You have taken the first step and made the best choice in, creating a healthier mind, body, spirit and future! Whether its to lose weight, maintain weight, build body shape, have a healthy active lifestyle, for a positive mind set, to feel better, there’s a catch. In order to reep the benefits you need to maintain consistency. You can do this through many forms of activity. It depends on what you enjoy and what your goals are.
So….. you have decided to get your body into gear and start moving. You put on your sneakers and get ready to put your body through some miles or weights. BUT hang on! You shouldn’t just jump straight into it hard core. Allow your body time to accommodate and adapt to your new routine and exercise regime. Your exercising for health so you don’t want to stress the body or put yourself at risk of injury.
There are many things you can choose to do from walking and riding to weights and running. The idea is to build up to these. Build up to your goals. Allow your body to progress. For example if you want to run, start by going for a walk, the next walk might be fast paced, the next time you may alternate between walk, jog, walk, jog and each time you increase the run time and lessen the walk time. Eventually your body will know what to expect and things will become easier, less stress on the body and less likely to injure yourself. If your goals is to do weights, don’t try and lift 10 kg in each hand, start small and build up the reps or the weights as you go.
Be aware of intensity. Your heart rate is the best way to tell this. You can do this yourself by wearing a heart rate monitor or counting your pulse in 10 seconds and multiplying it by 6 to give you your heart rate per minute. This can be slightly of accurate if you miscount beats but gives you a rough idea if you don’t have any technical equipment.
Start your regime and workout sessions with low intensity exercise and progress through the levels as you get fitter. This is the same for general workouts, we warm up and increase intensity as we go then cool down and stretch to allow our heart rates to come down gradually and safely.
Here are the exercise intensity levels:
- Low (or light) is about 40-54% MHR (Maximum Heart Rate)
- Moderate is 55-69% MHR.
- High (or Vigorous) is equal to or greater than 70% MHR.
An individual’s maximum heart rate can be estimated by using the formula: 220 – their age in years = MHR (maximum heart rate). Pulse rate can then be monitored while an exercise is being done and the % MHR calculated to assess intensity.
For example a maximum heart rate for a 50 year old would be, 220-50=170 MHR.
To work out the percentage, for example, the individual’s heart rate measures 100 beats per minute performing a certain activity. Since 100 is approximately 59% of the MHR (170), that would be considered a moderate level of exercise. The overall levels of intensity for a 50-year-old would be as follows:
- Low Intensity: heart rate is 68-to-92 beats per minute.
- Moderate Intensity: heart rate is 93-to-118 beats per minute.
- High Intensity: heart rate is more than 119 beats per minute.
If that’s a bit much to take in, here’s an easy guide you can use to assess yourself.
So, start by exercising for 10 minutes, then 20 minutes and so on until eventually you reach where you want to be. Only you know how your body feels. But remember, anything is better than nothing, so if you only have 10 minutes spare or 20 minutes on your lunch break then do that. Be consistent and avoid making excuses that you don’t have time. If you want it you will make time, anytime.
Don’t move straight into high intensity exercise, work your way up to it. Progress over a number of workouts. Always seek medical advice before beginning any program or exercise regime for your safety.
Tie those sneakers up and enjoy your walk, swim or ride, whatever it is you choose to do.
And remember, good shoes that fit properly will save you problems later on.
Whoohoo! Enjoy! Your body and mind will love you for it!