Exercise. Why, what to do, and for how long?
Hello everyone! To start off I would like to introduce myself. My name is Jason Liounakos and I will be contributing to a monthly column on fitness and exercise along with Franklin Danger. I have always been interested in physical fitness, which can and should be enjoyed by all.
Regular exercise has numerous health benefits in addition to management of a healthy weight. It can decrease your risk of coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and some forms of cancer. Exercise can also help to lower blood pressure, maintain healthy cholesterol levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and maintain bone mass as you age. But it doesn’t stop there; there are mental health benefits as well. Regular exercise may help protect against or reduce mild to moderate depression and reduce anxiety. In addition, physical activity is associated with increased energy, mental focus, and feelings of well-being.
The list goes on and on and many people are aware of these potential benefits. Getting into a routine can sometimes be difficult however, with all the great variety of options available. Once you get going though, it is easy to maintain. And that’s what we’re here to help you out with. Trying to make things a little bit easier.
Working toward this goal, I would like to focus this first post on what kinds of exercises, and their amount are recommended. The following are the American College of Sports Medicine recommendations to get the greatest health benefit from exercise. For most adults:
- Moderate-intensity cardiorespiratory exercise for at least 30 minutes, for at least 5 days per week OR high-intensity cardiorespiratory exercise for at least 20 minutes, for at least 3 days per week.
- A combination of resistance training and balance, agility, and coordination exercises for at least 2-3 days per week.
- Stretching for at least 2 days per week.
Cardiorespiratory exercise traditionally includes what many refer to as “aerobic exercise.” This includes jogging, running, jumping rope, and the elliptical machine, just to name a few. What “mild-moderate” or “high” intensity means to you will depend on your own level of conditioning. Resistance training usually refers to lifting weights in the gym. Balance techniques are slightly more advanced and some examples include body weight exercises with the “bosu ball” and planks.
Hopefully you all have enjoyed this introduction. Stay tuned for more tips!