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The Importance of Having an Exercise Programme

The importance of having an exercise programme

Your body would respond well to a good exercise programme. Irrespective of who you are, your gender, your age, your goals, your condition, your situation would improve if you improved your physical health. And your health will be improved by the right exercise programme.

All good exercise programmes contain the same three elements:

  • Strength.
  • Endurance.
  • Flexibility.

Each of these three elements of physical health can be improved by training.

Strength training.

Strength training means pushing or pulling against a resistance that is heavy enough to induce an adaptive response. Your body is an adaptive organism that responds to the demands placed upon it.

The demand that the training places on your existing strength capacity should be such that it triggers an adaptive response; ie the development of more strength in preparation for the next training.

This reaction is similar to the tanning reaction you experience by sunbathing. When you are sunbathing, you are purposefully putting your body under a stress. The Ultraviolet sunlight is the stressor. Your body responds to the high energy sunlight stressor by laying down a protective barrier in the skin called melanin. Melanin is a protein; your body uses it to protect itself from further assaults of sunlight stress. Since UV light causes skin damage, your body regards UV as a physical threat,

Similarly, in strength training, the training is the stressor and your body lays down a protective barrier by building more muscle. Muscle is made up of millions of contractile protein fibres, themselves built from proteins called myosin and actin.

Strength training should be progressive resistance training, made up of short bursts of intense activity, which leads to an increase in strength.

This type of training includes, sprinting, hard swimming, lifting weights, chin ups, sit-ups, press ups.

Training hard, for a short amount of time: That is strength training.

Opposite to that is endurance training.

Endurance training.

Endurance training is long duration, but much lower intensity, (easier) training. This is slow running, cycling, walking, jogging, gardening. Endurance training is the type of activity that can be maintained for hours without running out of energy. This is called aerobic activity.

This training is (moment by moment) easy. It uses light weights, and is of long duration. It elevates your heart rate to a moderate degree and keeps it elevated for at least 20 minutes. This type of activity is good for the cardiovascular system, and overall fitness.

But it does not build strength, it builds endurance; staying power.

Endurance training is opposite to strength training.

  • Strength training is high intensity, short duration activity.
  • Endurance training is low intensity, long duration activity.

Endurance training and strength training are opposite and complementary training styles.

You should include both in your exercise programme.

To round off your training plan you would benefit from some flexibility training.

Flexibility training.

Flexibility training is concerned with improving the range of motion of your joints and the flexibility of your muscles and tendons.

As you get older, your muscles tend to get shorter and less able to stretch. Therefore, you should add some stretching to your programme to improve your ability to use the full range of motion in all your joints.

Examples of good stretching and flexibility training is Yoga, and swimming.

Alternatively, you could simply practice bending down and touching your toes, if you are still able to do that!

A Good Exercise Regime

Remember, you can improve your health with a good exercise programme which includes strength training, endurance training and flexibility training.

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