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Yoga Korunta

Life & Politics

Location: United States

One learns, as nothing endures but change.

20 March 2007

Tuesday's Word: exercise

Physical exercise is the performance of some activity in order to develop or maintain physical fitness and overall health. It is often directed toward also honing athletic ability or skill. Frequent and regular physical exercise is an important component in the prevention of some of the diseases of affluence such as heart disease, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and obesity.[1][2]
1 Types of exercise
2 Exercise benefits
3 Common myths
3.1 Targeted fat reduction
3.2 Muscle and fat tissue
4 Excessive exercise
5 Nutrition and recovery
6 Exercise and brain function
7 Activities providing physical exercise
8 Categories of physical exercise
9 Breathing
10 See also

Types of exercise
Exercises are generally grouped into three types depending on the overall effect they have on the human body:
Flexibility exercises such as stretching improves the range of motion of muscles and joints.[3]
Aerobic exercises such as cycling, walking and running focus on increasing cardiovascular endurance.[4]
Anaerobic exercises such as weight training, functional training or sprinting increases short-term muscle strength.[5]

Exercise benefits
Physical exercise is important for maintaining physical fitness and can contribute positively to maintaining a healthy weight; building and maintaining healthy bone density, muscle strength, and joint mobility; promoting physiological well-being; reducing surgical risks; and strengthening the immune system.
Frequent and regular aerobic exercise has been shown to help prevent or treat serious and life-threatening chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, insomnia, and depression. Strength training appears to have continuous energy-burning effects that persist for about 24 hours after the training, though they do not offer the same cardio vascular benefits of aerobic exercises. Exercise can also increase energy and raise one's threshold for pain.
There is conflicting evidence as to whether vigorous exercise (more than 70% of VO2 Max) is more or less beneficial than moderate exercise (40 to 70% of VO2 Max). Some studies have shown that vigorous exercise executed by healthy individuals can effectively increase opioid peptides (aka endorphins, a naturally occurring opiate that in conjunction with other neurotransmitters is responsible for exercise induced euphoria and has been shown to be addictive), positively influence hormone production (i.e., increase testosterone and growth hormone), and help prevent neuromuscular diseases,[6] benefits that are not as fully realised with moderate exercise.
Both aerobic and anaerobic exercise also work to increase the mechanical efficiency of the heart by increasing cardiac volume (aerobic exercise), or myocardial thickness (strength training, see Organ hypertrophy).

Common myths
Many myths have arisen surrounding exercise, some of which have a basis in reality, and some which are completely false. Myths include:
That excessive exercise can cause immediate death. Death by exercise has some small basis in fact. Water intoxication can result from prolific sweating (producing electrolyte losses) combined with consumption of large amounts of water (e.g. when running a marathon). It is also possible to die from a heart attack or similar affliction if overly intense exercise is performed by someone who is not in a reasonable state of fitness for that particular activity. A doctor should always be consulted before any radical changes are made to a person's current exercise regimen. Rhabdomyolysis is also a risk.
That weightlifting makes you short or stops growth. One caveat is that heavy weight training in adolescents can damage the epiphyseal plate of long bones.[7]

Targeted fat reduction
It is a common belief that exercise and training a particular body part will preferentially shed the fat on that part; for example, that doing sit-ups is the most direct way to reduce subcutaneous belly fat. This is false: one cannot reduce fat from one area of the body to the exclusion of others. Most of the energy derived from fat gets to the muscle through the bloodstream and reduces stored fat in the entire body, from the last place where fat was deposited. Sit-ups may improve the size and shape of abdominal muscles but will not specifically target belly fat for loss. Instead, such exercise will help reduce overall body fat and shrink the size of fat cells.

Muscle and fat tissue
Some people incorrectly believe that muscle tissue will turn into fat once a person stops exercising. In reality, fat tissue and muscle tissue are fundamentally different. However, the more common expression of this myth "the will turn to fat" has a grain of truth. Although a muscle cell will not become a fat cell, the material that makes up muscle can in fact turn to fat. The catabolism of muscle fibers releases protein, which can be converted to glucose that can be burned as fuel, and excesses of which can be stored as fat.[8] Moreover, the composition of a body part can change toward less muscle and more fat, so that a cross-section of the upper-arm for example, will have a greater area corresponding to fat and a smaller area corresponding to muscle. This is not muscle "turning to fat" however, it is simply a combination of muscle atrophy and increased fat storage in different tissues of the same body part. Another element of increased fatty deposits is that of diet, as most trainees will not significantly reduce their diet in order to compensate for the lack of exercise/activity.

