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Physical Training & Fitness 'Fitnwell' (www.fitnwell.net) © 2000.

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Exercises         Learn how and what to exercise!


Exercise need not be unpleasant. Exercise basically, is any movement in excess of what you do normally at rest. This can start with a leisurely stroll - yes, just a simple walk up the road and back again.

Mobility is the ability of the body to move its constituent parts through the full range of movement that they were designed for. This in essence is achieved by stretching; a full programme of stretching routines is appended below. If you would like some advice, e mail the Webmaster at the address indicated on the home page. Click here for a full Anatomy Chart.

On this page we will look at the relative merits of  exercising at Home, exercising at The Gym, using Free Weights, or using Machines. Also here is a shortcut to exercises for: 

| Upper Body | Lower Body | Abdoms | Back | Stretch |

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Cardiovascular Exercise:

For maximum effectiveness and safety, cardiovascular exercise has specific instructions on the frequency, duration, and intensity. These are the three important components of cardiovascular exercise that you really need to understand and implement in your program. In addition, your cardiovascular program should include a warm-up, a cool-down, and stretching of the primary muscles used in the exercise.

Warming Up and Stretching
One very common mistake is stretching before muscles are warmed-up. It is important to stretch after your muscles are warm (after blood has circulated through them). Never stretch a cold muscle. First warm up. A warm-up should be done for at least 5-10 minutes at a low intensity. Usually, the warm-up is done by doing the same activity as the cardiovascular workout but at an intensity of 50-60% of maximum heart rate (max HR). After you've warmed-up for 5-10 minutes at a relatively low intensity, your muscles should be warm. To prevent injury and to improve your performance, you should stretch the primary muscles used in the warm up before proceeding to the cardiovascular exercise.

Cooling Down
The cool down is similar to the warm-up in that it should last 5-10 minutes and be done at a low intensity (50-60% of max HR). After you have completed your cardiovascular exercise and cooled-down properly, it is now important that you stretch the primary muscles being used. Warming-up, stretching, and cooling-down are very important to every exercise session. They not only help your performance levels and produce better results, they also drastically decrease your risk of injury.

Frequency of Exercise
The first component of cardiovascular exercise is frequency of the exercise, which refers to the number of exercise sessions per week. To improve both cardiovascular fitness and to decrease body fat or maintain body fat at optimum levels, you should exercise (cardiovascular) at least three days a week. It is recommended three to five days a week for most cardiovascular programs. Those of you who are very out of shape and/or who are overweight and doing weight-bearing cardiovascular exercise such as an aerobics class or jogging, might want to have at least 36 to 48 hours of rest between workouts to prevent an injury and to promote adequate bone and joint stress recovery.

Duration of Exercise
The second component of cardiovascular exercise is the duration, which refers to the time you've spent exercising. The cardiovascular session, not including the warm-up and cool-down, should vary from 20-60 minutes to gain significant cardio-respiratory and fat burning-benefits. Each time you do your cardiovascular exercise, try to do at least 20 minutes or more. Of course, the longer you go, the more calories and fat you'll "burn" and the better you'll condition your cardiovascular system. All beginners, especially those who are out of shape, should take a very conservative approach and train at relatively low intensities (50-70% max HR) for 10-25 minutes. As you get in better shape, you can gradually increase the duration of time you exercise.

It is important that you gradually increase the duration before you increase the intensity. That is, when beginning a walking program for example, be more concerned with increasing the number of minutes of the exercise session before you increase the intensity, by increasing your speed or by walking hilly terrain.

Remember that cardiovascular exercise should be done a minimum of three times a week and a minimum of 20 minutes per session. Once your muscles are warm (after warm up) and after the cardiovascular exercise, you should stretch those muscles used in the exercise. For example, after bicycling, stretch your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, hips, and low back. After doing the rowing machine, stretch your legs, back, biceps, and shoulders. Good luck and enjoy all the wonderful benefits of cardiovascular exercise.

Here is a handy calculator to work out calories burned while running/jogging
 

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Fitness is a varying absolute state. Our fitness is the measure of an individual's physical ability - now! Improving fitness is a simple matter of increasing physical mobility in excess of that which is being done - now! All activity burns up energy, which is measured in calories. Any increase in activity requires a corresponding requirement for energy. Any increase in energy output, with no increase in food input, results in weight loss. It really is as simple as that.

