It has always been a great confusion as to how much is just right when it comes to the amount of exercise, so here is the secret of good quality and effective regime. The exercise prescription comprises components such as frequency, intensity, time, type, volume and pattern progression.
Now let us talk about each.
When we talk about frequency, it is how often or how many days a week should we exercise. Moderate intensity exercises suffice when performed at least five days a week. If exercises are of vigorous intensity, then a minimum of three days a week should be sufficient. However, recent studies report that a combination of both vigorous and moderate exercises is a perfect blend and gives fantastic results when it comes to endurance. 3-5 days a week is recommended when alternate intensities are practised.
We may now wonder how to identify these intensities, so here are a few examples to make it easy. Light exercises include cooking, washing dishes, mild stretching, strolling around the house, playing musical instruments etc. while moderate exercises include brisk walking (4mi/h), gardening, golf, sweeping floors/mopping/vacuuming, badminton, basketball, non competitive volleyball, table tennis doubles etc. and vigorous exercise means walking ( 4.5mi/h), aerobics, jogging, hiking, running, heavy farming, swimming, tennis singles, bicycling, skiing cross country etc.
The next question that arises is who is supposed to perform how much intensities and when. For a beginner or deconditioned individuals and children, starting with light to moderate is more advisable. For healthy adults or well-conditioned individuals moderate to vigorous intensity exercise is perfect.
There is always a myth that a good long hour of exercise is worth it, but that is not true, the type of activities performed is more important. The exercise regime is to be decided as per the goal to be achieved.
The next biggest hassle is the type of exercise. In the case of athletes, the major muscles that are involved are to be trained along with cardiovascular endurance, while children need to be trained in an overall manner so that the conditioning is enhancing their growth.
The target exercise volume should be ≥500-1000 metabolic equivalent (MET) min/wk., beginners can have targets below this and then progress slowly. Exercise schedules can be either continuous or in sessions, like the exercises can be of 10min/bout with a rest period and then again 10min of exercises, the rest period can be either complete rest or low-intensity exercises.
A good exercise regime should be a blend of all the above factors. Happy workout.
Dr. Aarzu Bhavangri (Noorani) MPT, MIAP, MIAFT