Advice from Dr. Zhukova
I’ve heard of cardiovascular exercises. How do you perform them correctly?
E. Matusevich. Shklov, the Mogilev Region
Cardiovascular exercise is important for sportsmen and ordinary people alike: everyone who cares for their health. It’s become very popular recently, with people going to the gym after work. It can be hard to find equipment at such busy times but, if you do gain a spot, how can you gain maximum benefit?
First of all, remember that you aren’t working your muscles primarily, but your cardiovascular system, training your pulse. Take it gradually, or you could hurt yourself. Find out your upper and lower pulse, using a computer examination. It will show your blood pressure after hard exercise and at rest. To do so without a computer, deduct your age from 220: 65 percent of this figure will give your lower limit, while 85 percent will give your upper limit.
Cardiovascular exercise is only of benefit when performed correctly. Keep an eye on your pulse (especially if you are prone to high or low blood pressure). Before you begin training, decide whether your aim is to lose weight or to train your heart. To improve your cardio-vascular performance, keep your pulse within 85 percent of your upper capacity for durations of 15-20 minutes. To lose weight, train for 40-60 minutes, at lower intensity (65 percent of your upper limit).
Start with 10-15-minutes of exercise at low intensity, and take it easier in the morning (approximately 100-110 beats per minute for beginners and 120-125 beats for trained people). In the evening, you can work more intensively (at 130 beats for beginners and 140 beats for trained people).
How much time should I spend training?
To lose weight, spend at least 30 minutes, three to five days a week. This isn’t easy when juggling family and work commitments, so try combining cardiovascular exercise with everyday activities: cycle to the shops, take the stairs, walk rather than taking buses, and spend leisure time outdoors.
Gradually increase your volume and intensity and you should see improved capacity in a month, with your pulse coping better with exercise. You can then raise your intensity. The best test is whether you can still talk while exercising.
Doctor of higher category, D.M. Ph.D.