Getting Fit and Healthy

What’s Abd?!!

In this final trilogy post of Health and Wellness, I will finally cover on how to get started on Fitness.

Fitness is defined by the three aspects of cardiovascular, strength and flexibility.

  • Cardiovascular aerobic fitness is the capacity to perform continuous intensive activities such as running, swimming or cycling.
  • Strength fitness is the amount of force a muscle can generate and
  • Flexibility fitness is the ability for muscles to move through a wide range of motion.

The benefits of having a good fitness include both health and social aspects.

The health benefits of regular exercise include:

  • Optimal weight for your height
  • Improved blood lipids profile
  • Better blood glucose control
  • Better blood pressure control
  • Decreased stress level
  • Decreased risk of osteoporosis
  • Decreased risk of heart diseases, stroke, diabetes and sleeping disorders
  • Better sleep

The social benefits of regular exercise are:

  • Higher work efficiency
  • Better body image
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Improved mental alertness
  • Improved social interaction

However, before you begin on getting fit, you need to be aware of your body condition. This is because physical exertion may put your body at risk of developing a heart attack or joint pain, especially if you have not been exercising for a while and is unfit.

Therefore, it is highly recommended that you go for a medical examination if you meet the following:

  • 35 years and above
  • Have not been exercising for a while
  • History of heart problem, diabetes, high cholesterol, high/low blood pressure
  • Overweight

Now to begin towards your aim of getting fit, abide by these general principles:

  • Start low – begin with a low intensity exercise
  • Go slow – progressing slowly with gradual increments
  • Gradually increase at rates no more than 10% each week
  • Listen to your body for signs of fatigue and pain

In good time, remember FITT
F – Frequency of exercise: 3 – 5 times a week
I – Intensity of exercise: Mild – Moderate
T – Time of exercise: 20 – 60 minutes per session
T – Type of exercises

To fully benefit from your exercise, you should be exercising at moderate intensity. Intensity differs from one individual to another. As you age, your heart slows down. You can try to calculate your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) which is measured by “220 – age”.

An example is as follows:
40 year old man
MHR = 220 – 40 = 180
50% of MHR = 50% of 180 = 90 beats/ min
70% of MHR = 70% of 180 = 126 beats/min

A 40 year old man starting an exercise is recommended to maintain heart rate between 90 – 126 beats/ min.

You can measure your heart rate by either:

  • Using a heart rate monitor (DUH!)
  • Measure your pulse rate by either placing two fingers on your wrists or just under your jaw.

Count the number of pulse beats in 15 seconds and multiply by 4 to obtain heart rate per min.

When doing exercise, you may want to identify the particular aspect of exercise that your wish to improve of build upon. You do not want to build strength but be doing cardiovascular exercise. Here’s a general guideline on what exercises are:

Cardiovascular Aerobic Exercise

These exercises involve the entire body and increases your heart rate and metabolism, thus, strengthening your heart and lungs and improve aerobic fitness.

Weights or Resistances (Anaerobic) Exercise

These exercises involves lifting loads either with weights or resistant bands, repetitively, involving one or a few muscles at one time (Think body building!). The stronger your muscle strength and endurance. The better you will be at lasting cardiovascular exercises. However, do take note that these exercises should be done 2 – 3 times a week only, giving at least a day or two in between to allow muscles to recover.

Flexibility or Stretching Exercises

These exercises improve the length and suppleness of your muscles and is important for good posture and joint health.

To continue improving your fitness and strength, you need to increase the amount of exercise. However, as a general guideline, increase your exercise by no more than 10% each week.

When exercising, it is also important to take note that you should be dressed appropriately. This is to allow good ventilation and reduces the risk of overheating and heat exhaustion. Wear clothes that are breathable (dri-fit or sleeveless). You also need to consider the environment that you are working out in (hot and humid, cold and freezing).

It is also important to have proper footwear and always wear socks. It is highly recommended that you get different pair of shoes for specific activities are different shoes are shaped differently for the different activities and may cause injury if worn for the wrong sport.

Also don’t forget to continuously hydrate yourself. After workout, abstain from caffeine and alcohol as these increase dehydration.

I hope this final edition of Health and Wellness has been helpful to those of you who are on track to losing weight or getting fit. If you have found this Health and Wellness beneficial for you, do drop me an email at and let me know how it has helped you.

All contents for Health and Wellness is credited to Alexandra Hospital.

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