Fitness

The 7 keys to getting fit

Author: Canadian Living

Fitness

The 7 keys to getting fit

My experience over the past 60 years, first as an athlete and later as a physician and coach, has given me the unique opportunity to see that common hazards need to be avoided when starting an exercise program. Being derailed by injury or overuse is a frustrating experience for all on the fitness trail. Grasp the following concepts and you will keep on track.

1. Too much too soon
Our initial enthusiasm to return to physical activity often wanes before we can feel the benefits of getting physical because of two common errors:

• We don't recognize that fitness is fleeting. We're not as strong or as fit as we thought we were.
• We get overtired or are injured because we are trying to do too much too soon.

Often we want to quit exercising because of the negative consequences of trying to train too hard and too soon. Enthusiasm seduces the individual to think: "The more work I do, the better I will be." The reality is:

• The strength and endurance we once had can be regained. But strength and endurance are lost after 6 to 8 weeks of inactivity. Use it or lose it!
• An effective training program starts slowly and builds gradually.

Doing too much too soon can lead to failure to improve, fatigue and overuse injuries such as tendonitis and stress fractures to bone. These setbacks may cause a prolonged delay in training while you deal with the pain and other first symptoms of overuse injury.

A better approach is to seek the advice of a fitness professional who can guide to an effective training program that starts slowly and builds gradually.

2. The no brain in no pain, no gain
Some people think that we have to experience pain during exercise in order to gain fitness. This boot-camp mentality is probably the greatest barrier for people new to exercise who are trying to launch themselves into fitness. Gradual introduction of exercise at an easy, comfortable pace is the best way to start. Beware of advice that comes from people with experience in combative sports such as hockey and football. And youthful instructors seldom have personal experience to advise the "mature student" in physical training. Instead, look for instruction from someone who has a background in dealing with individuals in your age group and at your fitness level.

Page 1 of 3

Read the rest of this article here!



Excerpted from Start Fresh! Your Complete Guide to Midlifestyle Food and Fitness, copyright 2008 by Diane and Dr. Doug Clement. Excerpted with permission from Whitecap Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced except with permission in writing from the publisher.
3. One-tenth rule: your brain will fool you!
After meeting with more than 200,000 patients during 40 years of sports medicine practice, it became clear that, after a period of inactivity or injury, everyone overestimates their ability to exercise. Our miscalculation leads to renewed injury and failure to respond to training because the exercise load is damaging. That's why I devised the one-tenth rule. It says that slowly graduated loads of exercise should happen on alternate days, about 3 times per week.

The first time you exercise, you should do one-tenth of what you think you can do. For example, if you used to be active but haven’t trained during the past 8 weeks, and you thought that 30 minutes of running would be about right, divide that target time by 10 and begin with 3 minutes. During your first week, you would run 3 minutes on Monday, 6 minutes on Wednesday and 9 minutes on Saturday. During the second week, you would continue increasing by one-tenth of your target running time per session, so that in week 2 you would run 12 minutes on Monday, 15 minutes on Wednesday and 18 minutes on Friday. In week 3 you would run 21 minutes on Monday, 24 minutes on Wednesday and 27 minutes on Friday. By the beginning of the fourth week the program you would be running your target time of 30 minutes on alternate days.

The one-tenth rule provides time for your muscles to recover and adapt to exercise so that you avoid overuse injury. It applies to all forms of exercise, including weight training, where you would increase your weight by one-tenth your target each time you lift weights on alternate days.

4. Use it or lose it
The body's capacity to work rises and falls in response to the demands put on its systems. If we are forced to be physically inactive either because of injury, illness or a poor choice of lifestyle, then our bodies respond by reducing their capacities. The muscle cells shrink, losing their power and endurance in a process called atrophy. Bones become thinner and weaker. We become "out of shape". This loss of conditioning can be reversed. If training is interrupted, always restart your activity using the one-tenth rule.

Page 2 of 3




Excerpted from Start Fresh! Your Complete Guide to Midlifestyle Food and Fitness, copyright 2008 by Diane and Dr. Doug Clement. Excerpted with permission from Whitecap Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced except with permission in writing from the publisher. 5. Form follows function
If we expose the body to the stimulus of exercise followed by a period of recovery, we experience a training response. An appropriate level of exercise followed by an adequate recovery will build strength and endurance by creating cellular changes in your muscles and in your heart and lungs to increase their work capacity. The form or shape of your body changes based on how much training you do. This response is the basis of all improved ability to work or play games that require speed, strength and endurance. But you have to keep it going. Your fitness level is based only on your physical activity during the past 6 weeks. If fitness is not renewed, atrophy follows within weeks.

6. Listen to your body
If your body hurts after exercise, pay attention. Pain after exercise should not be ignored. Our bodies can mislead our perception of pain during exercise by producing endorphins, a natural painkiller that often masks overuse injuries. After exercise, the endorphins dissipate and we feel the pain. If the pain begins after weight-bearing or impact activities such as running or aerobic classes that contain jumping and landing activity, substitute non-impact exercise such as cycling or swimming. If pain persists more than a day or so, seek medical attention.

7. The talk test
You know you're working at the right intensity during aerobic activity if you pass the talk test. When running, cycling or any aerobic activity, you should be able to carry on a conversation with your partners. If you are breathless or find it uncomfortable to talk, you are too intense in your training. Slow down. Harder effort does not equate with better results! If you were wearing a heart rate monitor, it would show that your pulse rate was out of the aerobic training zone. This could defeat the training effect.



Read more:
The 6 worst pieces of weight-loss advice
10 foods that will help you lose weight
How to beat exercise excuses
How to stay fit on vacation
Six ways to maximize your exercise

Page 3 of 3



Excerpted from Start Fresh! Your Complete Guide to Midlifestyle Food and Fitness, copyright 2008 by Diane and Dr. Doug Clement. Excerpted with permission from Whitecap Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced except with permission in writing from the publisher.
Comments
Share X
Fitness

The 7 keys to getting fit

Login