Imagine that you’re exercising. You’re working up a sweat, you’re breathing hard, your heart is thumping, blood is coursing through your vessels to deliver oxygen to the muscles to keep you moving, and you sustain the activity for more than just a few minutes. That’s aerobic exercise (also known as “cardio” in gym lingo); any activity that you can sustain for more than just a few minutes while your heart, lungs, and muscles work overtime. The beginning. It all starts with breathing. The average healthy adult inhales and exhales about 7 to 8 liters of air per minute. Once you fill your lungs, the oxygen in the air (air contains approximately 20% oxygen) is filtered through small branches of tubes (called bronchioles) until it reaches the alveoli. The alveoli are microscopic sacs where oxygen diffuses (enters) into the blood. From there, it’s a beeline direct to the heart. Getting to the heart of it. The heart has four chambers that fill with blood and pump blood (two atria and two ventricles) and some very active coronary arteries. Because of all this action, the heart needs a fresh supply of oxygen, and as you just learned, the lungs provide it. Once the heart uses what it needs, it pumps the blood, the oxygen, and other nutrients out through the large left ventricle and through the circulatory system to all the organs, muscles, and tissues that need it. A whole lot of pumping going on. Your heart beats approximately 60-80 times per minute at rest, 100,000 times a day, more than 30 million times per year, and about 2.5 billion times in a 70-year lifetime! Every beat of your heart sends a volume of blood (called stroke volume — more about that later), along with oxygen and many other life-sustaining nutrients, circulating through your body. The average healthy adult heart pumps about 5 liters of blood per minute. Oxygen consumption and muscles. All that oxygen being pumped by the blood is important. Muscles are like engines that run on fuel (just like an automobile that runs on fuel); only our muscles use fat and carbohydrates instead of gasoline. Oxygen is a key player because, once inside the muscle, it’s used to burn fat and carbohydrate for fuel to keep our engines running. The more efficient our muscles are at consuming oxygen, the more fuel we can burn, the more fit we are, and the longer we can exercise.
You know exercise is good for you, but do you know how good? From boosting your mood to improving your sex life, find out how exercise can improve your life. By
Want to feel better, have more energy and perhaps even live longer? Look no further than exercise. The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to ignore. And the benefits of exercise are yours for the taking, regardless of your age, sex or physical ability. Need more convincing to exercise? Check out these seven ways exercise can improve your life. -Exercise controls weight. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn. -Exercise combats health conditions and diseases. Worried about heart disease? Hoping to prevent high blood pressure? No matter what your current weight, being active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. -Exercise improves mood. Need an emotional lift? Or need to blow off some steam after a stressful day? A workout at the gym or a brisk 30-minute walk can help. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. -Exercise boosts energy. Winded by grocery shopping or household chores? Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. Exercise and physical activity deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you have more energy to go about your daily chores.
Regular exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, helping you maintain a healthy weight and prevent a myriad of chronic diseases. While nearly any type of exercise — be it walking, cycling, or even gardening — is better than none, you’ll enjoy better health and a fitter body by choosing more intense exercises, which may include climbing or running up stairs. It’s tough to say whether running up stairs is the “best” exercise, however, since the “best” exercise for one person is not necessarily the best for someone else. Burning Calories- If your goal is to burn as many calories as possible, climbing stairs does rank among the “best” exercises you can do. According to MayoClinic.com, a 200-pound person will burn an average of 819 calories climbing stairs for one hour. Compare that to jogging and rowing, other big calorie burners which allow a 200-pound person to burn an average of 754 and 546 calories per hour, respectively, and it’s clear that running up stairs is a beneficial calorie-burning exercise. What You Enjoy- One of the biggest challenges in sticking with an exercise routine is preventing boredom. Generally, if you like the exercise you’re doing, you’re more likely to go back and do it again and again. For that reason, running up stairs may be the “best” exercise for you if it’s the one that you like doing above all others. However, if you’re doing it simply because it’s the one you think will get you from point A to B the fastest and you actually hate doing it, it’s not necessarily the “best” choice for you. What’s Realistic- There’s another thing to consider when choosing the “best” option for you: what is possible for you to do on a regular basis. If you work in a tall office building, then running up stairs before work and again on your lunch break is probably going to work quite well for you. The same goes if you have a long set of stairs at a park near your home. If you live in a rural area or you don’t have access to a stair climber, stairs, then, are not going to be realistic or “best” for you.
Don’t Indians walk for even 30 minutes in a day? If a recent survey conducted by the Public Health Foundation and the World Heart Foundation is to be believed, the answer is that they do not. The foundation, which interviewed 1,021 adults above 18 years of age, has found that 46 per cent of the people they spoke to did not walk for 30 minutes every day. Not only that, they didn’t understand the concept of brisk walking. Brisk walking means walking four kilometers in 60 minutes and breaking into a sweat. When this happens, the heart muscles become strong and are able to pump blood to all the parts of the body. The concept of brisk walking is to also evaluate the physical fitness of the body. Physical fitness is when the body does not get exhausted or tired too easily after walking three to four kilometers. Sometimes, some people become breathless while climbing stairs, a sign of “poor physical fitness”. Earlier studies have shown that walking reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases as it makes the heart muscles strong.
