In my opinion, exercise is critical for anyone, regardless of personal goals and aspirations relating to health. Exercise is not just for sports people or individuals striving to drop weight or gain muscle, it is vital for everyone. If you feel that you do not need to exercise because you look OK as you are then it is possible that the inside of your body may tell a different story!
When I suggest physical activity I do not always mean formal exercises in a gym or health club setting. I refer to any activity that gets you moving and encourages you to push your body outside of its usual sedentary or relaxed state. This is a principle described as OVERLOAD. You overload a muscle when you encourage it to work harder than it normally would and this also applies to your heart muscle!
I am not going to bore you with all the theory behind why you should exercise, but I am confident that you are reading this because you want to enhance your health. Health and vitality begins with your capacity and willingness to use and improve your physical body.
I know that there will still be individuals reading this, convincing themselves that they don’t have time to exercise, or don’t really feel they need to, but this may be because a part of the brain is attempting to sabotage their efforts to improve their health! This is the same part of the brain that tells you that your healthy eating plan can wait until Monday, or that one more cake wont make any difference! We all have coping strategies of some sort and look to justify choices we make, even though we know through standard logic that what we are saying to ourselves isn’t necessarily the case! The trick is to learn to realize when you are making excuses and to learn to not listen to the voice of negativity! This is a hugely important element to making positive changes in any area of your life.
So let me just outline 3 areas to consider for your own personal exercise plan. You must consider your cardiovascular exercise (elevating your heart rate), muscular exercise (strengthening and toning your muscles) and flexibility exercises (improving your posture and range of motion around your joints). Each of these areas are very important and should be included in your exercise routine.
In this article I will be focusing on cardiovascular exercise. Cardiovascular exercise is necessary for a number of reasons: Firstly, it improves the efficiency of your heart and lungs and enables your body to uptake and circulate greater quantities of oxygen. If your body is able to uptake and pump more oxygen then you are less likely to get out of breath so quickly. You will be able to sustain physical activity for longer durations and your heart and lungs will generally be healthier. This is known as cardiovascular fitness.
If we overlook the obvious then there are additional advantages to training at greater intensities. If we use a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is too easy and 10 is almost impossible then you should aim to exercise at a minimum of 7. At 7 it will be hard and you should sweat, but you should be able to maintain the intensity for at least 20 minutes. When you exercise at this intensity, changes begin to happen in your body. Your body creates more mitochondria in the muscles and the mitochondria are responsible for processing oxygen. To cut a long story short, your body will only use fat in the presence of oxygen, so the higher your body’s ability to process oxygen, the greater your capability to burn fat!
There is another school of thought that implies you should exercise at a level of 6 out of 10, as this is the ‘fat burning zone’. Let me just clarify this: you DO NOT burn more fat working at an intensity of 6 out of 10 than you do at an intensity of 7 out of 10! PERIOD! However, if you cannot sustain at least 20 minutes at higher intensity then you should reduce your intensity to achieve the duration. In my opinion this is the only time you should exercise at a lower intensity (other than warm ups and cool downs). Working at 6 out of 10 will NOT encourage your body to adapt and become a fat burning machine!
That said, only work up to greater intensities as your health improves. You should be in this for the long haul, so don’t over-train in the first couple of days! Start with what you are comfortable doing and aim to progress over time. Also, seek guidance from your doctor if you have any health conditions or concerns.
In my next article, I will be detailing a strategy for managing and improving your cardiovascular exercise and fitness. This will provide a workable guide for any person who is ready to begin exercising TODAY, or who has been exercising and wishes to develop further.
Please be advised that when you exercise your body consumes more oxygen and as a result more free radicals are produced within your body. Free radicals are volatile particles, which attack and damage healthy cells in a process called oxidation (or free-radical damage). It is widely believed that we need to ensure that we take in optimum quantities of antioxidants (i.e. vitamins) to eliminate free radicals and safeguard our bodies from degenerative diseases.
By Andrew Smith, Webmaster at MLM Summit Training [http://www.mlmsummittraining.com]
About the Author: Andrew Smith is an Independent Associate for Usana Health Sciences and is the webmaster at MLM Summit Training. Check out the MLM Summit blog at [http://www.mlmsummittraining.com]