I’d like to begin this article with a response to a question I received from Evergreen in my September 9 “At the Heart of What Matters.” She asked: “Are all movements equal? Moving while walking is different than exercising while swimming? What moves does one recommend?” Evergreen’s question leads me to another important aspect of exercise: What should you do and how should you do it?
First, to answer her questions directly, all movements are not equal but all movements are good. Walking is different than swimming because it is a weight bearing exercise but both exercises are aerobic, that is endurance exercises that increase your heart rate and help lead to increased cardiac endurance, and both are good exercises.
Whenever you do weight bearing exercises it helps to increase bone strength and the avoidance of osteoporosis (a topic for a future column). The best advice I can give you is to do a variety of aerobic exercises…we call it cross-training in the health and exercise field. Walking, jogging, cycling and swimming are all examples of aerobic exercises. The benefits of aerobic exercise are “at the heart” of you. Over time your blood pressure will decrease, your HDL cholesterol will increase (that’s the good stuff – think “H” for healthy), your LDL cholesterol will decrease (that’s the bad stuff – think “L” for lousy), and you will be able to do so much more and feel so much better and your heart will thank you because it will beat more slowly and not have to work so hard. Did you know that? It’s one of the major benefits of aerobic fitness – your resting heart rate slows down and your heart beats more slowly – fewer beats per minute even while you are working harder. Why? Because it pumps more blood per beat hence fewer beats per minute but it carries more oxygen to your working muscles per beat, the result of which
is less work for your heart…As I said in my first article, that’s at the heart of what matters.
So, to get back to Evergreen’s question and mine for this week…What is the best exercise for you? The most important thing is that you do what you like to do, and even more important, what you will continue to do. If you enjoy swimming more than anything, then that is the best exercise for you…add some strength training and stretching and you are on your way to a well-balanced fitness program.
The most important part of any exercise program is that you start it. There is so much more that I want to share with you. Ask me your questions and let me know what you’d like me to cover. Till next time, be good to yourself and go for a walk, a bike ride, a swim or at least think about getting started.
Yours in fitness,
Olivia C. Rossi, RN, MSN
Certified Clinical Specialist, ACSM
Certified Personal Trainer, ACSM