The New Year is just around the corner. You want to look slim and put your best party foot forward.
Do remember that merely losing weight is not enough. You need to keep healthy too. In order to do so, you must include cardiovascular exercises -- this means exercising the heart and lungs -- in your fitness regime.
You can opt for walking, jogging, cycling, rowing, swimming, aerobics, cross-training (a movement of akin to cross-country skiing, this is replicated on a machine at the gym) or even go dancing.
Here are some facts you must know about cardiovascular training.
Note: It is advisable to consult your doctor before carrying out any cardiovascular activity.
~ Your basic aim must be to increase your heart rate to a certain level for a certain amount of time. To figure out the heart rate that you should achieve (for a moderate exerciser), just subtract your age from 220 and divide the number you get by 70-75 percent.
For example, if you are 25 years old, 220-25 = 195. And 70-75 percent of 195 is 136-146.
This will give you the range/ level at which you should exercise. If you are not a mathematics person, simply ensure you can carry on a conversation while doing that particular exercise. If you start puffing or gasping for air, you know you are doing it wrong. At the same time, do not walk or work out at such a slow pace that all you are doing is talking!
~ Try to sustain your stipulated heart rate for 30 minutes, three times a week initially. Then, gradually increase it to 40 minutes. Walk or jog for a half hour at least to increase your heart rate around three to four times a week.
~ In the long run, this will increase your stamina/ energy levels and BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). At the same time, it will decrease your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
BMR is the rate at which you expend energy at rest. This means you are burning calories even while watching television. The best part is, you will burn fat as well, hence losing weight.
~ Cardiovascular exercise or endurance training will increase your stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped by the heart in one beat). This will, in turn, reduce your resting heart rate (heart rate when you are not exercising). The normal resting heart rate for adults is between 60-80 beats per minute. If it goes below 60, it is even better. The lower your resting heart rate, the better.
How to check your resting heart rate: Keep your palm facing upwards. Place three fingers (not the thumb) on your wrist, on the side towards your thumb. Slightly press down to feel for a pulse. Count your pulse for 15 seconds and multiply that number by four.
Quick tip: It is better to sustain a moderate heart rate for a longer duration of time than to increase the intensity/ level of exercise for a shorter while.
So run, jog, swim, cycle or dance -- just get your heart going and feel great!
Dr Neeru Dhingra is the COO -- North India, Gold's Gym.
Gold's Gym has more than 680 branches in 24 countries and adheres to global standards with state of the art equipment, cutting edge technology and scientifically designed fitness programmes.