Sporting Only On Weekend May Not Benefit The Body
By Ng Peng Hock
In addition to a balanced healthy diet, exercise also forms an integral part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. However, sporting, especially those high intensity exercises, only over weekend will do more harm than good to the body.
High intensity exercises such as soccer and ruby will increase cardiovascular risk and rate of orthopedic injuries to the bones, muscles, tendons and joints, than low or moderate intensity exercises.
In contrast, people who perform regular exercise spreading over the entire week, tend to achieve a higher level of aerobic fitness, strength, endurance and flexibility. The risk of injuries is also reduced.
A simple warm-up exercise is a must as it helps prevent injury by increasing blood flow and oxygen to the muscles of the body, thus getting them up to a good working temperature. It also increases the speed of nerve conduction (improving one's reflexes) and improves the range of joint movement to reduce the chances of tearing a muscle or ligament.
Generally, there are 3 types of exercises for general health and fitness: aerobics for cardiovascular fitness and endurance; resistance (for example weights training) for strengthening; and stretching for flexibility.
As recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine, exercising 3 to 5 days a week will ensure one getting the optimal health benefits.
More recently, some experts also encourage people to do low to moderate intensity exercise daily. This means people can engage in between 20 to 60 minutes of exercise, which can be divided into 10-minute blocks, carried out at a target heart rate (220 minus one's age) of between 55 and 64 percent of the maximum heart rate for a person's age.
To exercise on daily basis is not very difficult. Instead of taking the bus directly to one's workplace or back home, one can alight 2 to 3 bus stops earlier and brisk walk for about 15 minutes both ways. This will give 30 minutes of brisk walking, 5 days a week. For people who drive, they can park their cars further away from the destination forcing them to walk for some 5 to 10 minutes.
Starting an exercise program might be easy, but maintaining the routine through time can be very difficult. It will require tremendous discipline. The key, perhaps, is to make it fun and enjoyable, incorporating it into one's lifestyle so that it becomes second nature.
Older individuals who are keen to start an exercise program should first consult their doctors and have a check-up by them to ensure that they are medically fit to engage in strenuous activities. Even if they are not fit for such activities, they can still choose to have brisk walking for at least 30 minutes on a daily basis.
Patients with heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis or even arthritis will likely benefit from controlled levels of exercise.
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