Schedule your workout as you would any other appointment. Start by determining whether you are a morning, afternoon, or evening person. Ask yourself, "When do I have the most energy and the extra time? When am I most likely to get my workout done?"

A full-body, beginner's workout uses your own bodyweight or free-weights for light resistance. If you don't have a set of free-weights, bottled water and tinned cans of foods are just as good! Keep in mind this home-based workout can be done anywhere. The cheapest home gym equipment is your stairs unless, of course, you live in a bungalow! You will need to be inventive if cost is a priority. Consider this: most stairs are free, often weather-proof, and accessible just about anywhere. You've got no more excuses for not working out. If you belong to a health club or are planning on joining one, your workout can go along with you. It is recommended you enlist a friend, and alternate exercising at your home and theirs. This has the advantage of making sure you adhere to your programme, perhaps when you think you might like to have a day off; you tend to be good discipline imposers for each other.

Anatomy Chart

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The Case for Home Exercise

Convenience. For convenience, there's no place like home. You don't have to conform to the gym's hours, travel time is tallied in seconds, the weather is no worry, and parking is no problem. Also, you don't have to fret over your looks unless you care what the dog thinks.

Pumped-up privacy. At home, you can avoid people you don't know or like. Beginners, who often feel weak and awkward, may especially crave the privacy of home. Working out with folks of the opposite sex can also be intimidating.

No noise, no waiting: The home gym has few distractions, such as someone else's loud music or chatter. Also, there's no waiting in line.

Clean interior: At home, the sweat on the bench and the germs on the bar are your own.

Low money down: Equipping a home gym can cost relatively little if you are satisfied with the basics.

No monthly payments: Most commercial gyms require payment for a year or more whether you attend or not.

The Case for the Gym

Adult stimulation: Gyms and health clubs often teem with motivated exercisers who can inspire you when you would rather loaf. Home exercise, on the other hand, can be tedious unless you work out with a buddy or can afford to hire a personal trainer.

Social services: The social climate of the gym lets you meet new friends and enjoy camaraderie.

Club pros: Good gyms offer professional supervision. (Some gyms, though, are staffed by salespeople with little exercise background, so ask before you join.) Many gyms offer professional trainers for a fee.

Loaded with options: Gyms have many exercise stations, including aerobic options.

Open spaces: A home gym, however modest, may demand more space than you have available.

Convenient locations: Membership in a gym that is part of a chain allows the use of all branches, which means you can exercise for free when you are out of town or across town.

The Bottom Line

If you can afford it, both options are best: Use free weights and a bench at home when you can't get to the gym. Most people, though, must choose between home and gym. If so, decide which advantages are most important to you. If you lack motivation, for example, the gym might be better.

 


Dumbbells or 'Smart' Machines?

The Case for Free Weights

Versatility: Free weights, especially dumbbells, offer great versatility for strength training. A dumbbell exercise can be altered by holding the dumbbells with your palms facing forward, facing the thighs, or facing the rear. Voilà--you have three separate exercises that work your muscles in different ways. Machines, in contrast, are much more limited, with most devices allowing only one exercise apiece.

Cheque-book payoff: Barbells and dumbbells are relatively inexpensive. The expense climbs when adding benches, racks, and other accessories, but even then, the cost is far less than the thousands of dollars that some high-tech machines cost. Multiple-station machines designed for home use are an option. Some cheaper machines, though, may be poor in quality, a bit clunky, and in need of considerable upkeep.

Motivational lift: Resistance training requires a lot of desire and motivation. Lifting a loaded barbell may offer a greater sense of accomplishment than working against a given resistance on a machine.

Explosive action: A good many coaches believe that the gains derived from free weights transfer better to sports  that require strength. What helps, they say, is that lifting heavy barbells promotes explosive bursts of power. Strength-training machines tend to control movements and to discourage explosiveness.

Muscle grouping: Some barbell exercises involve several major muscle groups at the same time, lifting a barbell from the floor to the chest, for example, then pressing it overhead. Like explosiveness, this also helps in transferring strength from the gym to athletes.

The Case for Machines

Safety. Machines have built-in safety features. When you can no longer push a weight, you can slide out from under it. Free weights can pin you when your muscles tire. Also, weights can fall off the end of the bar and cause injury.

Hope for the clumsy: Machines remove balance as a factor. With free weights, the novice must learn to balance the weight while exerting force. This can be difficult and dangerous when, for example, you lift a weight overhead or do squats.

