Introduction to Exercise

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Should exercise be a part of my daily routine?

Mario and Chloé Mostert are both fitness and nutrition enthusiasts. They have done extensive research on the value of exercise and they claim that actively exercising is just as important as deciding not to smoke.

Is a jog every now and then, enough?

WHO Top 10 Leading Causes of Death

Smoking is one of the top 10 leading causes of death. Most people understand that smoking is unhealthy and we make active decisions to avoid smoking areas. Eight of the top 10 leading causes of death are noncommunicable diseases linked to a lack of a healthy lifestyle. If we make a concerted effort to limit smoking, why not do the same to reduce the remaining causes of death? Therefore, a jog every now and then is not enough. We need to take our health seriously and good health is comprised of exercise as well as nutrition.


The 5 benefits of a healthy lifestyle

  1. You have a greater chance of avoiding noncommunicable diseases. The same health benefits of not smoking are applied eightfold to exercise and nutrition.
  2. You will experience an overall benefit in quality of life. You will feel more alive. Endorphins are released during exercise so you will literally feel happier.
  3. You will experience a sense of achievement which will increase your confidence.
  4. Training will test your self-discipline. Discipline is a value much needed in the workplace and it needs to be practised.
  5. Exercise will strengthen your bones and prevent muscle atrophy from setting in.

How do I get started?

  1. Understand the benefits of being healthy.
  2. Set time aside for your health.
  3. Set a goal. Do you want to look good, feel good or be stronger? If your primary focus is to look good, you may struggle with motivation. Social events can have a dramatic short-term influence on how we look and it can be demotivating. It is better to set short-term performance goals. Performance goals are measurable achievements on a weekly basis. For example, by next week, I want to add 10kg to my bench press.

How often should I go to the gym?

If you want to live a healthy lifestyle, then combine aerobic exercises with anaerobic exercises. Aerobic includes running, cycling, rowing, circuits. Anything that pushes your heart rate up. Anaerobic is strength training and interval training. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 150 minutes aerobic exercise per week and anaerobic exercises 2-3 times per week. Set your goals and find someone to keep you accountable.

What exercises should I start with?

Compound exercises are recommended for beginners. Compound, as opposed to Isolation, exercises multiple muscle groups. Good compound exercises to start with are:

  • Squat
  • Deadlift
  • Barbell Row
  • Bench Press
  • Pull Up

If you do not know how to do these exercises then do online research. Cross-reference your findings to get a good idea of what your form should look like. With the abundance of free information available to us, it is inexcusable to not know how to do a movement. A practical training programme for beginners is the Strongman 5×5 training program.

Will I lose weight if I gym?

Your primary motivation for exercising should be to live a healthier life. Your exercises will increase your strength and your quality of life. After a while, with the correct programme, you will also lose weight. If you exercise with the motivation to lose weight, you will likely fail. This is because losing weight by exercise is a long process and we expect to lose weight quickly.

Be healthy, get stronger, get bigger

The four main categories in exercise are:

  • Hypertrophy: Bigger muscles
    • Weight should be heavy enough to do at least 8 repetitions and not fail at 12
    • 8 to 12 repetitions
    • 4 to 6 sets
  • Strength: Stronger, enduring muscles
    • Heavier weight than for Hypertrophy
    • 4 to 6 repetitions
    • 4 to 6 sets
  • Power: Stronger, explosive muscles
    • Heavier weight than for Strength
    • 1 to 3 repetitions
    • 4 to 6 sets
  • Cardiovascular: Overall health and wellbeing
    • A recommended cardiovascular activity is High-Intensity Interval Training. Sprint 100m, then walk back 100m Do this exercise for 20 minutes.