1. The most beneficial exercise for general health, blood pressure, energy, weight loss and cardiovascular health is aerobic exercise like walking, biking, hiking, swimming, slow jogging or race-walking.
2. Anaerobic exercise such as weight lifting, tennis, basketball and sprinting is okay in small doses but should only be used once you are in good aerobic shape and then in a ratio of three minutes aerobic to every one minute anaerobic. Anaerobic exercise does develop strength and speed, but tends to reverse the physiologic benefits of aerobic exercise.
3. Find a type of aerobic exercise or machine (exercise bike, cross-country ski machine, etc.) that you enjoy. If it’s not fun, most people won’t stick to it.
4. Pick some activity that will let you set the pace. For walking, biking or jogging pick a level course to start with so it’s easier so keep your pulse constant.
5. Choose an activity that will allow you to use the same set of lower body muscles continuously for at least 15 – 20 minutes.
6. It is very important to keep your pulse in the aerobic range for your age and physical condition. The only accurate way to do this is to take your pulse regularly during exercise.
a. Here is the way to calculate what your target pulse rate should be.
1. 180 minus your age.
2. Subtract 10 if you are not well, have or are recovering from a major illness or surgery or are on medication.
3. Subtract 5 if you have not been training regularly, have the flu or a cold more than twice a year, have allergies or have had a recent injury.
4. If you have been working out regularly and have none of the problems listed in 2 or 3, use the base formula (180-age).
5. If you are a competitive athlete that has worked out regularly for at least two years with none of the above problems, add 5.
6. If in doubt, go with the formula that keeps your pulse lower. You’ll still benefit and won’t risk the problems associated with anaerobic exercise.
7. If you are over 65 you may have to add to the formula, up to 10 beats for those in good shape.
8. For sixteen years of age and under the formula doesn’t work, so just go with a pulse of 165 and adjust according to level of health and fitness.
b. Here is how to take your pulse.
1. Wear a watch with a second hand or a digital watch.
2. Find the carotid pulse at your neck (where the neck and chin meet) or the radial pulse at your wrist.
3. With your finger (not your thumb) on the pulse, wait until the second hand gets to a number, then:
a, Stop exercising.
b. Count the pulse for six seconds and multiply by 10
4. Your pulse should be no higher than the above calculation.
7. It is important to warm up before exercising. You should spend at least five minutes slowly working up to your aerobic level, using the same muscles you’ll be using later.
8. For best results, you should stay at your target pulse rate for at least 15 minutes. If you are just starting to exercise, remember it’s better to exercise for shorter periods and progress slower than it is to exercise longer than your body is ready for.
9. Cooling down is also important. This is the opposite of the warm-up. At the end of your aerobic exercise period, spend at least five minutes gradually slowing down until your pulse is in the 80 -100 beats per minute range (8 – 10 beats per six seconds).
10. Some authorities feel that exercise should be divided evenly between warm up, exercise at target pulse level and cool down. I find that if you make your warm up and cool down each about 20% of the time you spend at your target pulse rate it works well.
11. Stretching is most beneficial after exercise rather than before. Muscles will stretch easier and are less likely to be injured when they are warm and circulation has been improved through exercise.
12. After your exercise you should feel good. You should notice that you feel invigorated, more energetic and calmer. If you feel exhausted and stressed, you’ve done something wrong, most likely you’ve gone too fast or too long.
With these helpful hints in mind you’ll be well on your way to heath and fitness!
Yours in health,
Hogg Chiropractic Center