Directed lifting: Machines ensure correct movements for a lift, which helps prevent cheating when fatigue sets in. Barbells, in contrast, can be swung for momentum rather than lifted slowly and steadily, which works the muscles better. Another way to "cheat" the muscles is to tilt forward or backward to shift stress from the targeted muscles to larger and stronger muscles.

Focused training:  Machines isolate the specific muscles that are exercising. This is good for rehabilitating an injury or strengthening a specific body part.

High-tech resistance: Machines can offer high-tech options like varying resistance during the lifting motion. This can tax muscles in ways that a traditional barbell cannot.

Quick change: Changing the resistance on a machine simply means inserting a pin or entering a code. With free weights, plates must be hoisted on and off the bar.

Less clutter: Machines are self-contained and neat. There are no weights scattered about creating a hazard and an eyesore.

The Bottom Line

In general, machines may be preferable for the novice because of their convenience, safety, and ease of operation. But cost is a factor for home exercisers. Strength athletes prefer free weights to machines, because they yield more sports-specific gains. Beginners may want to eventually add some free weight exercises to their routine to cover all the basics.

YOU PAY YOUR MONEY; YOU MAKE YOUR CHOICE! My advice is: Keep it simple!

No pain, no gain is a fallacy. Focus on good form, go slow, and stop if it hurts. Preview  schedules for instructions on proper form and execution of basic schedule. If there is an activity you prefer to walking, such as cycling or swimming, feel free to replace the cardiovascular portion with the activity of your choice. Try not to overdo it! A full-body resistance program should be done 1 to 3 times per week and never on consecutive days. Your muscles need adequate time to rest and recover. Cardiovascular exercise (walking, swimming, cycling) should be done a minimum of three days a week. You have the tools to get you going. Start today, be consistent, and you’re on your way to health for a lifetime.

Exercises: 

Upper body:

Arm curls: With feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, grasp a broom handle or something similar and hold it in both hands with palms facing forward and handle resting on thighs. Curl the bar up to just below chin height and return to starting position and repeat.

 

Half Push-Ups: Lie face down. Place your palms on the floor wider than shoulder width. Keep your body straight - do not stick your bottom up in the air. Keeping your thighs on the floor, raise your body up as far as you can comfortably, then lower yourself back down. This exercise can be done on your knees or toes, depending how fit and strong you are.

Triceps Dips: Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair. Place your palms on the chair on either side of you, finger tips pointing down. Slide your buttocks off the chair and slowly lower and lift yourself with your arms. Keep your elbows behind you, shoulders down, knees bent and hips close to the chair. For greater intensity, extend your legs.

Upright Rowing: Use the broom handle again; position it across the thighs, hands close together and facing inward. Raise the bar upward, keeping the elbows higher than the bar, until the bar is almost level with the chin. Lower and repeat.

Lower body:

Squats: With feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, move your buttocks behind you as if you were about to sit down in a chair. Keep your abdominal muscles contracted and your knees over your ankles or the mid-line of your foot. Make sure your pelvis is not leading you forward. Bend the knees until your thighs are parallel with the floor, or a 90 degree angle at the knee, raise the arms to the front, and return to standing

                       

Calf Raises: Stand up straight and hold something firm for balance. Use one or both feet. Slowly raise up on your toe (s), lifting your heel (s) off the floor and squeezing the muscles in the calf. Release with control.

Alternating Lunges: With feet hip-width apart, step one leg forward and lift your back heel. Make sure your front knee remains over the ankle as you slowly lower your back knee toward the floor, but do not let the knee hit the floor. Push yourself back up to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.

Leg curls: Sit in chair, grasping seat firmly with both hands. Sit back and raise lower legs together until both legs are nearly straight. Lower and repeat.

Abdominal or stomach:  See specific Abdominal Exercises Page  for advanced information.

Abdominal Curls (trunk curls): Lie face up with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, hands palm down on your thighs. Contract your abdominal muscles and lift and lower your torso in a slow, continuous motion, until you can look between your legs. Moving the position of the hands will increase the difficulty. Guard against pulling on your head and neck.

                               

Abdominal half crunch: Lie face up with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, hands palm down on the floor. Contract your stomach muscles and roll your knees to as near your chest as you can. Maintain balance with hands on floor.

