Types of exercise
Aerobic exercise improves your heart’s ability to pump and your muscles’ ability to use oxygen. It includes activities like brisk walking, running, cycling, and swimming.
Aerobic exercise should be strenuous enough to make you out of breath but still able to talk. A total of 30 minutes of aerobic activity per day will reduce your risk of heart disease. If you maintain your heart rate within a training range for 20 to 30 minutes three times a week, you will improve your fitness level. It is easy to calculate your training heart rate. You should aim to exercise between 60 to 75% of your maximum heart rate.
To find your maximum heart rate subtract your age from 220; e.g. 220 - 39 = a maximum heart rate of 181. Multiply 181 by 0.6 to get the lower end of your training heart rate and by 0.75 to get the upper end. Therefore, the training heart rate of a 39 year-old is between 109 and 139 beats per minute.
The most efficient way to improve your muscle strength and size is through resistance or weight training. Activities like swimming and yoga provide some resistance, but the most efficient way is to use free weights or weight machines at a gym. To improve muscle strength, you need to overload the muscle. This involves doing quite a small number of repetitions using relatively heavy weights. You should be able to go three sets of 8 to 12 repetitions. As your strength improves, increase the weight. Always stretch and warm up before exercise. This helps reduce the risk of injury. Don’t overdo things. You risk hurting yourself.
People with bleeding disorders should consult their doctor before embarking on a programme of resistance training. Tearing muscles during resistance training can cause internal bleeding that can leave the muscle permanently damaged. People with haemophilia should take Factor VIII if they are weight training.