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Exercise: How Much Is Enough?

Exercise is a building block of good health and people often wonder how much is enough. Although there are some who cannot get enough of it, many of you find yourselves lingering in the dusty wake of your highly motivated compatriots, unable to keep up with your own ambitions.So you cross our fingers, keep your shoes dusted, and wait for new research findings to inform you of a lower, more manageable exercise requirement that still delivers great health benefits! Yet after all the research and planning, you still somehow find yourself giving up even before you begin. What is the real problem?

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You are starting off on the wrong foot. You are viewing exercise as a giant that is looking to bind you and hence your attitude towards it looks like you are trying to wriggle out of the chains of exercise. Let’s admit that nobody has gone far with this attitude. So what can you do to overcome it?First of all, you have to understand what exercise is. You have to know of the various ways in which you can exercise, for a stagnant routine provides no motivation. Then you can make informed decisions and take positive steps towards improving your health.According to Public Health Reports, exercise is “physical activity that is planned, structured, repetitive, and purposive in the sense that improvement or maintenance of one or more components of physical fitness is an objective.” Defined loosely, exercise is physical exertion of the body for specific purposes, with health benefits. There are two kinds of exercise: aerobic activity and muscle strengthening.

Aerobic Activity

Aerobic activities are exercises that work the heart and lungs. This is done through the moving of muscles in the arms, legs and torso, often with repetitive movements (refer to definition of exercise). Common aerobic activities include walking, running, swimming, dancing, and playing badminton. For those with greater motivation, the best model to follow is to intersect intervals of high intensity exercise with intervals of rest.What matters is not the type but the intensity of the activity, which can be monitored through the checking of your heart rate. For others, though you may not be consistently shedding weight, you will at least be doing your heart and cardiovascular system some good.According to the University of Rochester’s Health Encyclopedia, for a moderate intensity of aerobic activities, your target heart rate is 50 to 70% of your maximum heart rate. You can calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. To find your target heart rate, multiply the result by 0.6.

Muscle Strengthening

As suggested by the term, muscle strengthening exercises build general muscle strength, and tone muscles in the process. This is accomplished through using body weight or resistance. Common muscle strengthening exercises involve the use of gym equipment, dumbbells, barbells, and resistance bands.Contrary to popular misunderstanding, strength training does not necessarily result in the building of big muscles because increasing in strength comes by improving muscle contraction. Muscle mass is not the only indicator of results and effectiveness; muscle tone is as equally indicative of muscle strength.Like aerobic exercise, it is important to train at a high enough intensity in order to achieve positive results. Muscle strengthening exercises include weight lifting, doing squats and push-ups, resistance training, and yoga. A complete set of muscle strengthening exercises should include all the major muscle groups: your arms, shoulders, chest, abdomen, back, hips and legs.

How Much is Enough?

People exercise for various reasons: for health, appearance, sporting competitions, or recreation, and most certainly, the amount of exercise you need will depend on your reason(s) for exercising and how quickly you want to achieve your goals. Conduct an honest evaluation and ask yourself how much exercise you need or want. Make your health your priority and construct a plan to achieve your goals. Unless you love it, slaving away at the gym is not paramount!Choose activities that best fit your current abilities and preferences. Set reasonable, achievable goals to kick-start the habit of exercising. Then, work on building up your ambition. Ultimately, as Mark Twain puts it, “the secret of getting ahead is getting started”. Know what you want and go for it!So, how much is enough? Why don’t you tell us! Comment below or on our Facebook page to share with us what motivates you to exercise, and share your exercise routine with others!

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