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Chicago Anti-Aging Exercise


Exercise Basics For Anyone

Do I Need A Physical Exam Before I Exercise?

Yes. If you have had a heart problem, make it a point to undergo a medical exam before you start an exercise program.

What Are The Benefits Of Exercise?

Exercise can reduce your risk of future cardiac complications. Walking, biking, swimming and other cardiovascular exercise can help you to control obesity and high blood pressure. Activity also decreases fats circulating in your blood stream. It can also make you feel great.

Are There Risks To Exercising?

Yes, especially if you've had heart trouble. However, research shows that exercise helps improve the outlook and quality of life even for people with severe heart disease. To minimize any risks, follow the guidelines your doctor gives you. This will allow you to reap the many health benefits of exercise while reducing the risks.

How Long Should I Exercise?

To lower your risk of heart disease, exercise at least 30 minutes per day, at least three days a week. If you haven’t exercised much lately, try starting by exercising on alternate days. This helps to reduce the risk of injury. Be kind to your body. Don’t go out on the first day and start with a 30-minute run. Instead, start with five minutes of walking. Then, add one minute every day until you reach your 30-minute-per-day goal.

How Vigorously Should I Exercise?

In general, you should be able to carry on a conversation while you are exercising. If you're a swimmer, you should be able to say a few words to the swimmer in the next lane after each lap.

What Is My Maximum Heart Rate?

Maximum heart rate is the highest number of times your heart can beat in one minute. It's a useful tool to determine the intensity of your training. A simple way to figure out your maximum heart rate is to subtract your age from 220.

What Is My Target Heart Rate?

A target heart rate is the range you want to keep your heart rate within when you exercise. To get the full benefit of exercise, you should keep your heart rate within 50 percent to 75 percent of your maximum heart rate.

If you're 50 years old, your maximum heart rate should be around 170 beats per minute. Here's the math:

To find 50 percent of 170, multiply 0.5 by 170. The answer is 85.
To find 75 percent of 170, multiply 0.75 by 170. The answer is 127.
Your target heart rate while exercising should be between 85 and 127 beats per minute.

If you're having heart difficulties, always consult your doctor before starting an exercise program. Your doctor can help you determine your precise target heart rate.

Why Should I Warm Up?

A good warm-up increases the temperature of your muscles and stretches tendons and ligaments, making them more flexible and less likely to suffer an injury. It also helps you have a much more productive workout.

How Do I Warm Up?

Many warm-up activities are simply low-intensity versions of your chosen sport. For example, if running is your exercise, an effective warm-up would be to start out walking and gradually increase your speed until you are jogging. A great warm up for any workout or for any sport you play is a stationary bicycle.

What is my BMI?

Many people refer to this when trying to determine how overweight someone is. The body mass index (BMI) is, in fact, a useful measure of weight to height. It gives you an indication of whether you are at risk of health problems (such as diabetes and heart disease) that are related to being overweight or obese. An ideal BMI is probably between 20.5 and 21.5. A BMI greater than 30 is associated with increased risk of health problems related to obesity. If you are concerned about your BMI, talk with your doctor. (need link to bmi calculator).

Easy Exercise Tips

How Can I Increase My Flexibility?

First, realize that you cannot just bounce around and force your muscles to become flexible. Follow these tips to increase the flexibility in your muscles:

Warm up by walking or biking for five minutes or until you begin to feel warm and the muscles in your upper and lower body begin to feel loosened up. While performing a flexibility exercise, hold your position for at least 30 seconds (and possibly up to a minute) to maximize the benefits of stretching a specific muscle. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth to ensure relaxation and promote maximum benefit.

How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Injury?

Consider having an exercise physiologist develop or review your exercise routine. Always warm up for at least five minutes (or until your muscles feel warm). Don't forget to increase the time and intensity of your exercise program gradually. If you begin to feel pain during or after your exercise session, you may be overdoing it.

What Are The Advantages Of Weight Training?

Weight training increases muscle mass, which helps to burn calories. Exercises that strengthen upper back muscles also improve posture, while strong abdominal muscles help support the lower back. If your knees are not as stable as they have been in the past, exercises that develop the muscles in the front of the upper thigh may be just the medicine you need.

Consult with your doctor or exercise physiologist before beginning any weight-training program. Improper lifting technique or lifting too much can lead to injury (and a temporary rise in blood pressure).

I Don't Have 30 Minutes Per Day. Any Suggestions?

Break your exercise sessions into two 15-minute programs or three 10-minute mini-sessions.

How To Change Bad Exercise Habits

How Can I Stay Motivated To Exercise?

Incorporate exercise into your lifestyle. Use stairs instead of elevators for short climbs. Perhaps you can save a few dollars and burn a few calories by sharing a walk with a friend instead of sharing a meal. That friend does not necessarily have to be the traditional two-legged kind. If you have a pet dog, for example, take it for a walk instead of just opening the back door. Another example: Instead of driving around the mall in search of that perfect parking spot closest to the entrance, park in the back where there are lots of open spots and enjoy an additional opportunity to exercise.

I’m Embarrassed To Go To The Gym!

Nobody is born a bodybuilder. If you feel intimidated walking through the doors of health club, just remember that most people are busy looking at their own bodies. You're the only person looking at yours. You might want to visit a few fitness centers to find one that feels comfortable to you. Most clubs give you a trial workout. Use your free pass at a time when you would most likely exercise. You'll see who uses the gym at this time and how crowded it gets.

Can I Reward Myself For Sticking to My Plan?

Sure, though you might not want your reward to be a hot fudge sundae. Find rewards other than indulging in sweets. Perhaps new clothes to fit your new form.

Can I Skip A Workout?

Sure, though you might not want to make it easy on yourself. Once you are consistently working out, you will actually probably feel really guilty when you miss a workout. You will also notice what exercise does for you - gives you more energy and makes you feel more alive! It is normal, though, for people to get into a rut sometimes. If you're muscles are fatigued and you think you're "burned out", go ahead and do one of two things - either change your routine (or even the type of exercises you do) or actually give your body a break by missing 1 or 2 workouts. Remember the positive things exercise has done or you (instead of focusing on the negative things like how much time it takes etc.) and you willalways come back to it...

Remember, the benefits of habitual exercise include:

Improves cardiac efficiency
Improves capillary density in skeletal muscle
Improves endurance during exercise
Increases metabolism
Counteracts obesity
Increases the ratio of high-to-low-density lipoprotein cholesterol
Improves the structure and function of ligaments, tendons and joints
Increases muscle strength
Reduces perceived exertion for given work rate
Increases the release of endorphins
Enhances tolerance to hot environments with a consequent increase in sweating
Counteracts osteoporosis

The importance of a good work out cannot be overemphasized. There are many different approaches but the keys are consistency, frequency and repetition. It's okay to miss a workout or take a week off when you feel your workouts are not productive and your muscles are fatigued. Another trick is to just change your routine - change the exercises you do or just the order.

A lifetime of exercise is one of the nicest things you can do for your body. You deserve it!