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Friday, March 25, 2016

Difference Between Aerobic , Strength and Flexibility Exercise

Now I know for many of you savvy fitness enthusiasts the following article will seem rudimentary at best. But I often come across many who get the different types of exercise and their purposes mixed up. That can lead to confusion that will often derail your results. So I hop this helps.

Difference Between Aerobic , Strength and Flexibility Exercise
The sweat experts divide exercise into three general categories: aerobic, strength, and flexibility and strongly recommend a balanced program that includes all three. (Speed training is also a major category, but is generally practiced only by competitive athletes.)

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Aerobic (Endurance) Training

Aerobic exercises build endurance and keep the heart pumping at a steady but elevated rate for an extended period. Practicing them regularly can enhance cardiac function, boost HDL (the "good") cholesterol levels, strengthen the bones in the spine, and lower the risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and even some forms of cancer. Aerobic exercise also trims body fat and can improve one's sense of well-being. Jogging, swimming, cycling, stair-climbing, and aerobic dancing are all examples. As little as one hour a week is helpful, but three to four hours per week are optimal. People who are out of shape or elderly should start aerobic training gradually with five to ten minutes of low-impact aerobic activity (e.g., gardening, yard work, or walking) every other day and build toward a goal of 30 minutes per day three to seven times a week. Because it is so natural and convenient, brisk walking is an excellent and easy way to accomplish aerobic exercise.

Some research indicates that walking at a swift pace burns at least as many calories as running or jogging for the same distance and poses less risk for injury to muscle and bone. Swimming is an ideal exercise for many people with certain physical limitations, including pregnant women, individuals with musculoskeletal problems, and those who suffer from exercise-induced asthma. Swimming, however, will not raise the heart rate quite as much as other sports because of the so-called diving reflex," which causes the heart to slow down automatically when the body is immersed in water. For swimming, use a heart rate target of 75% of the maximum and then subtract 12 beats per minute.

Shoes and Clothing. Although Americans spend nearly $2 billion on home exercise equipment, all that's really necessary for a workout is a good pair of shoes -- well-made, well-fitting, and broken in but not worn down. They should support the ankle and provide cushioning for impact sports such as running or aerobic dancing. Airing out the shoes and feet after exercising reduces chances for skin conditions such as athlete's foot. Comfort and safety are the key words for workout clothing. For outdoor nighttime exercise, a reflective vest and light-colored clothing must be worn. Bikers, rollerbladers, and equestrians should always wear safety devices such as helmets, wrist guards, and knee and elbow pads. Goggles are mandatory for indoor racquet sports. For vigorous athletic activities, such as football, ankle braces may be more effective in preventing ankle injuries than tape.

Aerobic-Exercise Equipment. A lot of money spent on equipment does not always translate into a better workout or better results. A simple jump rope improves aerobic endurance for people who are able to perform high impact exercise. Jumping rope should be done on surfaces that have some give to avoid joint injury. (A good floor mat is important to provide cushioning for all home exercises.) Home exercise machines can be adapted to any fitness level and can be used day or night. For burning calories, the treadmill has been ranked best, followed by stair climbers, the rowing machine, cross country ski machine, and stationary bicycle.

Recently, elliptical trainers have been gaining popularity and, according to one study, are even better than treadmills for elevating heart rate and increasing calorie and oxygen consumption. Stationary bikes and stair climbers condition leg muscles. Stationary bikes are fairly economical and easy to use safely. The pedals should turn smoothly, the seat height should adjust easily, and the bike's computer should be able to adjust intensity. Stair machines offer very intense, low-impact workouts, which a recent study showed to be as effective as running with less chance of injury. Rowing and cross-country ski machines exercise both the upper and lower body.

Cheaper models of exercise machines tend to be flimsy and hard to adjust, but many sturdy, moderately priced machines are available. The higher-end models may utilize computers to record calories burned, speed, and mileage. While their readouts may provide motivation and gauge the intensity of a workout, they are not always accurate. Before investing in and bringing home an exercise machine, it is wise to test it out first at a gym. In addition, initial supervised training when using these machines can reduce the risk of injury that might occur with self-instruction.

Isometric (Strength or Resistance) Training

Where aerobic exercise emphasizes endurance, isometric exercise focuses on strength. Adding 10 to 20 minutes of modest strength training two to three times a week is important for a balanced exercise program. People who only exercise aerobically eventually lose upper body strength. Isometric training builds muscle strength while burning fat, helps maintain bone density, and improves digestion. It appears to lower LDL (the so-called "bad") cholesterol levels.

Isometric exercise is beneficial for everyone, even people in their 90s. In fact, strength training assumes even more importance as one ages, because after age 30 everyone undergoes a slow process of muscular erosion, which can be reduced or even reversed by adding resistance training to an exercise program. (Please note, people at risk for cardiovascular disease should not perform isometric exercises without checking with a physician.) Individuals should first select a weight or rubber band tension that allows a maximum of eight repetitions. When 12 repetitions can be completed, a higher weight or tension that limits the individual again to eight repetitions should be used. Once 12 repetitions can be completed at maximum tension, resistance can be lowered and the number of repetitions increased to 15 to 20. While doing these exercises, it is important to breathe slowly and rhythmically. Exhale as the movement begins; inhale when returning to the starting point. The first half of each repetition should last two seconds, and the return to the original position should last four seconds. Joints should be moved rhythmically through their full range of motion during a repetition and not locked up. For maximum benefit, one should allow 48 hours between workouts for full muscle recovery.

Strength-Training Equipment. Any heavy object that can be held in the hand, such as a plastic bottle filled with sand or water, can serve as a weight. Heavy rubber bands or tubing are excellent devices for resistance training; they are inexpensive, come in various tensions, and are safer and more convenient than free weights for exercising all parts of the body. Latex bands are easier on the hands than tubing. Many inexpensive hand weights are available to help strengthen and tone the upper body. Ankle weights strengthen and tone muscles in the lower body but are not recommended for impact aerobics or jumping. Hand grips strengthen arms and are good for relieving tension. A pull-up bar can be mounted in a doorway for chin-ups and pull-ups.

Flexibility Training (Stretching)

Flexibility training uses stretching exercises to prevent cramps, stiffness, and injuries. It also ensures a wider range of motion (i.e., the amount of movement a joint has). Yoga and T'ai Chi, which focus on flexibility, balance, and proper breathing, may even lower stress and help to reduce blood pressure. Authorities now recommend performing stretching exercises for 10 to 12 minutes at least three times a week. When stretching, extend the muscles to the point of tension -- not pain -- and hold for 20 to 60 seconds (beginners may need to start with a 5 to 10 second stretch).

Certain stretching exercises are particularly beneficial for the back. It is important when doing stretches that involve the back to relax the spine, to keep the lower back flush with the mat, and to work only the muscles required for changing position, usually the abdomen. It is also important to breathe evenly while stretching. Holding one's breath defeats the purpose; it causes muscle contraction and raises blood pressure.

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