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Before you start planning a routine of regular physical activities for yourself, take some time to learn more about the variety of physical activities that you can engage in. Physical activities vary in terms of their intensity, duration, and the benefits they provide for your body. Find out how you should vary your physical activity in order to get the most out of your physical activity routine
When engaging in regular physical activity or planning your physical activity routine, it is important for you to know the types of physical activity that you should engage in and the benefits they provide:
Aerobic activity makes you breathe harder and your heart beat faster, as a result, increases heart and lung fitness. Examples include brisk walking, dancing, cycling, jogging, swimming and playing basketball.
Muscle-strengthening activity increase bone strength and muscular fitness. Such activities should work all the major muscle groups of your body, that is, the legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders and arms. Examples include doing exercises that use your body weight for resistance (e.g. push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups and squats), working with resistance band and weight training.
The good news is that you can:
How do I measure intensity?
Intensity is how hard your body is working during aerobic activity. Let's take a look at the difference between moderate-intensity and vigorous-intensity activities.
Moderate-intensity aerobic activity
Moderate-intensity aerobic activity causes a slight increase in breathing and heart rate. However, you are still able to talk but not sing during the activity. You should also be perspiring. Examples include:
Vigorous-intensity aerobic activity
Vigorous-intensity aerobic activity will cause your heart rate to increase significantly. You will find yourself breathing hard and fast and it will find it hard to hold a conversation with someone.
Examples of vigorous-intensity physical activity include:
These activities may vary in intensity between individuals depending on the effort put in and their fitness levels.
To help you gauge more accurately how hard you have been exercising, you can use the Intensity Guide below. If you prefer to exercise at moderate intensity, you should work towards 70%-80% of your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR).
If you are aiming for vigorous intensity, you should work towards 80%-85% of your Maximum Heart Rate. [Note: Maximum Heart Rate = 220 – Your Age]
Take the following steps to determine your desired intensity:
At the end of your activity, take your pulse to measure your heart rate.
Your pulse can be felt on your wrists and neck. Count the number of beats for 15 seconds
Using the Intensity Guide below, read off from your Age and calculated heart rate (in Step 2) to determine whether you have been exercising in your desired intensity.
For example, if you are 40 years old, your MHR is 220–40 = 180 beats per minute (bpm).
For moderate-intensity physical activity, a 40-year-old should therefore aim for 60-80% of this MHR, which is 108-144 bpm.
Besides aerobic activity, you should also engage in activities that strengthen your muscles on 2 or more days a week. Muscle-strengthening activity (also known as strength training) should work all the major muscle groups of your body, that is, the legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders and arms.
Muscle-strengthening activity helps to:
Muscle-strengthening activity can be done either at home or in a gym. Examples include:
Muscle-strengthening activities should be performed to the point at which it is difficult to do another repetition. A repetition is one complete movement of an activity, like lifting weights or doing sit-ups. You can:
Muscle strengthening activities should include 8-10 different exercises that work the various large muscle groups.
Now that you know the types of physical activity for health benefits, it's time to get active. Use the recommendations as a guide to help you in your journey of health and fitness.
Everyone can enjoy physical activity. However, if you have not been active and have a medical condition such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes or asthma, do consult your doctor on the type and amount of physical activity suitable for you.
This article was last reviewed on
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
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