Excessive exercise
Exercise is a stressor and the stresses of exercise has a catabolic effect on the body - contractile proteins within muscles are consumed for energy, carbohydrates and fats are similarly consumed and connective tissues are stressed and can microtears. However, given adequate nutrition and sufficient rest to avoid overtraining, the body's reaction to this stimulus is to adapt and replete tissues at a higher level than what existed before exercising. The results are all the training effects of regularly exercise - increased muscular strength, endurance, bone density and connective tissue toughness.
Too much exercise can be harmful. The body part exercised needs at least a day of rest, which is why some health experts say one should exercise every other day or 3 times a week. Without proper rest, the chance of stroke or other circulation problems increases,[9] and muscle tissue may develop slowly.
Inappropriate exercise can do more harm than good, with the definition of "inappropriate" varying according to the individual. For many activities, especially running, there are significant injuries that occur with poorly regimented exercise schedules. In extreme instances, over-exercising induces serious performance loss. Unaccustomed overexertion of muscles leads to rhabdomyolysis (damage to muscle) most often seen in new army recruits.[10] Another danger is overtraining in which the intensity or volume of training exceeds the body's capacity to recover between bouts.[11]
Stopping excessive exercise suddenly can also create a change in mood. Feelings of depression and agitation can occur when withdrawal from the natural endorphins produced by exercise occurs. Exercise should be controlled by each body's inherent limitations. While one set of joints and muscles may have the tolerance to withstand multiple marathons, another body may be damaged by 20 minutes of light jogging. This must be determined by each individual.

Nutrition and recovery
Proper nutrition is at least as important to health as exercise. When exercising it becomes even more important to have good diet to ensure the body has the correct ratio of macronutrients whilst providing ample micronutrients, this is to aid the body with the recovery process following strenuous exercise.[12]
Proper rest and recovery are also as important to health as exercise, otherwise the body exists in a permanently injured state and will not improve or adapt adequately to the exercise. Hence, it is important to remember not to do the same type of exercise two days in a row.
The above two factors can be compromised by psychological compulsions (eating disorders such as exercise bulimia, anorexia, and other bulimias), misinformation, a lack of organization, or a lack of motivation. These all lead to a decreased state of health.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness can occur after any kind of exercise, particularly if the body is in an unconditioned state relative to that exercise.[13]

Exercise and brain function

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Physical exercise
In the long term, exercise is beneficial to the brain by:
increasing the blood and oxygen flow to the brain
increasing growth factors that help create new nerve cells
increasing chemicals in the brain that help cognition[14]

Activities providing physical exercise
Functional training
Martial arts
Metal-rod exercises
Rock climbing
Strength training

Categories of physical exercise
Aerobic exercise
Anaerobic exercise
Circuit training
Strength training
Agility training
Sometimes the terms 'dynamic' and 'static' are used. 'Dynamic' exercises such as steady running, tend to produce a lowering of the diastolic blood pressure during exercise, due to the improved blood flow. Conversely, static exercise (such as weight-lifting) can cause the systolic pressure to rise significantly.

Active exhalation during physical exercise helps the body to increase its maximum lung capacity, and oxygen uptake. This results in greater cardiac efficiency, since the heart has to do less work to oxygenate the muscles, and there is also increased muscular efficiency through greater blood flow. Consciously breathing deeply during aerobic exercise helps this development of the heart lung efficiency.[15]

See also
List of basic exercise topics
Exercise physiology
Delayed onset muscle soreness
Exercise bulimia
Exercise equipment
Exercise hypertension
Exercise-induced anaphylaxis
Exercise-induced asthma
Exercise intensity
Exercise intolerance
Metabolic equivalent
Training effect
Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT)

Bloggers, I love exercise and feel guilt if not doing enough.




Blogger barbie2be said...

it's raining here and i feel like a slug. :(

Blogger Yoga Korunta said...

Not to worry, Barbie. Most of the exers I do are indoors. Step aerobics is a good place to start. I use a treadmill, weights, and ab board for the basic strengthening stuff.

Blogger Melissa said...

I found your blog searching for yoga exercises. I have a stationary bike and an ab board too, but my favorite piece of exercise equiptment is the rowing machine.
Nice blog, Yoga.

Blogger Yoga Korunta said...

Hi, Melissa! Ashtanga yoga is the preferred type as it is physically demanding. Alas, I don't have a rowing machine.
Thanks for reading!

Blogger Mary said...

I love exercise as much as I hate it. I run everyday and do taebo.

Blogger Yoga Korunta said...

I gave up running as I wish to keep the knees healthy. The treadmill is at max incline and on blocks for some hard walking. Thanks for stopping by!

Blogger barbie2be said...

i usually do my walking outdoors. inside i use my weights and ball.

Blogger Yoga Korunta said...


Blogger Melissa said...

Some exercises are best done indoors. I love swimming, though.

Blogger Yoga Korunta said...

Indoors, indeed. Especially with the ever changing weather in Ohio.


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