Power Lunges, Pullups or Lat pulldowns, Military or Shoulder Presses. Use enough weight to come to exhaustion within 8 to 12 reps per set. Do 3 to 4 sets. These exercises are to be done on inconsecutive days. giving the body enough time to rest and to grow muscle. (eg) Monday, Wednesday, Friday.
We then look at the cool down . We use passive stretches and then relax with deep diaphragmic breathing. The cool down, grounds us and eases the transition from training to every day life.
A cool-down provides the body with a smooth transition from exercise back to a steady state of rest.
The main goals of a cool-down is to reduce heart and breathing rates, gradually cool body temperature, return muscles to their optimal length-tension relationships, prevent venous pooling of blood in the lower extremities, which may cause dizziness or possible fainting, and restore body systems close to baseline. Some great cool down exercises and static stretches are (1) The Neck Roll (2) Shoulder pull across the midline. (3) Chest and Bicep Stretch (4) Triceps stretch (5) Side Stretch (6) Quadricep Stretch (7) Toe touch hamstring stretch (8) Butterfly Groin stretch (9) Calve stretch. Remember, these stretches are passive stretches and are best held in a static manner, without bouncing (Ballistic), for at least 20 to 30 seconds.
Practice proper breathing. Oxygen is an important factor in our energy release process. It is transported by our blood via our heart and lungs to our working muscles. The better we take in oxygen, the healthier and more efficient we become.
We must avoid breathing through our mouths. Nose breathing is much better. The nostrils act as a germ filter and also to dust and foreign matter to the lungs. The mouth does not give this protection. Begin inhaling gradually through the nostrils while cooling down. The abdominal area should begin to expand. Tis should fill the lower lung area. Continue inhaling until you feel the lower ribs and chest expand, This should correspond to the mid lungs. Finally inhale pushing forward and expanding the upper chest, filling the upper lungs. This breath should be done in deliberate movement, not broken in sequences. Hold the breath for a few seconds and then exhale slowly, keeping the upper body erect while exhaling and gradually relaxing. Exhale keeping the abdomen firm and lifted, then the lower ribs, then upper chest. Repeat 3 to 4 times and experience the tension release . Enjoy the after glow of your exercise routine.
The principle is, no matter how much we may know, we have to practice to experience the results. We have to make time to exercise, not find time. We must not drop out; the greatest rewards are in store for those that stick to it. Better health, great looks, more energy, more power, better self esteem, healthier moods and greater fun. These are just a few. Just persevere and see a stronger, healthier brighter you, now.