Before starting an exercise program, you and your health professional need to understand what your immediate goals are. Are you trying to lose weight? Increase strength? Train for a particular sport? Do you have any swelling? Pain? Weakness? Are your joints stiff? Once you know what you want to accomplish, it’s a lot easier to figure out where to start. Research shows that immediate results usually motivate people to continue what they are doing. If your goal is to decrease joint stiffness through stretching, but then you decide to start with strengthening exercises that don’t address the stiffness you could lose motivation. If you’re trying to lose weight, but don’t do any fat-burning exercises, you won’t get the results you want (certainly not in the time frame you want). Always remember to have short-term goals and work from there.
Exercise should consist of three clear phases. Begin with five to 10 minutes of warm-ups. Keep in mind that a “warm-up” is not the same thing as stretching. Warming up means doing low-intensity range-of-motion exercises that increase your body temperature. This increase in body temperature heats up the joints and muscles, preparing them to handle the rigors of exercise. Warm-ups can include such things as simply walking back and forth, moving the arms and legs in pain free ranges of motion, or a slow and steady ride on a bicycle. It’s really just about getting your body moving and getting heat to your muscles.
The second phase is the exercise itself. It can be strengthening, aerobic training, strength training, etc. The third phase is a cool-down phase, which can include stretching since the muscles are warmed up enough to be stretched. Never stretch a cold muscle. Research shows that overstretching in the beginning without a proper warm-up can actually cause further injury.
The type of exercise is just as important as the three exercise phases. Try to incorporate different types of programs, such as strengthening, strength training, balance training, and aerobic conditioning. Each of these affects the joints and body in different ways. By using all of them, you’ll be able to make better gains in your health.
Most guidelines recommend 20 to 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per day. However, if you are not able to do this, then break it up into five minute bouts of exercise several times a day. Research suggests that doing smaller bouts of exercise throughout the day is just as beneficial as one continuous session.
Source: to your Health –By: Jasper Sidhu, BSc, DC