To follow up from my previous blog ‘why we exercise’, I thought it important to next address the question, ‘what exercise should we be doing?’
The straightforward answer is 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise and two strength sessions per week. The correct answer is that this is hugely personal and when diving a little deeper it is essential to consider our individual physical and clinical needs, our goals, and our preferences.
Bounce Back Exercise specialises in providing exercise support for people who have been diagnosed with a long-term health condition including cancer, Parkinson’s and MS. The online programme provides a well-rounded timetable to help people improve their strength, fitness and mobility and helps people target areas of weakness caused by disease symptoms and side effects.
I am going to explain our Bounce Back exercise recommendations and the theory behind our classes.
Strength training recommendations
All adults should be practicing at least two strength training sessions per week. This means any form of exercise where you move your muscles against an external resistance such as your body weight, gravity, bands, bars or dumbbells.
Why strength training?
Resistance training is vital for maintaining and improving strength, is important for maintaining good bone health and managing conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, and osteopenia. Strength training can help improve energy levels and reduce levels of fatigue, it can help improve coordination and balance, therefore reducing the risk of falls. It will help improve posture as well as reducing the risk of hypertension and heart disease. Strength training is vital in allowing us to continue carrying out our activities in day to day living.
Strength training at Bounce Back
Our online programme consists of two weekly strength training sessions.
Functional Fitness – Focuses on the seven functional movements (push, pull, squat, hinge, rotate, lunge, gait) to improve your strength when performing activities in day-to-day life such as climbing stairs, sitting to standing and pushing doors open.
Strong and Balanced – our Strong and Balanced class involves performing isolated exercises, unilateral exercises and low impact exercises to effectively promote hypertrophy (an increase in muscle size). This style of training can be most beneficial in improving strength, improving bone density, helping people manage energy levels and helps isolate and correct muscle imbalances.
Core Control – Our Core Control class involves exercises to specifically target the abdomen. It is important to bear in mind that our abdominal muscles are like any other muscle. They need to be worked but they also, they need to rest and relax.
Cardiovascular/ aerobic training recommendations
Aerobic exercise also known as cardio is any exercise of low to high intensity that increases your breathing rate, gets your heart pumping and oxygenated blood flowing round your body.
Recommendations suggest we should be working towards 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise or 75 minutes of high intensity exercise each week. Cardiovascular exercise will help improve your heart health and lung capacity, reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease such as heart attack or hypertension. It can help improve energy levels and improve sleep.
How much should we be doing?
Although our Bounce Back classes include an element of cardiovascular training, I would recommend our members do their cardio outside of the session. There are so many different options that get the heart rate up. This includes, walking, swimming, cycling, dance, tennis, football, Zumba. It can be done at various intensities however whatever the intensity it all counts. I recommend participating finding something you enjoy.
Stretching and Mobility
Our recommended dose of stretching depends on the individual. An individual with limited mobility should dedicate more time each week to performing stretches.
All of us should be stretching at least 2-3 times per week. If you have a tightness in a particular area I recommend focusing on this more often. The more you stretch, the better. Spend between 20-60 seconds holding the stretch.
Exercise based on our diagnosis
If you have a particular area of weakness or limitation, it is important to address this and practice certain exercises more regularly. Our Bounce Back Class is specifically designed to target areas of weakness caused by common disease symptoms and side effects such as balance problems, footdrop, limited mobility, weakness on one side, joint instability and lack of coordination. Although uncomfortable, it is so important to be aware of your weaknesses so that you can address these and practice certain exercises more regularly to ensure you progress.