The three components of high-intensity exercise programme are the warm-up period, the aerobic exercise period and a cool-down period. The warm-up is very important to prevent injuries because it brings blood to the muscles, readying them for exercise, whether it is walking, running, biking, swimming or playing a sport. A warm-up should include stretching and flexibility moves, to prevent tears in the muscles and tendons.
The exercise can be divided into two basic types : isometric isotonic exercises, such as calisthenics, running or swimming, which produce muscles tension through a range of movement. Isometric exercises can be used to tone up specific muscles which can then be further strengthened by active isotonic exercises. Isometrics may be performed by pulling or pushing an immovable object or contracting or tightening opposite muscles.
To achieve maximum cardiovascular benefits from aerobic exercise, the heartbeat must be elevated to approximately 70 per cent of its maximum rate. Once that elevated heart rate is achieved during exercise, continue exercising to maintain that rate for 30 minutes. This regimen should be repeated at least three times each week.
To calculate maximum heart rate :
1. Subtract your age from 220
2. Multiply the remainder by 70 per cent (0.7). Anyone aged over 60, or in poor physical condition, should multiply the remainder by 60 per cent (0.6).
3. Multiply the remainder by 50 per cent (0.5).
For example, a healthy 50-year-old woman would subtract 50 from 220, for a maximum rate of 170. Multiplying 170*0.7 gives her 119 beats per minute, which is the top level she should strive for. Multiplying 170*0.5 would give her 85 beats per minute, the lowest in her range.
Active, healthy individuals under 40 and persons under 60 with a low cardiovascular risk, can choose their own exercise programme from among the recommendation listed.