11/03/2012

E ercise for life
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Sunday March 11, 2012

E e ci e fo life
ART OF HEALING BY DR AMIR FARID ISAHAK

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IN the previous two articles, I explained the importance of being active, especially to remain flexible, build and maintain sufficient muscles, and do regular aerobic exercises as we age. Today, I will share with you tips on doing an aerobic exercise programme that will help you secure your health and fitness as you grow older. Although the exercises can be done on the field, it is best if you also go to the gym because the machines can guide you and monitor your heart rate regularly. Some of you may even have your own home-gyms and personal trainers. The a m- p

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The purpose of the warm-up is literally to warmup the body so that the exercises to be done can be more efficiently and safely executed. Blood is gradually diverted to the muscles so that when the full exercise is done, it will not be a “shock” to the system. At rest, the body is in equilibrium, with the different body systems working at different rates depending on the tasks at hand. When any organ system has to work harder, the body diverts blood to that system at the expense of others.

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On the other hand. and the risk of both heart disease and stroke can be significantly reduced by regular aerobics exercise. you are not doing enough if you can talk with no difficulty while exercising. and can expect to remain healthy and flexible for as long as they practice. Now you know why you get sleepy after lunch. after a meal. You can follow the exercises I described previously or any set you have learned. The maximum target heart rate is calculated as 220 minus your age.11/03/2012 bea ing a e. After having done regular exercises. Ultimately.m /health/stor . S e ching You can do part or the whole set of stretching exercises as your warmup. and confer a smooth transition from the non-exercise phase to the exercise mode. light-weight training. then your maximum heart rate is 160 (bpm. briskwalking or jogging. and some other organs as well. The warm-up exercises should be light. You should only aim to reach this maximum if you are fit and have clearance from your doctor. but if you don t. much of the blood is diverted to the intestines and liver. The general guideline is to start at about 60% (about 100 bpm in this case) if you are unfit and just starting to exercise. which have to work hard for the next two hours or so. Since we don t always have enough time to do all the exercises we plan to do. make sure that the aerobics part is compulsory. and gradually increase the target heart rate as your fitness improves. You should not exert yourself until you collapse or risk having a heart attack. You will also breathe faster. Going ae obic The top cause of death is still heart disease. especially if you have to sit through a boring talk or lecture. the diversion even compromises brain circulation and you may become sleepy. The blood circulation is speeded up. E ercise for life For example. You should not get tired or strain yourself at this stage. Aerobic exercise means you have to continuously work your muscles so that your heart has to rev up to a higher beating rate. The third is stroke (second being cancer).com. So if you are 60. thestar. These can include stretching exercises. and you are not sweating. the improved oxygen and nutrient delivery to the body is sustained even at resting heart rates. Warm-up exercises should take five to 15 minutes and prepare you for higher intensity exercises. and so is oxygen uptake. all the organs will benefit even though we only exercise the muscles. our aim is to become healthier and avoid heart attacks. Those who do yoga asanas and pilates have the added advantage of having stretching/flexibility as their main exercise. A simple guideline is that you can continue to exercise as long as there is no chest discomfort or you are not gasping for breath. Remember. beats per minute). A study in the US has shown that unfit 40-year-old men became as fit as healthy 20-year-olds after six months of doing an hour of moderate to intensive aerobics exercises daily. since the perfusion of blood to the tissues has improved.asp?file=/2012/3/11/health/10888825&sec=health 2/5 . If you eat too much. There is increased and improved oxygen and nutrient delivery to the muscles. then it is good to do the full stretching exercises at least once a week.

