RBR Guide to Effective and Safe Exercise
This guide has been produced with reference to the American College of Sports Medicine (http://www.acsm.org/) recommendations. As always, it is your personal responsibility to ensure that your workout is safe and that you are physically able to perform the exercise. Sorry to state the obvious but if in doubt, please contact your local health professional.
You have just bought your first decent piece of exercise equipment. Let’s say it’s a new indoor rower. You have of course read the literature which comes with your fitness equipment, you’ve assembled the kit in accordance with the instructions and you’re ready to go!
Take a moment to think about the location for your exercise machine. For many of us, space is an issue and you need to make sure that the location is safe:
- Ensure your equipment does not block emergency escape routes (think house fire etc.). If you and your family need to find another route out of the house in an emergency, a nice new treadmill is suddenly not going to look as nice!
- Electrical cables – think trip hazards and electrical safety.
- Can you get off your equipment quickly if needed?
- Is the equipment safe and sturdy? You don’t want it tipping over when you’re in the ‘zone’.
- Clothing that you feel comfortable in. This can be as figure hugging or as loose as you want it to be but, if you feel good exercising in it and it allows your body to sweat sufficiently during exercise, then it’s probably good enough. Just remember to try loose clothing carefully at first! Personal experience with a loose t-shirt getting caught in the rower seat rail!
- A good pair of training shoes is a must, especially for the more impact orientated machines (Treadmills etc.)
Warm Up and Cool Down Exercises
Stretching before and after exercise and preparing your body for any fitness routine is essential.
From our experience (and that of others) we recommend incorporating some dynamic stretching into your pre and post exercise routines. Some examples:
- Doing some easy squats and throwing your arms above your head when you rise up
- Knee lifts – aim for 30 alternative knee lifts in around 30 seconds. The opposite hand touches the opposite knee as it rises.
- March on the spot for 2 minutes. Include good arm action into the motion.
- Move both arms in a forward ‘propeller’ motion. Then reverse them. Finally try alternative arm forward and reverse motions.
If you want a more great warm up and general exercise routines, have a look at the US Figure Skating website, available here..
- Continuous rhythmic exercise of between 20 & 60 minutes in duration
- The exercise routine should be regular, ideally between 3 & 5 times a week
- The rhythmic or aerobic workout should target the large muscle groups
- For maximum benefit, the routine intensity should be performed in the aerobic heart rate band. This is between 60-85% of your maximum heart rate (MHR).
So how do I workout my Maximum Heart Rate?
Simply subtract your current age (in years!) from:
- 220, for a man
- 226, for a women
So, for a 40 year old man. 220-40 = Max heart rate of 180
Have a safe workout.