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Exercise

Participating in regular physical exercise results in significant psychological and physical benefits. Some of which are: 

bulletHelp you lose weight, especially fat weight.
bulletImproves the functioning of your immune system.
bulletDecreased overall feelings of stress and tension
bulletLower or help control your blood pressure.
bulletReduce total cholesterol. .
bulletReduce circulating levels of triglycerides (free fatty acid found in the blood).
bulletReduce the risk of heart disease.
bulletIncreases insulin sensitivity to prevent against type II diabetes (adult onset diabetes).
bulletReduce the risk of having a stroke.
bulletIncrease your level of muscular strength.
bulletIncrease your stamina and ability to do continuous work.
bulletIncrease or maintain your bone mineral density to prevent osteoporosis.
bulletProvide protection against injury.
bulletMaintain or improve joint integrity.
bulletImproves your balance and coordination.

People who want to stay healthy need to exercise for at least an hour a day ó double the previous workout recommendation.  For most healthy people, the American Heart Association recommends an exercise target heart rate ranging from 50% to 75% of your maximum heart rate (see graph below).  People that have been exercising regularly and are very fit, may want to increase this range. You can calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220.  As an example use a 50 year old person.  Maximum heart rate is 220-50 = 170 beats per minute.   Your ideal exercise training range is 50% to 75% of 170  i.e.  85 to 128 heart beats per minute. . If breathing/talking while you exercise in your target heart range is labored and difficult, the intensity is too great regardless of the numbers. You should drop your effort so that you can carry on a comfortable conversation while exercising.

Measure your heart rate during exercise by feeling your pulse or using a heart rate monitor to ensure that you are in this range. Some examples of exercise are brisk walking, jogging, bicycling, swimming and aerobic dance.  If you havenít exercised for some time, start off with 10 minutes and gradually build up to 30 minutes, then 60 minutes  or more per session.  Please consult your doctor to determine the exact duration and intensity that is best for you.

Testing your Heart Rate Recovery (HRR) is an excellent indicator of current fitness level and risk of heart disease . To test your HRR, measure your heart rate during peak exercise workload.  Stop exercising and  measure your heart rate again one minute after the exercise.   The difference between these two heart rates is your HRR.  17 is typical for an average person.  A high HRR is better. If less than 13, see your doctor immediately.  

As an example - if your maximum heart rate is 160 beats per minute and one minute after exercise, 140, your HRR can be calculated as follows:160-140=20. (which is good)  

Your resting heart rate is another indicator of cardiac efficiency or how well your heart and lungs work. The more fit an individual is, the lower the heart rate will be before, during, and after exercise.  The average person has a resting heart rate of 70 beats per minute, whilst a marathon runner's resting heart-rate will be 40 beats per minute. 

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