"Take a break for exercise and improve your health easily."
Hong Kong people lead a tense life and are busily engaged in work. With technological advancement and computerisation in our daily life, the chance of having physical activities regularly has been diminishing. Therefore, we are more susceptible to diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and insomnia which are commonly found in modern cities.
In fact, physical activities are greatly beneficial to health. Despite your busy life, you may still take some exercises by sparing an aggregate of 30 minutes daily from your toilsome commitments through thoughtful planning. You may choose to get up earlier in the morning, or make use of the lunch time, or simply do exercise before dinner so as to improve your health and enhance efficiency. This habit will also tie in with the world's trend of taking regular exercise and enrich your life.
Physical activities are closely related to our daily life. If you seize every opportunity and make use of the conditions available to you, you can do exercise wherever and whenever you like. You can integrate physical activities into your daily life by stair climbing, walking, cleansing the car or doing housework, etc. Moreover, there is a great variety of physical activities for people to choose from according to their interests. Exercises can be divided into three main categories in terms of their health benefits.
- Physical activities for strengthening cardiopulmonary functions
|Health benefits :||-||enhance blood circulation and strengthen cardiopulmonary functions|
|-||burn calories and help maintain healthy body weight|
|-||help reduce the risk of having chronic diseases|
|-||help relieve stress|
|Types of activities :||Swimming, hiking, QualiWalk, cycling, jogging, aerobic dance, badminton, tennis, Tai Chi, etc|
|Guidelines :||-||choose activities suiting your ability and interest|
|-||increase the intensity of exercise and its duration progressively according to your capability|
|-||doing exercise for at least 30 minutes (aggregate time is acceptable) daily is recommended|
- Muscle strengthening exercise
|Health benefits :||-||maintain the correct posture of the body and tone the body shape|
|-||reduce chronic pain of muscles and joints|
|-||increase the protection ability of the body|
|-||increase physical strength during exercise|
|-||reduce the chance of sustaining injuries|
|Types of exercise :||Doing exercise with fitness equipment and dumb-bells, etc|
|Guidelines :||-||increase the resistance or weights gradually during exercise according to your capability|
|-||maintain an appropriate speed for the movements and never go too fast during exercise|
|-||maintain smooth breathing during exercise is a must, exhale when exercising against the resistance and inhale when the resistance is released|
|-||train every part of your body (such as the limbs and the trunk) evenly|
- Stretching exercises
|Health benefits :||-||stretch and exercise different parts of your body, improve the mobility of joints and relax your muscles|
|-||can be taken as warm-up before exercise and subsequent cool-down after exercise as it will help relax tense muscles, improve the mobility of joints, relax the mind and reduce the stiffness of muscles|
|-||increase physical strength and enhance performance during exercise|
|-||reduce the risk of sustaining injuries during exercise|
|Types of exercise :||Stretching exercises for different parts of the body|
|Guidelines :||-||avoid making jerky movements or doing ballistic stretching|
|-||maintain smooth breathing. Repeat each movement for 1-2 times, and sustain the posture for 10-30 seconds for each movement. The stretching muscles should be kept relaxed whereas the part of body being stretched should tense up slightly|
|Physical Activity and Calories Consumption|
According to the findings of research, physical activities need not be strenuous. Doing exercise of moderate intensity (i.e. that makes you sweat or makes your heart beat feel faster and stronger and breathe heavier) is considered to be beneficial to health.
Exercise of moderate intensity means the physical activity that
|burns 150 calories per day; or|
|consumes 1 000 calories per week.|
Different activities consume different calories according to their own intensity and duration. Some of the physical activities that can consume about 150 calories are listed below:
|Physical activity||Time required||Physical activity||Time required|
|Stair Climbing ||15 minutes||Running on level ground||15 minutes (1.5 miles accomplished)|
|Rope Skipping||15 minutes||Volleyball||45 minutes|
|Swimming (freestyle)||20 minutes||Basketball competition||15 - 20 minutes|
|Aerobic dance||30 minutes||Walking||30 minutes (2 miles accomplished)|
|Social dance||30 minutes||Strolling||35 minutes (1¾ miles accomplished)|
|Cycling||30 minutes (5 miles accomplished)||Car cleansing, floor waxing||45 - 60 minutes|
|Floor sweeping, window cleansing||45 - 60 minutes||Gardening||30 - 45 minutes|
To see whether your body weight and body height are in appropriate proportion, you can make calculation with the following simple Body Mass Index equation :
|Body Mass Index (BMI)=||Body weight (kg)|
Body height (m)2
|Example :||A man weighs 75 kg and is 1.90 m in height.|
His Body Mass Index (BMI) = 75 ¡Ò (1.9 ¡Ñ 1.9) = 20.8
The man's Body Mass Index (BMI) falls into the ideal range.
|Body Mass Index (applicable to adults)¡G||Less than 18.5||Underweight|
|18.5 - 22.9||Ideal|
|23 - 24.9||Overweight|
|25 - 29.9||Obese|
|Equals or over 30||Severely obese|
Checking against the above BMI chart is one of the ways to determine whether one is overweight or underweight. However, this method is inapplicable to the following two scenarios in which measuring the subcutaneous fat is more reliable.
- People who exercise regularly may have more muscles and less fat. They may be overweight but yet they are healthy.
- Although some people are not overweight, their muscle mass may be far below standard whereas their body fat level is far above the normal level. They are actually overweight although their body weight is satisfactory.
Doing exercise for an aggregate time of 30 minutes (not less than 10 minutes per session) every day persistently will bring you the following physical benefits :
- Increase body immunity, reduce the chance of contracting diseases and enhance working efficiency.
- Burn calories to reduce accumulated body fat and maintain healthy body weight.
- Improve cardiopulmonary functions and blood circulation.
- Strengthen muscles. Build and maintain healthy bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
- Improve the agility and flexibility of joints, thus prevent the risk of falls and injuries.
- Reduce the risks of developing coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke, diabetes and colon cancer.
- Soothe anxiety and nervousness, relieve mental stress, boost self-confidence and enhance mental health.
- Expand social circle.
|Appropriate Amount of Exercise|
To ensure safety and an appropriate amount of exercise, the control of its intensity is of utmost importance. You should bear in mind that during exercise your breathing rate will become faster when you feel strenuous, and so will your pulse rate. These physiological reactions can be taken as indicators of the intensity of exercise. During exercise, you should take the amount of exercise that suits you best from the indicators shown in the "Rating of Perceived Exertion Scales" (see the table below).
Rating of Perceived Exertion Scale
|Rating||Intensity of Exercise|| |
|0||No exertion at all||Warm-up Stage|
|8||Very high||Critical Stage|
You should keep the intensity of exercise within the range of Rating 4 to 7 according to the "Rating of Perceived Exertion Scale". If you have any doubts about your health condition, consult your doctor before doing exercise.
|Points to Note for Doing Exercise|
Please take note of the following points for doing exercise :
- Choose an appropriate place for doing exercise.
- Choose the right kind of exercise that suits your physical strength according to you physique.
- Wear appropriate sportswear and sports shoes.
- Proceed progressively and start with simple exercise.
- Remember to do sufficient warm-up and cool-down before and after exercise.
- Keep breathing smoothly while doing exercise.
- If feeling unwell during the course of exercise, slow down or take a rest. If the condition does not improve, consult your doctor immediately.