, we discussed the importance of eating well in order to slim down. While this may be true, you shouldn’t ignore the importance of exercise.
People who are not physically active are at increased risk of coronary heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer and osteoporosis. There is also increasing evidence that exercise can decrease the severity of hot flashes and act as a natural anti-depressant – the mood-heightening effect can last for several hours after exercise!
If you like the idea, but don’t know where to begin, here are some general guidelines to help you get started:
- Cardiovascular exercise includes walking, hiking, jogging, cycling, cross-country skiing, rope skipping, rebounding, elliptical trainers, rowing, stair climbing, swimming, skating and endurance game activities. Ideally, you should try to get 20 – 60 minutes of continuous or intermittent – in at least 10 minute sessions at a time – of aerobic activity. The amount of time you spend is based on the intensity; the higher it is, the lower the duration needs to be. Aim to engage in cardio activities 3 – 5 times per week.
- Resistance training (exercises that condition the major muscle groups - chest, back, gluteals, hamstrings, quadriceps, as well as abdominal and lower back exercises for core strength and stability) should be performed 2-3 days per week. Most people should complete 8 – 12 repetitions of each exercise. For older (approximately 50 – 60 years of age and above) and more frail people, 10 – 15 repetitions may be more appropriate (using lighter weights). Multiple-set regimens may provide greater benefits if time allows.
- Flexibility training with stretches for the major muscle groups should be performed a MINIMUM of 2-3 days per week. At least four repetitions, held for 10-30 seconds, should be completed. Stretching should include appropriate static and/or dynamic techniques. Yoga and Pilates are two forms of exercise that incorporate flexibility enhancement into their format along with strength benefits.
If you already exercise regularly, try to align your routine with these recommendations. If you are not physically active, take it slow! Start with whatever makes you comfortable and gradually work your way up.
Tell us, what workout routines work best for you?