What is Exercise?

Exercise is deliberate physical activity with the main purpose of improving and maintaining our health.

The difference between exercise and sports/recreation is that sports are focused typically on skills required to win or score higher points. Recreation is more focused on activities that are inherently enjoyable - like fishing, sailing or skateboarding.

Exercise can be divided into:

  • cardiovascular training;

  • strength training;

  • range of motion training; and

  • balance training.

We each need some of all of the above in order to enjoy the different benefits each type of exercise brings.

For cardiovascular training, we can exercise at a light, moderate, and vigorous intensity.

  • Light intensity exercises tend to help us heal our tendons and joints because the movements promotes blood flow into those areas of the body that don't get much action when we are sedentary. Examples include walking or cycling slowly.

  • Moderate intensity exercises help us to flush out the gunk building up in our blood veins and release a lot of neurochemicals and hormones that regulate our bodies' activity in controlling fat build-up, stress levels, and more. Examples include ballroom dancing, jogging, brisk walking, cycling at a moderate pace.

  • High intensity exercises help us to produce human growth hormone and really regenerate cells of many kinds throughout our body. Examples include running fast, running up hills, cycling hard and fast or up hills, or impactful dances like twerking, hiphop, and etc.

All cardiovascular training tends to help us secrete neurochemicals that make us feel energized, happy, confident, focused, and less stressed. It's a field day for mental health.

For strength training, the goal is to exhaust our muscles and to teach the brain to use our muscles. By lifting weights, or pulling on resistance bands, or using the weight of our body as resistance until we exhaust our muscles, we can train ourselves to become better at commanding our muscles and also increase our strength.

For range of motion training, the goal is to ensure we have enough range of motion to make safe and effective movements, but no more than is safe. Range of motion training consists of mobilization exercises and stretching.

Lastly, balance training involves getting a better sense of balance by using our proprioception (our sense of where our own body parts are), our sight, and our ears (they help us balance quite a bit)

My recommended weekly dosage of exercise is:

  • 2 x 30-minute strength training;

  • 2 x 30-minute moderate intensity cardiovascular training;

  • 2 x 30-minute high intensity cardiovascular training; and

  • Balance training and range of motion exercises should be done as required to prevent falls and maintain/reach a healthy range of motion.

Cycle through the exercises - don't do strength training or high intensity training back-to-back because it might stunt your progress or hurt you!

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