Get moving! You simply can’t escape it. Exercise is not merely just good for you; it could very well be your ticket to long life.
Exercise not only keeps you in tip-top shape, but it can boost your mood and build your defence against developing chronic diseases.
Health Today is giving you a headstart as we focus on cardiovascular exercise.
Cardiovascular exercise, or cardio as it is sometimes called, is any movement that gets your heart rate up and increases blood circulation throughout the body.
Your muscles, bones, brain and circulatory and respiratory systems will benefit.
“It’s a workout with many health benefits, a total body workout. You know sometimes you walk up a flight of stairs and you’re panting. When you do cardio, your threshold for that improves; it helps to tackle diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure,” says health and fitness specialist Fazel Mohamed.
There are various forms of cardio and you can choose the one which meets your need. Fazel advises to “make it fun and enjoy the benefits”.
“There are simple exercises people can do at home. Walking, jogging, swimming –– so those are the outer gym stuff you can do. At home you can do jumping jacks; you can try skipping –– those are all forms of cardio.”
Fazel says virtually anyone can get moving, but he advises patients with medical conditions to first secure their doctor’s approval.
He’s pleased that more and more people are realizing the benefits of exercise and opting to get active; but he suggests families can do even more.
“I prefer to see more. In recent times, you have been seeing more people exercising than in years before, for example there are a lot more people coming into the gym. Not as many as you would like; but I generally see people doing more exercises; but I think there is still room for improvement.”
Fazel, who trains at the Valley Fitness Zone, instructs students in a popular and fun cardio exercise called spin.
“Spin is basically an exercise that is done on a stationery bike. It targets various thresholds. We do various things in spin –– from climb, sprints, push-ups and dips on the bikes in a 45 to 60-minute class.
Not only does spinning help in losing overall weight, but it is also responsible for shaping ones legs in particular.
“For spin we target legs, but we do push-ups and things in the class to give it variety and not make it very monotonous. So we do a few push-ups and other things which target the upper body and arms; and then there is some core work to stabilize your abs.”
The health and fitness specialist explains that spin is an anaerobic exercise. This means that it takes energy from the reserves of the body to build muscular endurance over time.
It lowers the heart rate as well as build endurance. It also improves your lung capacity and also helps to promote and maintain controlled breathing.
Spin is also a guaranteed weight burner, though Fazel stresses that exercise and diet cannot be separated.
“It can burn anywhere from a minimum of 500 calories or a maximum of 1,000 calories or more depending on the effort you put into it,” he says.
“It varies from individual to individual but healthy weight loss is losing one to two pounds a week and in order to achieve weight loss you have to create a negative energy balance. Diet also plays an important role in doing such. Exercise and diet go hand in hand.”
Regardless of whatever exercise you choose, Fazel urges everyone to get moving to live a better and stronger life.