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Glossary

Tennis, A Fun Way To Get Exercise Benefits of Exercise

With regard to fitness, exercise can be defined as any physical activity which is intended to provide a benefit to the body. There are many kinds of exercises which provide a wide variety of benefits such as flexibility, explosive power, coordination, and balance. However, the kinds of exercises that are most directly involved in transforming the physique are those that demand high energy outputs. These are generally cardiovascular exercise, resistance exercise, or some combination of the two. These exercises must be of the right duration, intensity, frequency, and type in order to maximize effectiveness.

Resistance Exercise
Resistance exercise is any type of exercise that forces the muscles to work against a significant amount of resistance. Although the most well known and popular type is weight lifting, other types include rock climbing, some forms of calisthenics, or even high intensity interval training. Resistance exercise burns calories directly while producing a temporary spike above the resting metabolic rate. In addition, resistance exercise stimulates a long term increase in the muscle mass which brings some other significant benefits. Because muscle burns calories just by existing, this will cause a long term increase in the resting metabolic rate itself. Because the resting metabolic rate works on a 24 hour per day basis, it is a major factor in the ability of your body to burn calories. Also, because resistance exercise stimulates the body to gain or maintain muscle, it causes the body to selectively burn fat instead of muscle to satisfy a caloric deficit. For this reason, resistance exercise is actually more effective than cardio in a fat loss exercise program.

Duration of Workouts
A longer workout is not necessarily a better workout. A weight lifting session can last anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour and a half. If your workout is much shorter than 30 minutes, then you may not be doing enough sets or reps to get the best stimulus. If your workout is much longer than an hour and a half, you have probably passed the point of diminishing returns. In other words, if you can workout for 3 hours, then either your workout is not intense enough, or you are tearing up your body.

Workout Intensity
Intensity is the difficulty in performing the intended number of reps at the given weight. In other words, if you train to failure then the workout is very intense. However, if you stop early when you can easily complete another 10 reps, then the workout is not. It is best to select a weight that causes the muscles to be fatigued after anywhere between 6 and 18 reps per set for most muscle groups.

Workout Frequency
Ideally, you should workout about 3 to 5 times per week because the exercise is only there to stimulate the adaptation. The body makes its improvements during rest and recovery and it needs rest days for that. Also, if you perform longer and more intense workouts, then you will need more rest days.

Types of Exercises
It is best to use a variety of exercises as long as you exercise all of the major muscle groups. The larger the total muscle mass that you train, the more fat burning benefit you will receive. Also, because the body will use fat from pre-programmed areas regardless of which muscles you train, spot reduction does not work. As the saying goes, if you can show me someone with defined abs, then I can show you someone with defined arms, legs, back, and chest.

Cardiovascular Exercise
Cardiovascular exercise is also referred to as aerobic exercise or cardio. As the name implies, it works the circulatory system which increases the body’s tolerance for long duration physical activity. In addition, cardio is a calorie burner that also creates a momentary increase in the metabolic rate for a few hours after the exercise. However, cardio provides no long term increase in the resting metabolic rate. Also, the body can use either fats, proteins (muscle) or carbohydrates (glycogen) to satisfy a caloric deficit and cardio alone does very little to improve the selectivity of burning fats over the other calorie sources. As a result, a large pear shaped person who does only cardio will end up being shaped like a slightly smaller pear.

Duration for Cardio
Cardio must last long enough to force the body to use aerobic respiration to provide the energy for the exercise. This can be as short as 6 minutes and can be as long as a few hours (for endurance athletes).

Intensity for Cardio
For best results, the optimum intensity is in the range of about 65% to 85% of your maximum heart rate. Your maximum heart rate is about 220 minus your age in years.

Frequency of Cardio
The optimum frequency should be about 3 to 5 times each week.

Type of Cardio Exercises
There are a variety of exercises that could be considered as excellent forms of cardio. These are exercises that target large muscle groups which need more blood and therefore provide more work for the circulatory system. Such exercises can include cross country skiing, running, swimming, cardio kickboxing, and many others.

Safety Considerations
To prevent injuries and to make sure that you get the maximum benefit, it is imperative that you perform the exercises properly. If you are unsure about the proper way to do the exercises then it is wise to seek the help of a professional. For injury prevention, it is also important to stretch and warm up properly and to do core strengthening and stability exercises as part of your workouts.


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