FITNESS EXERCISES: UNDERSTANDING THE BASICS II


Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come (1 Timothy 4: 8 NLT)

Fitness can be defined as the state in which the body can perform up to its realisable potential.

Heart Rate

The heart rate is widely accepted as a good method of assessing the degree of aerobic activities such as running, swimming, cycling, et cetera. Exercises that don’t raise your heart rate to a certain level and keep it there for 20 to 30 minutes won’t contribute significantly to the cardiovascular fitness. The heart rates to maintain is called Target Heart Rate (THR). One simple way of computing your THR is by subtracting your age from figure 220. This would give you your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR). Subtract your Resting Heart Rate (RHR) from MHR to determine your Heart Rate Reserve (HRR). Take 70% of Heart Rate Reserve to determine Heart Rate Raise (HRRA). The addition of HRRA to your RHR would give you your target heart rate. Now the RHR can be determined by taking your pulse after sitting quietly for five minutes. Let us try to put it out on a formula:

MHR (220 – AGE) – RHR = HRR

70%(HRR) + RHR = Target Heart Rate.

The will to estimate your THR during walkouts is to take your pulse within five seconds of interrupting your exercise. Count the pulse for 10 seconds and multiply by 6 to get the per minute rate.

Fitness Exercise Programme

For your fitness exercise to be effective and well-rounded, it needs to be developed into a program. A program in the sense that it takes into consideration cardiovascular fitness, strength training, and flexibility, which are the three essential components of a fitness program. Note the following guidelines:

Be specific: Pick the right kind of activities to affect each component. For example, you don’t want to do push-ups as a way of enhancing your cardiovascular capabilities.

Overload: you need to walk hard enough, at levels that are vigorous and long enough to overload your body beyond its resting level, to bring about improvement.

Regularity: At least three balanced workouts are necessary for a week to maintain a desirable level of fitness.

Progression: Increase the intensity, frequency and/or duration of activity gradually over a period in other to improve.

Some activities can be used to fulfil more than one of your basic exercise requirements. For example, in addition to increasing cardiorespiratory endurance, running builds muscular strength in the legs. Similarly, swimming additionally develops the arms, shoulder and chest muscles. Selecting the proper exercise, therefore, may enable you to fit parts of your muscular endurance workout into your cardiorespiratory workout thereby saving time. An exercise program should be spaced out within the week, avoiding consecutive days of hard exercise. As a general rule, a workout should begin with a warmup and end with a cooldown. A warmup should last 5 to 10 minutes and consist of exercises such as slow jogging, walking, knee lifts, and circles or trunk rotations. Cardiorespiratory exercises should last for at least 20 minutes of continuous aerobic activity. The heart rate should be kept at this immediate target rate (as completed above). Other activities under this category include rowing, rope jumping, racquetball, handball and stair climbing. Muscle strengthening exercises should involve the major muscle groups. The speed of the exercises should be moderate to slow each repetition lasting approximately seven seconds, with an average of 8 to 12 repetitions or near muscle fatigue. These muscles exercises should be performed through a full range of motions of the adjacent joints and should be pain-free! The activities here include weightlifting, push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, et cetera. Stretching could last 5 to 10 minutes and could be added after a warmup or during a cooldown. This should be performed slowly without a bouncing motion. Each motion should last 15 seconds I repeated 3 to 5 times alternating sides. Do not stretch to the point of pain! The cooldown mainly consists of slow walking, low-level exercises combined with stretching.

Exercise and Weight Control

The trick to controlling your weight is to keep your energy intake (food) and energy output (physical activity) balanced. If you consume as many calories as your body needs, your weight would likely remain constant. If you take in more calories than required, the body will convert the excess calories into body fat. If, however, you expend more energy than you are taking, you will burn excess fat. Exercise plays a vital role in weight control by increasing energy output, calling on stored calories for extra fuel. The scope of exercise needed to make a difference in your weight depends on the amount and type of activity and on how much food is consumed. The combination of exercise and diet offers the most flexible and effective approach to weight control. Since muscle tissue weighs more than fat tissue, and exercise developed muscles to a certain degree, your bathroom scale may not necessarily tell you whether you are “fat.” Well-muscled individuals, with relatively little body fat, would invariably be “overweight” according to the standard weight charts. If you are doing a regular programme of strength training, your muscles will increase in weight, and possibly overall weight will increase. Body composition is a better indicator of your condition than body weight.

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