We automatically associate exercise with going to the gym, going for a run and this crazy difficult workout routine that is going to destroy you. Our society is bombarded with videos and images of the new amazing and revolutionary exercise program that will have you looking like an athlete in 12 weeks but, we know that this is impossible.
We are unaware of the true benefits exercise has on our mind and body because the health and fitness industry tend to focus on the body’s aesthetics. It is also vital to concentrate on creating a healthier lifestyle. It is important to acknowledge that exercise is not a quick fix solution, but you will experience immediate changes when starting an exercise program.
The real challenge begins when these rapid changes will slow down to gradual changes which require more dedication to achieve. There is no such thing as a quick fix when it comes to improving your health through exercise. But through dedication and patience exercise has been proven to be one of the best measures in preventing chronic disease.
Research indicates that low physical activity and low fitness is a leading cause of chronic disease. Low fitness even outweighs smoking and obesity. The Australian physical activity guidelines recommend 2.5 – 5 hours of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 – 150min of vigorous physical activity a week to improve physical health and reduce the risk of chronic disease. It is also recommended to include some form of resistance based training 3 days a week.
What do we mean when we talk about fitness?
We define fitness as the body’s combined ability of the lungs, heart and muscles to deliver and utilise oxygen to perform a given physically demanding task. By improving fitness, we will notice certain adaptations occur in our body. These include:
• increase in lung capacity
• the ability of the lung to provide more oxygen to the blood
• increase in the amount of blood pumped by the heart in each beat
• improved ability of the muscles to utilise oxygen
• reduced blood pressure at rest
• increased efficiency of the heart
As we put our bodies through stresses known as cardio or interval training we can improve our fitness. Exercise becomes easier with practice as our bodies are exposed to stressors that allow us to adapt physiologically. The more you exercise the fitter you become and the easier daily life may be.
What about strength?
To improve strength, you require some form of resistance training. It basically refers to moving your limbs or body through their range with an applied resistance. Strength training or resistance training has many benefits beyond building muscle; such as building the strength to walk comfortably, stand up from a chair or climb a flight of stairs. Resistance training programs can help you achieve your strength goals.
For optimal health benefits combine cardio and resistance training.
If you are looking to start a training program and don’t know where to start, contact us to book a consultation with our Exercise Physiologist.