Are you Definition Fit?
I have been exercising for most of my life and I learnt quite a bit putting this article together, so definitely worth a read J
When you start on an exercise journey its often like going to a different country with words and terms being used that can be confusing and intimidating for those starting out. Here is a list of the most commonly used terms to help you feel confident to embark on your fitness journey.
- Warm up. This is the act of preparing your body for the stress of exercise to ensure your muscles are warm and your body is protected from injury. Warn ups usually involved light intensity movements like walking / jogging slowly. Warm ups aim to increase blood flow, which in turn heats up muscles and joints. Warm ups should be at least 5 minutes to ensure your blood and muscles are ready. Once you are warmed up it’s a great idea to do some light stretching.
- Flexibility training or stretching. This type of workout enhances the range of motion of joints. Age and inactivity tend to cause muscles, tendons, and ligaments to shorten over time. Contrary to popular belief, however, stretching and warming up are not synonymous. In fact, stretching cold muscles and joints can make them prone to injury.
- Cardiovascular/Aerobic exercise. These are exercises that are strenuous enough to temporarily speed up your breathing / heart rate and includes lower intensity activities performed for longer periods of time. Aerobic exercise builds your strength and your endurance. Cycling, spinning, running, body combat, zumba, swimming, dancing and most “sports” like tennis, squash etc fall into this category.
- Anaerobic. Anaerobic exercise is exercise intense enough to trigger your anaerobic metabolism. It is used by athletes in non-endurance sports to promote strength, speed and power and by body builders to build muscle mass. I.e. it’s useful for sprinters and other athletes who need speed rather than stamina. If you play team sports you often require anaerobic training as well as aerobic training.
- Maximum Heart Rate. This is the highest heart rate an individual can
safely achieve through exercise, and is related to your age. Various formulas are used to estimate individual maximum heart rates as maximum heart rates vary significantly between individuals. However the easiest (and cheapest) method can be calculated by subtracting your age from 220.
- Strength, weight, or resistance training. This type of exercise is aimed at improving the strength and function of muscles. As a women strength training also develops and strengthens bone density which helps prevent osteoporosis and becomes critical during and post menopause. Specific exercises can be done to strengthen each muscle group. You don’t have to do heavy weight lifting. Examples are as varied as stretchy resistance bands are examples of resistance training activities, pushups in which you work against the weight of your own body as well as yoga and pilates resistance training exercises. A great gym class to attend is Body Pump which involves free weights to lively music routines.
- Repetition or "rep." This refers to the number of times you perform an exercise during a set. For example, 10 reps of a squat set would mean performing 10 squats.
- Set. Usually used in discussing strength training exercises, this term refers to repeating the same exercise a certain number of times. As in the example above if you did 2 “sets” of 10 rep squats you would be doing 2 x10squats.
- Warming / Cooling down. After an intense workout, it is always advisable to “cool down”. Cooling down is easy exercise that allows your body to transition from a strenuous state to a (near) resting heart rate. Depending on the intensity of your workout cooling down can often involve a slow walk / jog and a component of stretching. Cooling down helps remove lactic acid which can cause cramps and stiffness making it advisable for all levels of fitness.