Sunday, May 11, 2008

Are all exercises the same?

Many people do exercise. Some play badminton with their friends, some jog in the park or in their taman, some work out in the gym, and so on. All of these are exercises, as they involve moving our muscles. But, all they all the same? Do they give us the same benefits?

All exercises offer benefits, but different exercises produce different benefits to different body parts. Some types of exercise or activity will improve the condition of our heart and lungs if they are brisk, sustained and regular. The higher the intensity of the exercise, the more it conditions our heart and lungs. Low-intensity activities do not condition the heart and lungs much. But they can have other long-term health benefits.

The table below shows three types of sample activities and how they affect our heart and lungs:

Sample Exercises/Activities and Their Impact On Our Heart & Lungs

Column 1 - These vigorous exercises are especially helpful when done regularly. To condition our heart and lungs, work more than 50% of our maximum heart rate. These exercises can also burn up more calories than those that are not so vigorous.

Column 2 - These activities are moderately vigorous but still excellent choices. They burn lesser calories but still can condition our heart and lungs

Column 3 - These activities are not vigorous or sustained. They still have benefits - they can be enjoyable, improve coordination and muscle tone, relieve tension, and also help burn up some calories. These and other low-intensity activities - like gardening, yard- work, housework, dancing and home exercise - can help lower our risk of heart disease if done daily.

To know how often do we need to exercise in a week, check out my comment on How much calories can you burn?.

In a nutshell:

Different exercises provide different kind of benefits. Know what we want to achieve, and choose the appropriate type of exercise accordingly. Bottom line is, no matter what type of exercise do we choose, do it consistently.

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