Recently I was discussing exercise programs with one of my patients.  We have been monitoring his program closely for over 8 years.  Sometime he gets much better results as per the in office testing we do than at other times.  While he does spend the time, his results in fat storage and muscle mass can vary from ideal to far less than ideal.  He asked me, “Why do we do different kinds of workout/exercise programs?”  I answered him as follows:

We do three different type of exercise for health, vitality and longevity:  Flexibility, strength and cardiovascular.  All three types should be done weekly in rotation.  Most people tend to mindlessly just repeat some type day after day and wonder why things “don’t work!”

1. Flexibility.  Loosening or stretching type of work should be done to make everything move properly.  When this is done posture improves, muscles slide well and joints are free.  Many injuries occur when a person tries to perform a movement with a tight cold muscle or joint, ligament or tendon.  Yoga and Tai Chi and Pilate routines exist that make a complete loosening routine possible in a short time.  In our clinic we offer a very nice DVD that has a ten minute routine on it.  I have used it for three years.  I do it daily.  At times I abbreviate it to 3 minutes or extend it to twenty.  Flexibility work can be done some days alone.  Other days it can be done briefly before other type of exercises.

2.  Strength training. Muscle is the engine that makes the body work and move around.  Without muscle one cannot move!  Even light resistance training will preserve muscle mass and build new muscle.  I have had patients work with a can of peas or corn for a weight.  Studies have shown that even terminal patients will build muscle mass in response to resistance training.  Weights. Rubber bands, all will work.  Even isometrics can help.  We tend to loose muscle mass as we age.  If one does not exercise or do work that stresses muscles, one will lose muscle mass.

3.  Cardiovascular exercise. This type of work is to keep the heart and lungs strong and blood vessel functional.  Most people who think of exercise think of walking or biking or running.  This is excellent work and will do the job for you.  Two or three days each week for 20-60 minutes is needed. ONCE A WEEK a longer session is a good idea.

Doing and of these will help.  Leaving one or two types out leaves a hole in your workout health.  Try them all!

Dr Bernie