What is the importance of exercise?
Exercise is extremely important. Not only does it aid in helping you maintain a healthy weight, give you more energy, and help you sleep more at night, it significantly increases lifespan. In addition, those who exercise are far less likely to deal with both Type II Diabetes, as well as high blood pressure. Even just 10 minutes of exercise per day can change how you live and feel for the better.
When exercising or participating in sports, it is very important to warm up and cool down. Warming up prepares your muscles for strenuous movement and helps you avoid injury. Cooling down helps your body recover from the movement it has just performed. Great sports activities are those that work your body, and that are fun. Some include basketball, volleyball, tennis, and more. It is important to educate yourself on the muscles that will be engaged in each sport and to warm those areas up before you start playing.
Types of Exercise
Some people cringe at the thought of exercise. Fortunately, there are many fun ways to engage in physical activity that won’t cause you distress. You can select the type of exercise you find most enjoyable and perform it regularly, but a combination of the types listed below will generate the most positive results.
Cardiovascular training, otherwise known as “cardio,” involves large muscle groups and the increase of heart rate. Cardiovascular exercises include jogging, running, swimming, jumping jacks, jump rope, and biking. These exercises are usually performed for around 30 minutes at a time.
Resistance training involves using resistance against the muscles to increase the strength and size of those muscles. Some types of resistance exercises include planks, arm raises, and wall squats. Many individuals incorporate resistance bands to increase the level of resistance and make the exercises more difficult.
Weight training involves the usage of weights to increase the strength, size, and power of muscles. Forms of weight training include dumbbell curls, barbell squats, kettlebell presses, and benching. Weight training is low-endurance and places great tension on the muscles.
Perhaps one of the most fun ways to engage in exercise is by playing sports. Many sports are very physically engaging and entertaining. Football, baseball, basketball, dodgeball, kickball, tennis, and more are all physically demanding, but also fun! You can even participate in these with your friends to make your exercise more enjoyable. The below are types of training that you can expect to undertake for most sports.
Balance training helps individuals master their balance and improve their posture. Many balance exercises focus on the core and general coordination. Some of the exercises here include balancing on a board for at least 30 seconds at a time. For an increased challenge, maintaining balance while standing on an exercise ball can improve overall balance, this training method is popular for those in sports such as gymnastics, football, rugby etc where balance is essential.
Speed training involves both speed strength and speed conditioning. The first being the application of maximum force (power) at a high velocity (usually seen in sports like weightlifting). This type of training is essential in sports that require explosive power to achieve results. Speed conditioning focuses more on maintaining high velocity for more than 5 seconds. As both these training types are important for speed, all athletes have some benefit in participating in either or both as it can provide a competitive advantage e.g. 100m, 200m sprint
Power training is important as it trains an athlete in order to enable them to utilise their maximum strength in a short period of time. This is important in various sports, as although the majority of sports require quick movements with a greater level of power output an athlete may lack explosive power even if he or she is physically very strong. Therefore power training focuses on the effective combination of speed and strength.
Flexibility training is usually one of the most underrated types of sports conditioning available. Known as a key component in pre-activity injury prevention, flexibility plays a large part in the warm-up phases prior to any sporting activity. From kicking a football to performing summersaults, the flexibility of the muscles and joints in the body is vital in the range of motion available to the individual.
Regardless of the type of exercise you select, it is very important to take measures to prevent injury. It is highly recommended that you warm up your body before a workout, and cool down your body after a workout. You can warm up by stretching out the muscles you will engage, and by performing light cardio to increase your heart rate slightly. You can also cool down by stretching the muscles you used.
You will likely sweat during your exercise. Therefore, it is important to be hydrated before you work out, sip water while you work out, and drink plenty of water after you work out. “Loss of body fluids containing water and electrolytes during exercise is mostly by sweating” .
Lastly, while exercising regularly can reap amazing benefits, it is important to make sure your body is recovering from your training. Especially if you are engaging in very vigorous training, you should allow yourself one rest day per week. It is also critical that you are eating a healthy diet and getting enough sleep at night. Otherwise, your body may suffer from fatigue, and you increase your chances of injury.
Testing your boundaries and getting out of your comfort zone is great when exercising. However, it is important to understand your limitations. Depending on your age, weight, and physical condition, you may be limited in ways others are not. For example, many older individuals are not as flexible as they were when they were younger. Therefore, this should be acknowledged, and inflexible individuals should not partake in activities that demand high flexibility before they are ready.
Furthermore, health conditions such as asthma or arthritis, may at times limit what work can be done, therefore it is important to see a doctor and receive approval before engaging in very vigorous training.
- American Diabetes Association (2010) Exercise and Type 2 Diabetes – http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/33/12/e147.short
- Sage Journals (2010) The Significance of Water in Sport and Weight Control, M.R. Naghii – http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/026010600001400205