Regular exercise is fundamental to our wellbeing. It controls weight, improves stamina, helps prevent disease, enhances flexibility, strengthens and tones, sharpens the mind, and improves overall quality of life. In a nutshell it goes a long way to making us feel ‘happy’.
The Department of Health recommends that adults should undertake a minimum of 150 minutes moderate or 75 minutes vigorous physical activity per week. This is a starting point – however, the more exercise you do, the easier it will be to drop that extra weight!
For optimum results, you need to combine aerobic exercises with muscle strengthening exercises.
We recommend you do 2 aerobic and 2 muscle strengthening sessions each week.
Each session should be between 45 - 60 minutes each.
Aerobic exercise is any exercise that uses large muscle movement over a sustained period of time and raises your heart rate to at least 50 % of your maximum level.
A quick formula used to estimate your maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age.
Exercising at 50 % - 63 % of your max heart rate = light cardio
Exercising at 64 % - 76 % of your max heart rate = moderate cardio
Exercising above 77 % of your max heart rate = vigorous cardio
When you perform aerobic exercise, fat oxidation increases both during and after the activity as your metabolic rate will also be higher post exercise.
Examples are walking, jogging, running, cycling, swimming, rowing, dancing, skating, climbing stairs, aqua aerobics.
Muscle strengthening exercises are essential, as anyone on a weight loss program will lose both muscle and fat. When muscle strengthening exercise is added, more muscle will be preserved and a greater proportion of weight loss is actual fat loss.
It is ideal for 2 reasons:
Your metabolic rate will be elevated for up to 15 hours post-exercise, due to the oxidation of body fat.
Weight training acts as a stimulus to muscle retention. The more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism.
Adding muscle strengthening activities will compensate for any loss of lean muscle tissue and help maintain muscle mass.
Examples are Pilates, circuit training, yoga, Barre and all the exercises on the provided videos.
Warm up & cool down
Our muscles are composed of millions of fibers, which need to be warmed up and cooled down to prevent muscle damage. Make sure to spend at least 5-10 minutes to warm up and cool-down. Examples of what kind of exercises and stretches you can do to warm up and cool down are shown in the introduction video in the "workout videos for the Kick-start program".
Benefits of a proper warm-up:
It raises the body temperature, which is beneficial because blood cells release oxygen more rapidly at higher temperatures. This leads to increased utilization of oxygen for the muscles.
It increases blood flow to active muscles and prevents premature fatigue and lactic acid buildup. Lactic acid is produced in muscle tissue during exercise and causes muscle fatigue and cramps when large amounts accumulate.
Less muscle injuries occur because when your body temperature is heightened, muscles become more flexible.
Enhances motor skills and brain transmissions.
Benefits of a proper cool-down:
Cooling down keeps muscle fibers warm for a lengthened amount of time. The warmer the fibers are, the less likely they will tear.
Excess adrenaline realeased during exercise can be used up during the cool-down period. When blood carries unused adrenaline, the heart becomes stressed.
It delays the onset of muscle soreness after activity by reducing lactic acid buildup.
If an exercise is stopped abruptly without a proper cool-down period, blood pools in the lower extremities or limbs, a phenomenon known as venous pool. When this happens, blood supply to the heart is compromised. Moreover, the heart is still pumping hard from the activity that was being performed. When both situations occur simultaneously, the heart is in dire need of oxygen, but is not able to attain adequate quantities of oxygenated blood because blood has begun to accumulate in the lower limbs. This leads to dizziness and possibly fainting.