Exercise is an important part of keeping a person healthy. Exercise can take on many forms: walking, household chores, gym activity, running—some of these will be low stress, some of them would be high stress. Many people make the mistake of doing too much exercise thinking that more is more. Many also push past what their bodies are capable of, leading to injuries. Exercise is good, but everybody must bear in mind that exercise must be approached sensibly.
If you have spent most of your time being inactive, your body must first be acclimated to being active before taking on high stress exercise. It would not be wise to go from a state of inactivity to lifting heavy weights or running a marathon. It just doesn’t work that way. Just like athletes have to train for years and years before embarking on the Olympics, so should us mere mortals start from simple exercises before going on ambitious routines. Start by introducing low-stress activities to your body such as walking or a light jog, stretching, lifting hand weights or doing easy laps on the pool. If you plan on joining a gym, it is also important to engage the help of a fitness instructor to get you through your introductory regimen. Never take on a gym routine by yourself as this could cause damage—many exercise routines have a science to it which can only be done properly under the guidance of trained professionals.
There are two kinds of exercise: aerobic exercise and resistance training. Aerobic exercises are those that involve large muscle groups and the exercise makes your lungs and heart work harder. This type of exercise is done for a longer period of time and is good for cardiovascular health as well as for losing weight. Resistance training or anaerobic exercise is that which targets specific muscle groups, usually done while stationary, this builds up muscle tone and mass and can benefit the body by improving strength and coordination.
People embarking on aerobic exercise should take time to warm up and do stretches. This helps ensure that they condition their bodies to prevent tearing muscles and the slow buildup increases the heart rate. The conditioning exercise is the main part wherein the heart rate is built up and maintained. This should then be followed by a cool down exercise to bring the heart rate back down and to lessen the chance of injury. People embarking on anaerobic exercise should ideally engage the help of a fitness trainer, or in the absence of such, should stick to low impact resistance training.
The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes a week of exercise which can be spread over a 3-7 day period. This means that a person can for instance do 30 minutes of exercise a day for five days of the week. It would do well to keep track of your progress such as taking note of improvements in endurance, any increase on the rate and distance your run, or any weight or inches off the waistline you’ve lost. Seeing your progress will be motivational in keeping you going.
If you feel any adverse effects from exercising, stop and consult your doctor. Don’t push your body if it’s telling you that something might be wrong, otherwise you might be doing more harm than good. If you experience irregular heartbeats, chest pains, prolonged shortness of breath, dizziness, weakness or unexplained weight gain or swelling in the body, consult with your doctor right away. If you are in a compromised situation i.e. you have type 2 diabetes or heart problems, consult with your doctor before embarking on any fitness regimen.