The guide below is for those who are beginning to exercise. Once in shape, they may want to look at interval training. www.lntervaltrainine.net Include cardiovascular and resistance training, along with mobility exercises and stretching, in your exercise program for balance.
Cardio— “Let your heart be the guide.”
This can be taught to anyone and it gives people an easy starting point for exercise. The target heart rate zone is determined based on age, and there will be a graph that comes with the heart rate monitor.
Start with increasing the heart rate 40% for 30 minutes, 2-3 times per week. When that becomes easy or the person is ready to move to the next level, increase to 60% heart rate for 40 minutes 2-3 times per week and then, finally, 80% heart rate 2-3 times a week for 50 minutes. Exercise that is too intense or too long (over 50 minutes) will cause the body to release cortisol, which is released in reaction to stress. The body will then hold onto weight. A heart rate monitor lets you enjoy the benefits of exercise, doing whatever you enjoy (e.g., walking, biking, swimming, hiking, running, etc.). Monitoring your heart rate ensures that you will have an effective workout without stressing the body.
Some of the many benefits of cardiovascular exercise:
- Gets the lymphatic system moving
- Improves bowel movements and sleep patterns
- Detoxification increases in every organ of the body
- Strengthens and tonifies the heart (“If you don’t use it you lose it.”)
- Keeps the body producing hormones that slow the aging process
- If done properly, helps to balance pH (use a heart rate monitor)
What is resistance training? It is done through the use of weights, weight machines in a gym, circuit training, resistance bands and exercise balls, yoga, etc., basically using your muscles against the force of gravity, oftentimes with an external load. When we apply resistance to a muscle, it responds by building more muscle if the resistance is of sufficient stress.
Ever wonder why elderly people end up with soft, saggy tissue? One of the reasons is poor assimilation of protein in the diet. The body is made up of protein; DNA, molecules, cells, tissues and muscle are based on protein. If there is inadequate protein consumption or poor assimilation, the body will pull protein from the synovial fluid in the joints, from lean muscle mass, etc. Again, if you don’t “use it” and supply it with needed nutrients, you ~lose it” — muscles diminish in the body. For the body, it is costly to maintain muscle mass as it is metabolically expensive.
Think about it. Muscle tissue is highly vascularized and metabolically active. This means it requires a bunch of nutrients to maintain it, and it is nutrient dense in and of itself. While being very valuable, the body only cares about finding the easiest way to preserve life today, and for the body, muscle tissue is an expendable resource when compared to vital organs such as the brain, heart, liver, pancreas, etc. It costs a lot for the body to maintain it on its own, and so without giving the body a reason to maintain muscle mass via controlled stress (think exercise), the body simple will begin to break it down. The body has to keep the brain, heart, liver, pancreas, etc. working, but skeletal muscle is under voluntary control. Use it or lose it.
In current research, skeletal muscle is viewed as a valuable nutrient depot to “dispose” of glucose and fats. Thus it is vital in preventing and reversing chronic disease, many of them characterized by high circulating blood fats and blood glucose. Using muscle and using it consistently makes the muscle become like a sponge to absorb this excess energy.
Resistance training helps to maintain and rebuild lean body mass or muscle after damage. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate, which means you can eat more food if desired, but detoxification properties will work better as well. Exercise forces more blood through your organs, blood which can absorb and carry waste products. When more blood is routed to the liver, detoxification is enhanced.
For maximum benefit, do resistance training 2 to 3 days per week with a rest day in between. Of course you can do more or less, but it is always about the quality of the workout — how much effort, true effort was put into it.
Never forget the law of progressive overload. As the body adapts to the workout you have been doing, new stressors have to be introduced to force new adaptations that yield greater health. The variables to play around with are intensity, frequency, exercise selection and activity selection. Find something you love to do so that you can stick to it, but keep progressing for optimal health benefits. Experiment, and try new activities. Learn a sport. Exercise will prove to be an indispensable therapy in the future for all who aspire to greater physical and mental well-being.
This should be done at the end, not at the beginning, of an exercise program when the ligaments and tendons are nice and warm. Dynamic mobility exercises are a better choice for a good warm-up. Ask a qualified therapist or trainer for instruction. Do your research.