The importance of exercise
Exercise is so important that if I could give only one health study, it would probably
be on exercise. There are many disorders that can be neutralized by lots of vigorous
exercise. As exercise is increased, degenerative diseases of all kinds are decreased,
life span is extended, various minor infections such as colds are reduced, and perhaps
best of all, the quality of life is significantly enhanced.
What is best exercise?
The best exercise should be characterized as "vigorous though not violent." Jogging and
running are for the few. Most individuals do not maintain a high enough level of athletic
training to make jogging or running a safe exercise. For these individuals, walking and useful
outdoor work will avoid many physical problems that can arise from violent exercise--painful
joints, ligaments and muscles; excessive menstrual bleeding; headaches; and chest pain are
some of these problems.
Competitive sports are not the best forms of exercise. During youth and early adulthood, competitive
sports may be a major form of exercise. At this stage, a fixed program is not essential to induce
one to exercise. But, at about age 35, when one really begins to need the exercise, both because
of the fixing of the attention on other matters, and because the health begins to deteriorate at that age
if exercise is neglected, one begins to lose skills and interest in competitive sports, and there goes
If, however, one has learned sports that are non-competitive, especially sports that can be enjoyed if
done alone, one has his exercise assured. About one hour each day should be spent in vigorous
outdoor exercise; and another hour spent indoors in activities requiring considerable muscular work
or energy expenditure is desirable. Most people think that they get more exercise than they actually do.
In a recent article in Sports medicine, young adult "weekend athletes" who played tennis or golf two or
three times a week were studied. Their physical condition was only slightly better than completely
How to get exercise
In order to get cardiovascular training effect, 15-30 minutes of vigorous exercise, without stopping is
required. During this exercise period, one should have a few minutes, perhaps 2-5 minutes to warm up,
after which one should exercise sufficiently to increase the pulse rate to about 2/3 his maximum heart rate,
and maintain the pulse at this high level for 15-30 minutes.
A rule of thumb in determining the predicted maximum heart rate is to subtract your age from 220. For
example, the predicted maximum heart rate for a thirty-year-old would be 190. Two-thirds of this figure
would give about 127, which is the approximate exercise pulse level to aim for. After the exercise period,
a "cooling down" is advisable. Most deaths that have been reported from heavy exercise have occurred
immediately after stopping the exercise where the subject promptly sat down or laid down to rest. A cooling
down period will prevent the sudden congestion of the heart and lungs that occurs from abruptly becoming
immobile after ceasing heavy exercise.
For middle-aged and older people, there is some good news. Work done in Dr. Cooper's laboratory in Dallas
indicates that if one does moderate exercise, such as fairly brisk walking, for as little as 30 minutes a day for
four days a week, the life span will be increased almost as long as someone who does very vigorous exercise.
All of one's exercise should not be done indoors. Muscular building has been shown to be more steady
and of greater degree if some exercise is done out-of-doors, particularly if the sun is shining. If one uses
sports or useful labor as exercise, occasionally one should take a brisk walk to stretch out one's legs;
probably once a week would be sufficient for this type of workout. Remember the benefits, and discipline
yourself to daily exercise.
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