Let’s go back to the very basis of physical activity and discuss the real purpose of exercise training. Health benefits should be the top concern, in terms of exercise goals, for those who are not professional athletes, letting go of the common focus on toning, shaping, calories in/out, how much weight is lifted, and other similar kinds of intentions. The real magic that happens within us during exercise are increased body function and system responses which are not visible to us in the short term, but will reap benefits in later years.
Exercise affects the cardiovascular system and allows the heart to pump blood to the working muscles in the most efficient way possible. The muscles are given a suitable environment with more oxygen to develop and function better. Blood pressure is stabilized and reduced after training, and under chronic training conditions, there is an increase in overall vascular function. Glucose levels are lower post-exercise training, and the effect remains for 24 hours—an effective method to control and manage diabetes. The entire system is running, moving, and performing better when training becomes a daily habit. All these physiological benefits are happening within us; we may not see or feel any alteration in our physical appearance, yet, be sure that your body is getting the best care it needs.
Strength and other fitness characteristics, such as balance, coordination, and neurological functions are important physiological qualities that promote healthy motor behavior, and all these functions show improvement with physical activity. Again, similar to aerobic benefits, muscle strength and physical power are direct results of healthy physiological responses that happen within the musculoskeletal and neurological systems. For example, weight-bearing exercises promote the increased activity of building bone cells and inhibit the action of the bone destroying cells, which results in the growth of bone mass.
When the real focus in training is to achieve health benefits, exercise routines become easier, and usually, training also becomes more fun. Goal setting, such as weight control, muscle toning, and shaping are essentially byproducts of physical activity itself. We simply need to be more active; internal body functions and systems performance determine our real health. Then, think about the body’s health, muscles, vascular system, and mind function and go have a workout.
Still, many people start exercise training with a lack of adequate knowledge of how to appropriately fulfill their practices’ potential. There are basic practices that require following specific steps in order to achieve better results. These practices are perhaps obvious, yet they are often profoundly neglected. The following are exercise and rehabilitation principles that need to be implanted in everyday regular training routines. Injury prevention, fitness and health benefits, and overall results are predicted to be enhanced if the science and physiology of physical activity are considered.
1) Proper Warm-Up and Cool-Down Session
Every session of training requires both warming up and cooling down properly. A proper warm-up assists in increasing blood flow and stretches and the working muscles. In addition, it reduces the susceptibility to musculoskeletal injuries by improving joint mobility. Types of exercises during a warm-up session can be selected based on the training goal.
The quality of the warm-up before aerobic training is based on an increased heart rate (HR) or heartbeats per minute. At the end of the warm-up session, HR should fall within a range of 10 beats per minute (BPM) of the lower limit of the total training goal. For example, in an aerobic training goal of 135-150 BPM, the target HR in the warm-up session needs to reach 125-135 BPM.
During the warm-up session, the same exercises intended to be performed can be practiced but with lower intensities and reduced weight. In a warm-up for explosive, powerful, and complex movement training, a variety of full-body range of movements should be used.
A 10-minute post-exercise cool-down session is also important to permit appropriate physical adjustments to return to resting values gradually.
2) Start Slow
At the beginning of the new exercise routine, start the workout with low intensity and fewer repetitions. Slowly and gradually increase exercise time and intensity. This method provides a safer, injury prevention orientation approach to training. Giving the muscles, joints, and all connective tissue time to adapt to the trained movement can increase the efficiency of the training itself. Over the course of weeks, continue to increase the intensity of the workout gradually.
3) Proper Recovery Period
Avoid overtraining, as for those who participate in excessive exercise routines, the risk for overtraining syndrome (OTS) increases. OTS is best avoided by mandating performers to devote enough recovery time after high-intensity training or by having performers avoid high training frequency without proper rest. Recovery includes adequate hydration, nutrition, sleep, emotional support, and physical rest