Activities to ramp up fitness
Physical activity refers to bodily movements produced by skeletal muscles which requires energy expenditure. These include leisure movements like strolling or moving from one point to another. For health benefits, engaging in moderate or vigorous activity are the ones to choose.
Benefits of moderate to vigorous activity
Improve cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle strength
Improve bone and functional health
Reduces risk of certain diseases (hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, breast cancer, colon cancer, depression)
Reduce risk of fall and fractures
Body weight maintenance.
Exercise intensity matters
Specifically, it is the moderate and vigorous intensity activities that give these health benefits. Doing these activities regularly is the main catch. According to HBP and WHO, healthy adults should aim for 150 mins of physical activity in a week. That brings to about half an hour of moderate intensity activity per day. If time is a constraint, you could aim for 75 mins of vigorous activity per week.
Determine your exercise intensity.
The tricky part is determining your exercise intensity. Not all activities are the same. There are a few ways to determine the intensity.
1. The steps method
Step counting is a simple way to gauge your intensity level.
Sedentary - Less than 5000 steps/day
Moderate - 7500 to 10000 steps/day
High active - More than 12500 steps/day
Getting a step counter or pedometer will help you monitor your step count.
2. The heart rate method
This method gives you a more accurate idea of how much more you should push yourself to achieve moderate intensity. Using a simple formula, determine your maximum heart rate, moderate heart rate and heart rate when you engage in vigorous activities.
Maximum heart rate: 220 - age (in years) = A
Moderate heart rate: A x 0.6
Vigorous heart rate: A x 0.7
3. The talk test
In addition to the above 2 methods, the talk test is another way to determine your intensity level if you do not have a pedometer or a device to monitor your heart rate.
Light intensity - Able to sing while doing activity
Moderate intensity - Able to talk but not sing during activity
Vigorous intensity - Only able to say a few words during activity
To better understand what these different categories of intensity are, here are some examples:
Did you know complementing foods with physical activity gives your body better performance? Read on into our next post!