Exercise for Life: Part 3
Dr. Steven Scappaticci, B.Sc. (Hons.), CSCS, DC, FRCms
Part 3: Aerobic Training
The third and final part of my 3-part series on exercise focuses on aerobic training, commonly referred to by many as “cardio” (although there are variations and combinations). To have everyone on the same page, aerobic exercise commonly refers to any activity that causes the body to require oxygen for its metabolic processes. Generally exercises that are carried out for extended periods of time are regarded as “aerobic” (e.g. running) where as exercises that are shorter in duration are categorized as “anaerobic” (e.g. strength training). Of course when intensity of exercise changes, so may these processes. It should be noted that both aerobic and anaerobic processes are active at any given time.
The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) has physical activity guidelines for multiple age groups. In the majority of these age groups, there are recommended amounts of aerobic exercise that individuals should be obtaining. The majority of the population (those ages 18-64) should be attaining a minimum of “150 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more”. This may sound like a lot but lets simplify things.
This means that over a span of 5 days, it would only take 30 minutes/day. And to make things simpler, you don’t necessarily have to do all 30 minutes at once; it can be broken up into two 15-minute sessions (perhaps before work and before dinner) or even three 10-minute sessions. The activity could be anything from a brisk walk to going for a run.
I know going on the treadmill for 30+ minutes may not be everyone’s preferred method of aerobic training, so try and find what works best for you. For me, I prefer to partake in sport-specific activities such as playing weekly ice hockey or basketball at the gym.
Everyone can spare 30 minutes in their day. Skip that extra half-hour of TV and go to the gym. Or if you really can’t get out of the house, invest in some form of equipment (e.g. treadmill, elliptical, or stationary bicycle), it will pay off in the long run!...no pun intended
The health benefits are numerous, in that there is a reduced risk of: premature death, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, certain cancers, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and obesity.
For those who have stayed with me through this entire 3-part series, first off I thank you for doing so. I hope you’ve learned a thing or two, been motivated to improve your current habits or encouraged someone else to improve their lifestyle.
To end this blog I will leave you with the following quote:
"What if there was one prescription that could prevent and treat dozens of diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity? Would you prescribe it to your patients? Certainly." - Robert E. Sallis, M.D., FACSM, Exercise is Medicine® Task Force Chairman
For more information, please visit http://www.csep.ca/home
Tip: Try to make it sport-specific (i.e. biking, soccer, tennis…etc.) or with young ones to get your daily dose of aerobic exercise.
Note: Consult with a health care practitioner before starting any new exercise regime. Similarly, if you have any joint pain, get examined/treated before putting that joint through any form of training.
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