A Introduction on Beginning to Exercise

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Exercise is a major element of a healthy lifestyle.  It improves overall fitness, improves stamina and reduces systemic inflammation that leads to heart disease and stroke. Despite popular belief, moderate exercise does not contribute to significant weight loss; nevertheless, the other healthful aspects of exercise make  it a really important aspect of a healthy lifestyle.

If you are already a grown-up and not regularly engaged in exercise, it is clear that you need a little push.  You need to make it fun- a sport that you enjoy, a class which introduces a social aspect, an exercise buddy- whatever it takes to help with a prolonged commitment.  

Exercise comes in two forms: aerobic exercise like running,biking or swimming and resistance  exercise such as lifting weights.  Aerobic exercises increase heart rate and move large muscles (such as the muscles in your legs and arms) . For most people-aerobic exercise should comprise the bulk of their routine.   Choose an activity that you enjoy; start slowly and increase gradually as you become used to it. Walking is very popular and does not require special equipment. Other good exercises include swimming, biking, jogging and dancing. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking instead of driving may also be a good way to start being more active.

Start off exercising 3 or more times a week for 20 minutes or more, and work up to at least 30 minutes, 5 times a week.  As you become more used to exercising, try to keep your heart rate at about 60% to 85% of your "maximum heart rate."  To figure out your target heart rate, subtract your age (in years) from 220. This is your maximum heart rate. Now, to calculate your target heart rate, multiply that number by 0.60 or 0.85.

For example, if you are 40 years of age, you would subtract 40 from 220, which would give you a maximum heart rate of 180 (220 - 40 = 180). Then you would multiply this number by either 0.60 or 0.85, which would give you 108 or 153 (180 x 0.60=108 and 180 x 0.85=153).

When you first start your exercise program, you may want to use the lower number (180 x 0.60=108) to calculate your target heart rate. Then, as your conditioning gradually increases, you may want to use the higher number (180 x 0.85=153) to calculate your target heart rate. Check your pulse by gently resting 2 fingers on the side of your neck and counting the beats for 15 seconds and multiply by four.  . Use a watch with a second hand to time the interval

Resistance exercises can be done on top of this for strength training or muscle sculpting. Push-ups and sit-ups are partly aerobic and partly resistance.  

The role of stretching in avoiding pain or injury is unclear.  The role of warming up; however, is crucial to avoid injury

Several years ago, it was demonstrated that 6 30-second intervals of maximal exercise per week was as good for fitness as 6 30-minute intervals of moderate exercise per week.  Maximal exercise would be akin to an all out sprint.  If you can talk afterwards, you did not give enough effort.  It is good to mix one or two 30-second intervals of maximal exercise amid, or after, the 30 minutes of moderate exercise.

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