Aerobic Exercise Prescription for Optimum Health Benefits

Introduction

In my post, Health Benefits of Exercise: a grossly underutilised therapy, I have discussed the various health benefits associated with physical activity, as a result of which exercise is now aptly being recognised as ‘medicine’. However, to derive optimal health benefits from exercise, an exercise program needs to follow certain parameters, similar to drug prescription, such as frequency, dose (amount), time (duration) and type (of physical activity). In my post Exercise Prescription for Optimal Health Benefits, I have discussed the FITT-VP principles for exercise prescription. In this post, I shall be discussing ‘prescription for aerobic exercise’ based on the FITT-VP principles. Prescription for strength training as per FITT-VP factors will be discussed in the next post. Aerobic exercise is referred to in the literature, both scientific and lay, by various terms. In the scientific literature, it is referred to as cardiorespiratory endurance or aerobic endurance, while colloquially it is referred to as aerobic exercise or just aerobic, or cardio, or cardio exercises, or cardio workout. In this post, these terms will be used interchangeably.

People engaging in aerobic activities.
People engaging in various aerobic activities.
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Health Benefits of Exercise: a grossly underutilised therapy

Introduction

Exercise is being increasingly recognised to play an important role not only in the prevention but treatment as well of multiple lifestyle diseases (chronic diseases), health conditions and risk factors associated with these. In view of the above, exercise is now aptly being recognised as medicine. It is the cornerstone of lifestyle modification to achieve Holistic Health. However, like any other medicine, exercise too has some associated risks, though benefits of exercise on health, far outweigh the risks. However, before proceeding with the benefits and risks associated with exercise, it would be pertinent to understand some important related terms. Even though physical activity and exercise are often used interchangeably, they are not synonymous. The definition of these and some closely related terms are given below:

People of different age, gender and categories participating in different physical activities.
People of different age, gender and categories participating in different physical activities.
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Holistic Health Approaches: the Way to Wellness

Introduction

As I begin my new blog, it would be prudent to explain the terms ‘Wellness’ and ‘Holistic Health’; both today buzzwords in the health industry. Health, as we commonly understand as a layman, is the “absence of disease.” However, even though, people may lack the physical symptoms of a disease, they may still be bored, lack energy, and never feel like doing anything or simply unhappy with their lives. Such emotional states often set the stage for physical and mental disease. You will also notice that these feelings are aggravated or mitigated by what is happening around you; you are touched by everything that happens in your surroundings.

Even celebrities who seem to HAVE IT ALL, may not be happy. We come across people who are famous, rich, successful and inspiration for many – they seem to have it all, yet many of them have talked about feeling hollow from within, suffering from panic attacks, and even about being depressed. In an interview with The Telegraph a couple of years ago, Prince Harry had said: “I’ve spent most of my life saying ‘I’m fine. I can safely say that losing my mom at the age of 12 and shutting down all my emotions for the last 20 years has had quite a serious effect on my life…I have probably been very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions.” The most decorated Olympian of all time, swimmer Michael Phelps, while talking about his battle with loneliness within, said he was grateful for not taking his own life. So, obviously, there is something beyond the absence of disease which is necessary to help you feel better about yourself – energetic, joyous, at peace with your own self and your surroundings and have a purpose and meaning to life.

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