The Exercise

The EXERCISE programme consists of four sessions of intense activity lasting no more than 30 minutes each, roughly two hours per week. Three of the sessions are resistance based and the other is a high intensity interval (HIIT) session.

What is Exercise?

Before I explain more I’d like to give my thoughts on exercise. Exercise to me is simply movement. The more we move, the more we exercise and movement is essential to good health. So think ‘STEPS’. Walking is possibly the most beneficial form of exercise we can do every day to support the healthy functioning of the cardiovascular system and the beauty of it is that most people can do it regardless of fitness levels.

The Exercise

The EXERCISE programme consists of four sessions of intense activity lasting no more than 30 minutes each, roughly two hours per week. Three of the sessions are resistance based and the other is a high intensity interval (HIIT) session.

What is Exercise?

Before I explain more I’d like to give my thoughts on exercise. Exercise to me is simply movement. The more we move, the more we exercise and movement is essential to good health. So think ‘STEPS’. Walking is possibly the most beneficial form of exercise we can do every day to support the healthy functioning of the cardiovascular system and the beauty of it is that most people can do it regardless of fitness levels.

The exercise programme that I followed, in tandem with the diet, to regain my health and restore my fitness to a level I never thought possible, began with just moving more – walking on a daily basis. As I began to feel healthier with less joint pain (due to the diet), I returned to the gym in the hope of restoring some of the muscle I had lost during my period of ill health.

One of the main purposes of muscle is to support the skeleton in movement. If you have enough muscle in the right areas of the body it can absorb impact, similar to a shock absorber, taking pressure away from the skeleton and in particular the joints. Muscle also improves strength and balance. I believe resistance training becomes more important as we age as it helps to retain the muscle we have and build new muscle. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to build new tissue after a certain age. I am living proof.

Resistance Training

Resistance training is also the best form of exercise for combating obesity. Muscular strength and muscle mass have a strong inverse correlation with obesity and with the illnesses that accompany it. It is the best way to improve body composition, adding muscle and losing fat.

Resistance training can:

  • prevent cancer
  • prevent diabetes
  • prevent sarcopenia (age related muscle wasting)
  • prevent heart disease
  • prevent other cardiovascular diseases
  • helps increase testosterone
  • improves self esteem and confidence

Resistance training also has another important benefit:

As we age, we lose bone density. After the age of 30, the bone balance naturally shifts and more bone is lost than gained. This can cause problems such as osteoporosis in later life, especially amongst white and Asian postmenopausal women. Weight bearing resistance training, along with low body weight, can have a positive effect on bone density.

I wanted to restore muscle to my body for health and wellbeing reasons, so embarked on an all over body programme three times a week and a weekly HIIT session to improve my cardiovascular capacity. It consisted of mainly functional movements, which I hoped would benefit me in everyday activities and provide all the aforementioned benefits. I wanted to work all the major muscle groups in as little time as possible. So I included all the big movements: squats, deadlifts, pushes and pulls; utilising all the muscles in the body in a short, sharp intense workout lasting no more than 30 minutes. I believe working this way, engaging both the muscles and the cardiovascular system together, expends more energy, providing more potential for weight loss and improvement of muscle tone at the same time (with the subsequent health and metabolic benefits), than either weight training or cardiovascular training alone. I carried out this programme for about six months and it gave me all the benefits I’d hoped it would and more, before moving on to different programmes I designed concentrating more on muscle building.

Although I believe the diet was the key to restoring my health, the exercise helped improve my strength and mobility as well as an amazing change in physique. I believe that this transformation can only be achieved when the body is getting what it requires, in the form of nutrition and the correct stimulation through exercise. The programme is designed to be followed three times a week on alternative days with active recovery such as walking on days in between, and the HIIT session usually on the day after the third workout. I included a HIIT session to compliment the resistance training, potentially providing the participant with further significant health and metabolic benefits. It lasts 10-15 minutes and consists of brief intervals of intense exercise interspersed with periods of recovery, a must I believe for anyone wanting to improve their cardiovascular capacity and overall fitness levels.