Lack of physical activity is associated with many serious medical illnesses like obesity, hypertension, diabetes, strokes, cancers, arthritis etc.
On a positive note, the risk of developing these dreadful conditions can be minimized by having a physically active lifestyle.
As home and job-based physical activity is reduced because of our modern lifestyle, it becomes important to compensate for this by increasing our leisure physical activity
How to start an exercise program?
You should set a reasonable goal. Always start small and build up gradually.
You could use the FITT model to guide you in planning your exercise program.
FITT is an acronym for
Frequency – How frequently we should exercise.
Intensity – How intensely we should exercise.
Time – Length of time for each exercise session.
Type – Type of exercises to do.
Try to exercise at least 5 times a week in order to achieve the maximum benefits of exercise.
You could start with 2 days per week and slowly work towards the goal.
Do not be discouraged and stop exercising if you are unable to achieve this ideal goal.
Remember, any exercise is better than none at all!
Your exercise should be of moderate intensity.
There are 2 ways you could use to determine right level of exercise intensity:
a)Target exercise heart rate:
A simplified way to calculate your target exercise heart rate (beats per minute) is to use the formula: 170- Age.
b) Borg scale of perceived exertion (The “talking test”):
Or, could exercise until you feel somewhat breathless but still able to talk in short sentences.
You should have at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise (e.g. brisk walk, jogging, swimming, cycling etc) per session.
Start with 10-minute sessions, and then slowly increase the duration every 2 weeks.
You should have a combination of both aerobic and resistance training.
Aerobic exercise helps to strengthen your cardiovascular fitness.
Resistance training helps to build up muscle mass and increase resting energy requirement, thus helping to prevent weight gain.