Health Topics

Healthy Living

September 2010
Fitness Focus
Karen Campos Bhatia
When your cell phone, Laptop or TV breaks down you rush to the service centre and follow up enthusiastically, but when your body breaks down, why don’t you rush to the gym?

We all tend to get lazy when we think of getting fit, we want the end result but we don’t want to work towards it. You might be thinking, it’s not your fault your body just won’t get fit whatever you do. But, have you ever thought of whether what you’re doing is the right way about?

Let me break down an exercise regime for you.The three primary elements of a good exercise regime are

Cardio Vascular Exercise
Exercises that involve large muscles like your legs and help make your heart and lungs stronger. Cardiovascular exercise has lots of health benefits like lowering your blood pressure, and also it can burn lots of calories; for those of you who want to lose weight. One way to measure the amount of exertion while exercising is by monitoring your heart rate. Your 'target heart rate zone' is a range of heart rate that is considered to be the best rate to be in, to give your heart a good workout. This range is between 50 percent and 85 percent of your maximum heart rate.
    • For women:
      226 - (your age) = your maximum heart rate
    • For men:
      220 - (your age) = your maximum heart rate
    For cardiovascular exercise, your best options are:
    • Brisk walking outdoors, jogging and running on safe surfaces.
    • Variety of cardiovascular aids in gyms like a treadmill, elliptical, cross trainer, wave machine and other low impact cardio machines.
    • Dance classes, aerobics classes, belly dancing and other such fun activity designed for exercise.

Strength Training
It is the use of resistance to muscular contraction to build the strength, anaerobic endurance, and size of skeletal muscles. There are many different methods of strength training, the most common being the use of gravity or weight/elastic/hydraulic forces to oppose muscle contraction. The other more interesting ways of strength training are ashtangayoga, body balance workouts, martial arts, rock climbing and any natural means of utilising your own body weight repetitively to build strength. However the size of a muscle is not always indicative of its strength.

Flexibility Training
This is the most neglected form of exercise, however the most important. In general terms, flexibility has been defined as the range of motionabout a joint and its surrounding muscles during a passive movement. Passive in this context simply means, no active muscle involvement is required to hold the stretch. Instead, gravity or a partner provides the force for the stretch. Flexibility improves muscular power, muscular elasticity, thereby preventing injuries and allowing the body to be more pliable and resistant against impact, accidents etc. Individual muscular stretches,yoga, pilates and other similar forms promote flexibility.

How do you design a proper workout for maximum fitness?
  1. First consider all medical conditions, injuries, surgeries, health risks and eliminate the forms of exercise not suitable for you.
  2. Allocate your days for exercise in a week and plan the routine per day. 
  3. Make sure your workout time is only a total of one hour and 5 days a week.
  4. Identify a good gym using international fitness standard equipment, you should research the brands so you are sure the bio mechanics used are good (Nautilus, Techno Gym, Life Fitness, Star Trac, Precor etc are some good brands).
  5. Make sure to check your trainer’s certificates and ensure they are accredited like ACE, ACSM, Reebok or any known credible certifying authority, not a certification given by the gym they work for.
  6. Identify your goals and get started.
Karen Anne Campos Bhatia is Nutritionist, Excercise Physiologist and Lifestyle Consultant
  • The information on this site does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for medical care provided by a physician.
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