The Words of the Manning Family

F.R.E.S.H S.T.A.R.T - "E" FOR EXERCISE – Part Two

Stephen Manning
Barrytown, NY
June, 1999

Stephen is a Junior student at UTS and writes a monthly column on fitness and health.

Creating your own effective, enjoyable and principled exercise program can be done in one of two ways. Either you hire a personal trainer with the appropriate qualifications, heart and motivation, or you create it yourself! In last months article on exercise we discussed ‘Aerobic’ and ‘Anaerobic’ exercise.

Aerobic (with oxygen)

• Must last 20 minutes or more

• Using large muscle groups

• Light weights

• Continuous repetitive actions

• Break a sweat

• Gentle to moderate

Specific Benefits

• Burns body fat

• Develops endurance

• Strengthens heart & lungs

Anaerobic (without oxygen)

• Quick bursts

• Any muscle group

• Heavy weights

• Short duration

• Heavy breathing

• Intense

Specific Benefits

• Builds muscle size

• Develops strength, speed, power

• Strengthens bones and tissues

This list is intended to guide you to a better understanding of how your body will respond to different types of exercise. It is difficult to label any particular type of exercise as either ‘aerobic’ or ‘anaerobic’. Swimming may be ‘aerobic’ for you, but the exact same exercise, done at the same speed and pace, might give me a heart attack because it is ‘anaerobic’ for me! The only safe method I recommend to determine whether or not exercise is safe or appropriate for you, is to measure your heart rate, before, during and after exercise. If you feel pain, stressed, dizzy or faint, slow down or stop, and seek professional help. Also, the following guidelines do not apply to people on medication, who are ill, or are pregnant. If you have any doubts at all, Check With Your Doctor First!

Monitoring your heart rate

The key is to get an accurate reading of your heart rate at rest. The best time for this is before you get out of bed in the morning. Count your pulse for a whole minute. Generally 72 beats per minute is ‘normal’. Fewer than 72 indicates a healthier heart, and the higher up the scale you go could indicate a weaker heart, or some congestion of the blood vessels. This is your first checkpoint. If your resting heart rate concerns you, get a second opinion before starting your exercise program.

Now apply the following formula: Subtract your age from 220. The resultant figure is your Maximum Heart Rate. You never need to be exercising with your heart beating this fast! Find 60% of that figure, this is ‘aerobic’ exercise speed. As you feel able, you may increase to 80%, but more than that is ‘anaerobic’ level, which you can only sustain safely for short bursts of time. So, it is not so important what you do, but rather how you do it.

Please follow the following 5 stages when exercising:

• Warm up first for at least 5 minutes, start gently & increase intensity

• Do a full body stretch routine

• Exercise, following posture and technique guidelines, and maintaining awareness of aerobic or anaerobic effects, and re-hydrate often

• Cool down and relaxing stretches

• Monitor, measure and record results (this helps keep you motivated)

Question of the month:

Does work count as "exercise?"

All activity, technically, is "exercise". However, you need to determine the effect your work/exercise is having on you, in order to discern whether or not you need to add to it. Use the aerobic/anaerobic list above as a measure.

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