Note that adequate duration of exercise is also important to have sustained benefits. stepper or cross-trainer). you should start with low intensity. five times a week. progress to moderate intensity. This is so that you don t get exhausted early and cease your exercise programme before doing the other planned exercises. In this way. giving a total of 150 minutes. i. you should aim for the highest target heart rate that your current level of health/fitness allows. The aim is to do 30 minutes. loitering on Facebook. it is possible to achieve maximum heart rate. that is even better. Ca dio-p lmona fi ne The main purpose of aerobics exercise is to promote healthier heart and lungs. You should allocate at least 30 minutes of your exercise time for aerobic exercise. Ae obic e e ci e fo eigh lo Aerobics exercise also burn calories.m /health/stor .e. or outdoors. You should also understand that different intensities of aerobic exercise give different long-term benefits. You can do the same on the other machines. being careful to not over-exert. I do moderate intensity for four minutes. For this purpose. If you can do aerobics seven days a week. I do so for a minimum of 20 minutes. you are likely to become exhausted and cut short your exercise duration. and also for safety reasons (so that you don t suddenly stress your heart).com. and that 20 minutes of such exercise is equivalent to 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise. But if you are not fit. reading/replying emails.11/03/2012 E ercise for life You can intermittently check your heart rate by checking your pulse for 15 seconds and multiplying the number by four. 145-160 bpm for the 60-year-old) for as long as possible during the high-impact portion of aerobic exercise. you should do highintensity aerobics exercise. you should prioritise your time because the advice is given based on studies. all the other organs will also benefit. It is better to have a wrist heart rate monitor (some watches have this incorporated in their mechanism). followed by high intensity (going full steam) for a minute. and only commence high intensity exercises when you are sufficiently fit. If you use gym equipment (treadmill. every five minutes on the cross trainer.asp?file=/2012/3/11/health/10888825&sec=health 3/5 . Va iable in en i ae obic You can maximise the benefit of your exercise time by combining moderate and high intensity exercises (or low and moderate if you are unfit).g. just as you should warm-up first before starting the proper exercise. and getting stuck in traffic jams. Those who are very healthy and fit should aim for and sustain 90-100% maximum heart rate (e. However. Whatever your situation. and then “rest” while still continuing to exercise. cycle. Most of us are not able to comply because we are “busy” with work. you should also do your aerobic exercise in stages. With the improved blood circulation and oxygen uptake. If you only do high intensity exercise. Studies have shown that this variable intensity method (also called “peak burst”) increases the benefits. so you can expect to lose some thestar. For example. the good ones all have built-in heart rate monitors. which is my favourite aerobics exercise machine.

For them. But weight loss should not be the main reason to exercise. S . If you do low intensity exercises. If you build muscles (which you should). There are even “Heart Attack Burgers” being sold in the US which are claimed to be “worth dying for”. but winning at all costs. Consider the difference between sprinters and marathon runners. Both will exhaust themselves by the end of the race in order to win. .11/03/2012 E ercise for life weight. Always stay within the target heart rate for your fitness level. . .com. . but he does not burn much calories. The marathon runner gets exhausted after several hours of running at a lower speed. it is not about staying fit. you need to double-up the duration. Sprinters are all muscular while marathon runners are all skinny.m /health/stor . So be smart and safe while you exercise to gain health and fitness. High intensity exercise is good for cardio-fitness.T . then you may start gaining weight despite losing fat because muscle is twice heavier than fat. .H . That is why both sprinters and long-distance runners are known to repeatedly over-exert their hearts. So if you want to lose weight through exercise. Let s exercise! D A S F Q @ I .T . Autopsies carried out on former athletes showed evidence of multiple “silent infarcts” (death of heart muscles that never gave any symptoms).asp?file=/2012/3/11/health/10888825&sec=health 4/5 .F . The reason the sprinter becomes exhausted after only 10 seconds is because 10 seconds of extreme exertion is the maximum that his heart can cope with. you need to do moderate intensity exercises for a longer duration (at least 30 minutes per day). when and how much you eat) then to torture yourself to burn the excess calories you consumed.T S . Many died before getting old. but not for losing weight. A small burger has about 300 calories. They were not aware that their hearts were suffering. You have to double or triple the effort if you indulge in the “double” and “triple” burgers now in fashion. Indeed the company s extremely obese spokesperson recently died of a heart attack after consuming their flagship “Quadruple Bypass Burger”! To lose weight. and burns thousands of calories in that time. The sprinter gets exhausted after 10 seconds of maximum speed. . It makes more sense to control your diet (what. you should emulate the marathon runner. . And that s not counting the potato chips and sweetened carbonated drinks that always come with the burger (another 300 calories or so). which requires a 70kg man to do an hour of moderate intensity exercise to burn off the calories. Competitive runners always exceed the “safe zone” in their conquest for victory. thestar.

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