Life expectancy is rising steadily every year, with women living to an average age of 82.8 years and men 78.8 years, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Set your expectations higher with our guide to holding back the year. Get laughing- A good laugh is like a mini-workout – 100 to 200 laughs are equivalent to ten minutes of jogging or rowing, says US cardiologist, Dr William Fry. Research also shows that it lowers levels of stress hormones, and heightens the activity of the body’s natural defensive killer cells and antibodies. Sleep more- Sleeping more than eight hours a night may reduce your life expectancy. A study in the Archives of General Psychiatry, US, found that people who get only six to seven hours sleep a night live longer. People who sleep eight hours or more, or less than four hours, a night were shown to have a significantly higher death rate. Walk, run, jump- Fit women have a 40 per cent less chance of developing coronary heart disease than those who don’t exercise regularly, says Dr Ken Cooper of the Cooper Institute of Aerobic Research, US. He also found that people in the lower 20 per cent of fitness were three times more likely to die prematurely than the fittest group. Have sex- Couples with a healthy sex life can look up to seven years younger than those who don’t, according to a study by Dr David Weeks at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital. This is because sex reduces stress, leads to greater contentment and better sleep. Never smoke again- The earlier you give up the better. Because the damage caused by smoking is cumulative, the longer a person smokes the greater the risk of developing a smoking-related disease. Enjoy chocolate- Research from the Harvard School of Public Health found that people who eat a moderate amount of chocolate live longer than those who eat sweets three or more times a week, and those who never touch sweets. Chocolate contains chemicals called phenols, which are thought to protect against heart disease and cancer. Don’t take work home- This can be a sign that you feel unable to cope, which can raise stress. According to research from Johns Hopkins University, in the US, stressed people are 20 times more likely to develop heart disease. Learn to relax- Try a relaxation technique such as yoga or meditation, both of which are proven to help alleviate stress. Relaxation reduces blood pressure and helps reduce stress-related conditions such as depression.
The new year is here! While many, many people plan to use this landmark time to get healthier or lose weight, the problem with these goals is that they are difficult to maintain. Most people want to see a significant weight loss within a few months or hope to change eating habits within a few weeks. Unfortunately, weight loss can be more complicated than that, but here are some tips to help you reach your goals. Set Realistic Goals- First, choose a resolution that is attainable. For example, set a time frame that within 3 months, you will lose 10 pounds. This would be a healthy way to lose weight, about 1-2 pounds per week. Ease into Exercise- Additionally, you can try to set a time to exercise with friends or family. If this is difficult, try to have your workout attire ready to go each day as a reminder to take action. Take breaks or walks during your work day to help get in the 30 minutes that you might not have time for later in the day. Once you do this for a couple of weeks, it will become more habitual. Most cell phones and other technology can help you set an alarm that will remind you to exercise. Make Your Health a Priority- Perhaps the most difficult thing to do is to make all of this work in your hectic schedule. It usually helps to maintain a list of things you need to do. To help with your cooking, try to plan a menu each week so you will know exactly what you need at the grocery store – and to minimize the possibility of ordering take-out. If you must eat lunch or dinner out, remember that healthy choices, such as salads or wraps, are better options. However, moderation is also OK. Occasionally having the dinner that you enjoy will not hinder your ultimate weight loss goal.
In sum, don’t try to put too much on your plate. Take each day as it comes, and do not get frustrated if you slip up every now and then. Don’t be afraid to start again!
Is swimming really the best workout for you? Swimming as a form of exercise has many advantages. Whether or not swimming is the best workout for your particular body depends on your unique needs and preferences. One of the often repeated comments about swimming is that it exercises your entire body. The truth of this really depends on how you approach swimming. It is possible to get in a pool and swim on your back without exerting much energy at all. However, if you are swimming laps using a stroke such as the front crawl or the breast stroke, you will use the muscles of your legs, arms, shoulders, buttocks and more. If you are swimming at a fast pace, racing others for example, or racing against your personal best, you will experience the cardiovascular benefits of swimming. Your heart will work harder and faster to generate energy. Your lungs will also strengthen as you breathe more quickly and intensely. Swimming is an ideal form of exercise if you are dealing with injuries. For example, if you are a runner and your knees can no longer endure the impact of running, swimming will be a more manageable way to get your daily exercise.
Don’t despair if you can’t fit in the recommended 30 minutes of daily exercise. Growing evidence suggests that even half that much can help.
It’s still no excuse to slack off. Regular exercise strengthens muscles, reduces the risk of some diseases and promotes mental well-being. The more exercise, the better.
But not everyone has the time or willpower. So researchers set out to find the minimum amount of physical activity needed to reap health benefits. The findings by a study in Taiwan suggest just 15 minutes of moderate exercise a day can lead to a longer life.
Want to get the most out of your workout? Then eat the right foods beforehand.
Although you may be tempted to skip the calories, the food you eat before you exercise will fuel your workout and maximize your efforts and results. Here are the best foods you can eat within an hour before your workout: Bananas- Bananas are loaded with digestible carbohydrates (read: fuel) and are packed with potassium, which aids in maintaining nerve and muscle function. The body doesn’t store potassium for very long, so a medium banana before a workout will help keep nutrient levels high. Oats- Oats are full of fiber, which means they gradually release carbohydrates into your bloodstream, Burke points out. This steady stream keeps your energy levels consistent during your workout. Oats also contain B vitamins, which help convert carbohydrates into energy. Wholegrain bread- A slice of wholegrain bread is a good source of carbohydrates and fiber. Fruit smoothies- Fruit smoothies are high in carbohydrates and high-quality protein. The carbs from fruit break down quickly and the protein is used later to prevent muscle damage.