There are four basic components of exercise that all work together to help your clients get healthy and lose weight. All four components can be applied to all levels and types of exercise. Your clients should consider each component listed below when starting or creating a safe and effective exercise plan.
• Mode. This refers to the type of exercise chosen. Biking, walking, yoga, tai chi, water aerobics and elliptical machines are all good examples of exercise modes that are low impact and good choices for a beginner exerciser.
• Frequency. Frequency is simply how often exercise is performed. For cardiovascular improvement and weight loss 30 – 60 minutes of continues movement is recommended five days a week. Low impact exercise modes are recommended for beginners. The US Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week. 30 minutes 5 times a week is an easy goal for beginners to remember.
• Duration. Duration of exercise is the length of time of each exercise session. Beginners are recommended to start with shorter exercise sessions while muscular strength, cardiovascular endurance, and muscular endurance are improving. Gradually increase the duration until 30 -60 minutes of continuous exercise can be performed. Studies have found that many new exercisers will benefit from two or three shorter exercise sessions in a day rather than one longer one while health and fitness levels improve. An example of this would be taking three 15 minute walks during the day rather than one 45 minute walk.
• Intensity. The intensity of an exercise session refers to the amount of effort, impact, calories burned, work performed, and heart rate required to perform the exercise. Most fitness and health organizations suggest keeping your heart rate between 50% and 85% of your maximum heart rate while performing cardiovascular exercise. This range will insure fat burning, health improvement, performance improvement and keep the heart from over working. Beginners may focus on a lower heart rate range of 50%-70% of maximum heart rate for a more conservative approach until health and fitness levels improve. The mode of and exercise chosen greatly effects the intensity. Running for example is a much higher intensity exercise to perform then walking. Beginners should choose exercises low in intensity. The basic formula for finding your maximum heart rate is 220 – your age. Other more advanced formulas and protocols exist to find your maximum heart rate and target exercise zone, but this is the simplest and fastest way to find it. Once your maximum heart rate is determined use 50%-60% of that number for your low target and 70%-85% of that number for your high target. Certain medications can and will effect resting and exercise heart rate. To insure a safe exercise session do not exercise above the high target. I doctor or exercise professional can help you determine your ideal exercise intensity.