Beginners Guide to Exercise

The prospect of exercise can be an unappealing one, especially so if you have not regularly exercised throughout the course of your life. When considering getting up and becoming more active, many have flashbacks to their school days where they used to try and conjure up any conceivable excuse to avoid P.E. lessons. The hardest task of all is to make a conscious decision to start exercising to improve your health and put the wheels in motion.

The first few sessions may seem exhausting and unsustainable, but persistence is key. After several workouts, tangible progress can be expected and the reluctant approach to workout is regularly transformed to an enthusiastic attitude. As an American doctor Robert H. Butler once famously said, “If exercise could be purchased in a pill, it would be the single most widely prescribed and beneficial medicine in the nation.” A great quote which leads us to look at the benefits that can be obtained from exercising:

Psychological

Studies on runners have shown that during exercise, chemicals called endorphins are produced in the brain and released into the bloodstream. Endorphins are short for ‘endogenous morphine’ which refers to morphine naturally produced in the body. Endorphins give a sense of euphoria, referred to as ‘runners high’. So by working out, you are releasing chemicals that can improve your mood and decrease stress. Exercising is more and more commonly being advised by doctors for those suffering from depression, as it also increases dopamine and serotonin levels. Get those gym trainers on and give yourself a natural high – what is not to like!

Weight Loss

Weather its right or wrong the main reason that most people participate in exercise is to lose weight. An 80kg, 30 year old male exercising for 40 minutes, will typically burn around 600 calories. One pound of fat is around 3000 calories, and therefore in theory, by exercising five times a week, the man would lose one pound of fat in that time period, assuming his weight and food before was consistent. Some individuals will lose more, and some less (dependant on metabolic rate and body type), but ultimately regular exercise is a great way to shed those extra pounds. What I’m trying to say people is that in order to burn 1 pound of body fat you need to create a 3,000 calorie deficit and the more you train the easier this target becomes. However remember your nutrition is key too. There’s no point in burning 600 calories in a 40 minute boot camp then drinking a 300 calorie lucozade as it will cancel the deficit down to just 300.

Health

People forget just how important exercise is and the importance it has on your health as we go through life and the ageing process kicks in. As ‘our worlds’ are becoming more sedentary its important we fight against in activity with as many different exercises and training methods as possible. Exercise has proven health benefits. The risk of having coronary heart disease, a stroke and diabetes type 2 are all reduced by up to 35% when undertaking regular physical activity. The chance of developing certain cancers such as colon and breast cancer is also significantly minimised.

Now that we have established that being active has a multitude of benefits (obviously!), it is time to figure what type of workout to do, and how often:

Type Of Exercise

There are two main types of exercise – aerobic and anaerobic. When performing slow and steady aerobic cardio (such as jogging), the body uses its fat stores for energy and over a period of time, an individual is likely to lose weight. With high intensity interval training (HIIT), or a sport such as basketball or hockey, the body uses blood sugar for immediate energy. However, for the days’ following the exercise, fat is burned as the metabolic rate (rate at which you burn fat) increases.

For optimum health and fitness I would recommend a combination of both training methods and energy pathways would be suggested. Weight training programs are also essential for both males and females and primarily fall into the anaerobic bracket, however using lighter weights with higher reps, the schedules can be changed into more of an aerobic workout. Weight training refers to splitting the actual muscle fibres in your muscles. Your muscles then rebuild stronger. This process takes lots of extra calories which helps build muscle and burn fat. The more muscle you build the more fat you burn.

Both aerobic and anaerobic exercise can help you lose weight and have associated benefits – it really is down to personal preference, but is often best to combine the two. So yes that’s correct ladies you if you are series about losing body fat, weight training will help you do so.

Regularity

The number of times a week you exercise, really depends upon your personal goals, fitness level and schedule. Those newbies who are not used to working their body hard, will want to focus initially on exercising 2-3 times a week. Once stamina, muscle tolerance and fitness increases, this can be increased. Especially important to note that when working out with weights, it is important to provide your body with enough rest so that the muscles can repair and grow. Working out when sore can be detrimental to gains, not to mention painful!

You have made the choice to start working out, but as a beginner you are unsure where to begin. Utilising a fitness trainer can be a great way to identify goals and set a structured exercise plan to achieve them.