Special to the Tribune-Star
Are you looking for more energy to get through the day? Look no further than good old-fashioned exercise.
For years studies have confirmed that cardiovascular and strength training exercise pays massive dividends in the department of energy. As an excellent pick-me-up, exercise, can refresh and revitalize a tired mind and body. A simple walk around the block, push-ups, jumping jacks or any other simple form of activity designed to increase the heart rate will do.
Scientists have tried determining the best time for a person to exercise. They concluded anytime is a good time to exercise. If you are a morning person, then morning would be a good time to get out the door or go to the gym. Evening people should strive for exercise time after work. Bottom line is you must do it to appreciate the benefits.
Though this article is written for the forty and older population, people of all ages will benefit from long term exercise. Long term benefits of exercise include, but are not limited to, a reduction in blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, blood sugar, and triglycerides. You’ll experience better sleep patterns and may be able to get by with less sleep while accomplishing more. Through strength training, you’ll notice an increase in muscle tissue while your total body fat decreases. As a result, your clothes may fit better and your body will ache less from daily activities. You will be able to handle stressful events better. Be sure to include children in some forms of exercise. Teaching a child the benefits of life long exercise is an important point to help America reverse childhood obesity and adult disease.
If your idea of exercise is searching for the television remote, you need to begin slowly and progress gradually. If you are inactive (i.e. desk job, television in the evening and use a riding mower) you should begin gradually. A goal for week one would be to walk five to ten minutes in one direction. Once you reach your time goal assess how you feel and walk the same amount of time in the other direction. Stretch for a few minutes and pat yourself on the back for completing the workout. If you are reasonably active you can progress at a more rapid pace — still never exceeding the 10 percent rule.
Progressing in an exercise program can be done by increasing distance at a rate of 10 percent each week or two. You can add time, distance, or calorie expenditure to your workouts. Once you have increased your workout by 50 percent or so, you can begin to step up the pace. Adding some short intervals of 5-10 seconds, or more, depending on your condition, you can help increase fitness levels.
When beginning a strength training program, an individual should exercise caution as well. Your strength training session should include a 5-10 minute warm-up and cool down including stretching the muscles you exercised. Start your strength training with large muscle groups (legs, back, and chest) and work towards smaller groups (shoulders, triceps, and biceps). The first month should only include one to two sets of an exercise per muscle group. Strive for 12-15 repetitions per set at a rate of two-seconds each direction. The idea is to get muscles, tendons, and ligaments sturdy enough to handle increased workloads before progressing.
You’ll no doubt benefit from cardiovascular or strength training. However, a combination of both is the best way to increase overall fitness, increase calorie expenditure and feel great.
Chris Davies, MS, owns soon-to-be-expanding Fitness Solutions, Inc. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.