Crossover crunch: This exercise hits the obliques, which wrap around your sides and are key to creating a taut waistline. Lie on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor, and place your left ankle on your right knee. Put your hands to the side of  your head, with your elbows pointing out. Slowly raise your right shoulder toward your left knee, lifting your upper back and twisting slightly. Keep your elbow in line with your ear, not in front of you. Don't pull on your head or neck. Hold, then slowly lower. Repeat to the other side.

Seated knee lift: This exercise not only tones your abdoms, but you can do it  without getting on the floor. Sit up straight in a firm, armless chair. Hold the chair's edges just in front of your hips. While supporting yourself with your hands, slowly draw your knees up toward your chest (or as far as you can comfortably raise them) while breathing out, keeping your lower back pressed against the chair. Hold, then slowly lower. Repeat as required.

Back:

Low Back Extensions: Lie face down with your legs extended and your arms above your head (thumbs up). With your neck in line with the spine, slowly lift the left arm and the right leg simultaneously, contracting the low back and buttocks. Repeat other side. Avoid excessively arching your back.

                                                                     

Side to Side bending: Stand upright with arms to the side. Bend the body to the right reaching the right hand down the right leg. When at full extent return to the upright position and carry on bending over to the left. Repeat slowly from side to side. Keep body straight.

Side to Side Twisting: Stand upright with hands touching shoulders. Twist trunk to the right to full extent and try to look behind you, when at full extent return to starting position and continue twisting through to the left. Repeat slowly from side to side. Keep body upright and straight.

Stretches:

Arms: 1. Big circling movements, with straight arms, slowly, both forward and backward. 2. Alternate straight arm across chest, use other hand to ease arm against chest. 3. Alternate forearm behind head, grasp hands and gently pull with other hand.

Legs: 1. Standing, pull alternate foot up behind you until heel is as close to the buttocks as you can get it, stretching the thighs. Hold on to something firm. 2. Bend alternate knee and put heel of other foot out in front, leg straight with toes pulled back toward you press with hands on thigh of bent knee and sit back and down. 3. Rest hands against a wall about head height, put one foot behind the other with foot flat on the floor, leg straight and ease back stretching the calf muscle. Alternate. 4. Lie on back and pull back on alternate leg at the knee level, or put a towel over the foot and pull foot gently toward you. 

Back & Side: 1. Bending and twisting from side to side, keeping body upright with hands on hips or touching shoulders. Slowly moving through full range. 2. Lie face down with hands under shoulders, gently and slowly push up and hollow back, hold and return and repeat.

Chest: Clasp hands behind back and gently pull back and down while pushing the chest out. Hold for a few seconds, return and repeat. Breathe normally

Neck:  1. Hands on hips, pull chin in, ease shoulders forward while easing head back. 2. Bend head from side to side facing straight to the front, stretching side of neck. 3. Turn head from side to side to look behind you, keeping head upright.

Hip Girdle: Stand, hands on hips, gently rotate hips pushing pelvis forward and buttocks to the rear as you circle. Start rotating to the left and then change to the right.

Cat Arch: Kneel on floor with hands shoulder width apart on the floor. Arch back and gently rock forward and backward.

                                                 



Use your imagination and do it gently! You know it makes sense!

If you need advice in the meanwhile, e mail: the Webmaster.                                                 

                                                                            

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Copyright © 2000 Fitnwell, UK
Wednesday September 08, 2010 12:43:13

| home | abdominal exercises | aspartame | blood pressure | BMI | calculators | contacts | diet advice  | dumbbell exercises | exercises | fitness | fitness links | fitness log | gym equipment | lifts | men's page | MFW | MFW Trolls |  Misc | schedules seniors' page | sitemap | useful links | weight training | women's page

This is the home of Physical Training & Fitness - 'Fitnwell' - It is hoped that you enjoy your time here and that you find something of interest. Do let me know if you have any queries, and also your feedback.


 

 

Check out the lively current affairs blog

The Quite Extraordinary Life we all Live

Disclaimer

Copyright © 2000 Fitnwell, UK
Wednesday September 08, 2010 12:43:13

| home | abdominal exercises | aspartame | blood pressure | BMI | calculators | contacts | diet advice  | dumbbell exercises | exercises | fitness | fitness links | fitness log | gym equipment | lifts | men's page | MFW | MFW Trolls |  Misc | schedules seniors' page | sitemap | useful links | weight training | women's page

This is the home of Physical Training & Fitness - 'Fitnwell' - It is hoped that you enjoy your time here and that you find something of interest. Do let me know if you have any queries, and also your feedback.

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