The effort that you can exert over a prolonged period of time is limited by your ability to deliver
oxygen to the working muscles. Regular vigorous exercise produces a training effect that can increase
your aerobic capacity by as much as 20 to 30%. An increased VO2 Max indicates an increased ability
of the heart to pump blood, of the lungs to ventilate oxygen, and of the muscles to take up oxygen.
THE TRAINING THRESHOLD
This is the minimum level of exercise which is required to produce significant improvements in any
physical fitness parameter.
This is where you exercise above your comfort level. The intensity, duration and frequency of exercise
should be above the training threshold and should be gradually increased as the body adapts to the
increasing demands. As your fitness level improves, the training threshold should rise. Working
through your program and gradually increasing the overload factor is important.
As you become more fit, a higher intensity of exercise is required to create an overload and therefore
provide continued improvement.
Different forms of exercise produce different results. The type of exercise that is carried out is specific
to the muscle groups being used and to the energy source involved. There is little transfer of the
effects of exercise, i.e. from strength training to cardiovascular fitness. That is why it is important to
have an exercise program tailored to your specific needs.
If you stop exercising or do not do your program often enough, you will lose the benefits you have
gained. Regular workouts are the key to success.
Every exercise program should start with a warm-up where the body is prepared for the effort to
come. It should be gentle and preferably use the muscles group to be involved later. Stretching
should be included in both your warm-up and cool down, and should be performed after 3-5
minutes of low intensity aerobic activity or callisthenic type exercise.
WARM DOWN OR COOL DOWN
This involves a gradual decrease in the intensity of the exercise session. Following exercise, a large
supply of blood remains in the working muscles. If it is not returned promptly to the central
circulation, pooling of blood may occur in the muscles.