Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Exercise for Healthy Life

Few healthy habits, if followed daily, lead to a healthy life. Most people are aware of the significance of exercise, but are constrained by their busy schedules, due to which they cannot spare time to exercise. But wow! Wait a minute.

The truth is that being physically fit and having a healthy body does not involve countless hours of exercises and rigorous fitness regime. Exercise is no longer about getting hot & sweaty. Yes, believe me, it is true.

For instance, taking your dog for a walk everyday or for that matter, climbing the stairs to your 3rd floor apartment, is a fantastic yet simple means of aerobic exercise. Likewise, small sessions of twenty minutes of exercise are good enough for you to be physically fit.

So, GET READY & GET STARTED! Say yes to exercise at least 5 days a week!

Which are the exercises that improve health & physical fitness?

While talking about fitness, we refer to three main types of exercises:

  1. Aerobic

  2. Muscular strengthening and endurance

  3. Body flexibility

It is very important to know that all of these three types of exercises are an integral part of any exercise protocol. Any exercise protocol would be incomplete without any one of these. Let us understand these three main types of exercises that improve cardiovascular fitness, strengthen the muscles and improve flexibility.

Aerobic exercises:

These are extended activities which make you breathe hard using your large muscle groups at a regular and even pace. Walking, Swimming, Jogging, Dancing and Gardening are some of the common aerobic exercises that improve your body's Oxygen consumption. It strengthens & enlarges the heart muscles, improving its pumping efficiency, thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems. It also reduces the risk of diabetes, cancer and many other ailments.

Typically one should start with any of the above mentioned aerobic exercises combined with the strengthening program. These aerobic exercises should be practiced on alternate days and should be started with warm up stretches and end by cool down exercises or stretches.

Strengthening/Resistance Exercises:

These exercises are a critical component of any fitness program. As we age, it becomes even more important to offset age related declines in the muscle and bone mass which lead to osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, osteomalacia, etc. The strengthening exercises strengthen your muscles and help in burning calories.

Most importantly, these exercises increase and maintain your muscle mass which in turn strengthen the bones, ligaments & tendons. All these ultimately reduce the risk of injury and many other clinical conditions like diabetes, osteoarthritis, cardiac problems, etc.

-“Strengthening exercises are no longer limited to lifting heavy weights".  Now-a-days, many specialized tools like Therabands, Swiss balls and Weight cuffs are used for strengthening muscles. Exercise with the Theraband allows you to add resistance in multiple directions, something which free weights & machines can't do. The bands also prove to be perfect travel workout tools. Exercise with the Swiss balls not only strengthens the muscle, but also improves balance & coordination.

So without spending countless hours at a gym, you can strengthen your muscles by Theraband, Swiss ball & Weight cuff at your convenience.

Flexibility Exercises:

These exercises help to increase or maintain an adequate range of motion in the joints. Stretching and Yoga are two common types of flexibility exercises.

Stretching: It should always be performed before the aerobic & strengthening exercise to elevate body temperature and increase the flow of blood to the muscles which will boost muscle flexibility, reduce the risk of injury & most important reduce the risk of muscle soreness.

It is always advised to stretch the major group of muscles you are working on. One should at least perform 4 repetition of each stretch with a holding period of 10 counts.

Yoga: Yoga is another way to stretch your body while also working on balance and stress relief. Adding yoga to your routine a few times a week is a nice compliment to strength training and aerobics, giving you a gentle and soothing way to work your body and mind.

What next?

Studies have reported that EXERCISE TRAINING can increase self-confidence and body image.  Once results are noticeable, people tend to continue with their routine workouts because they have an improved self-image.

So, the mantra for coming months is Keep Exercising!

From the desk of your health manager,

Dr. Khushboo Bhagat

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