The Heart of the Matter
The cardiovascular system is made up of the heart, the lungs and the blood supply (including the arteries and veins) and it is what most people associate with fitness; i.e. when exercising breathing speeds up, the heart rate goes up and you heat up!
For some time the medical community refused to accept that fitness was directly related to health, obesity and sickness. In fact the only health risk factors they accepted for coronary risk (risk of heart attack) were, family history, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and smoking.
It is now widely accepted that in addition to those well proven risk factors; a lack of exercise (and being overweight) are directly associated with all the above risk factors for heart disease; and indeed have been added as risk factors…i.e. a lack of exercise and obesity directly contribute to the chances of getting many other metabolic diseases, some cancers and that taking regular exercise is of benefit in reducing all health/disease risk including psychological illness.
See this article in the Daily Mail by Sophie Borland: Why being a couch potato is as bad for you as smoking: Failing to get fit causes 90,000 deaths a year
And also a recently published article in The Metro highlighting the cost of lack of exercise to the NHS
So, with Christmas only a couple of weeks away, we think some moderate cardiovascular exercise is a great present – for you! But remember, before you begin exercise of this nature you should get checked by your doctor if you have any health issues.
The big questions then become; what is the best exercise to do and how best to do that exercise. A major recent review of exercise guidelines concluded the following:
- All healthy adults aged 18 to 65 years need moderate-intensity aerobic (endurance) physical activity for a minimum of 30 minutes on five days each week or:
- vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity for a minimum of 20 minutes on three days each week.
- Combinations of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity can be performed to meet this recommendation. For example, a person can meet the recommendation by walking briskly for 30 min twice during the week and then jogging for 20 minutes on two other days.
- Moderate-intensity aerobic activity, which is generally equivalent to a brisk walk and noticeably accelerates the heart rate, can be accumulated toward the 30-minutes minimum by performing bouts each lasting 10 or more minutes.
- Vigorous-intensity activity is exemplified by jogging, and causes rapid breathing and a substantial increase in heart rate (author’s note in final point)*
- In addition, every adult should perform activities that maintain or increase muscular strength and endurance a minimum of two days each week.
- *[Author’s additional point] In addition to these guidelines recent studies have found that – for healthy individuals – working at very high (i.e. close to maximum effort) intensities for just 15 seconds followed by a recovery (i.e. at very low intensity such as walking) of about 45 seconds also has very good outcomes on health and fitness. This is called Interval Training; and following around 10 minutes of low to moderate exercise to prepare (warm up) the body a period of say 10-15 minutes of this interval type work is a great way to get maximum benefits from a minimal time commitment.
Most people consider jogging to be ‘what you do’ when it comes to cardiovascular (otherwise known as aerobic) fitness training, but that is not the case. Any type of activity that meets the guidelines above is appropriate, from using a step machine or pool at the gym (which are great alternatives to the jarring associated with jogging/running) to climbing hills, rowing or virtually anything else! However, if you are injury free and able to walk/jog this is by far the easiest, low cost and convenient way to incorporate aerobic exercise into your day. In fact a walk-jog/run approach is a great way to begin Interval Training too.
With just 20-30 minutes needed at a time it’s very hard to see how we don’t fit exercise in isn’t it? – from walking from a bus stop earlier, walking to get the papers/shopping, or that 20 minute walk before bed – which by the way is one of the best known ways to get to sleep if you have trouble doing that…more on that one in the following Fox’s Fitness feature!
All content on Silversurfers.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated at all as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Silversurfers will not be responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content on www.silversurfers.com and we are also not liable for the content of any external websites or links from or to Silversurfers to any other websites. Please always consult your own doctor if you’re in any way concerned about any aspect of your health.
For more features on health click here ←
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!