Working out is something that everyone needs to go in for, no matter what your age, gender and size. But certain forms of exercise are more suitable for certain kinds of people over others. While you may consult your trainer for the same, it is important that you yourself are aware of the forms of workout available around you and the kind that will best suit your body. We attempt to deconstruct six different kinds of fitness techniques and tell you which ones are suitable for which kind of people.
Yoga is for everyone?
The origins of yoga go back more than 5,000 years ago in India. Initially, it was conceived as a means to attain spiritual insight and tranquillity. The modern concept of yoga as an exercise form has now been accepted throughout the world. Because it consists of meditative poses, yoga is something that can be performed by anybody and helps greatly to achieve flexibility and awareness of the body.
According to an article in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, the system of hatha yoga believes that prana, or healing life energy is absorbed into the body through the breath, and can treat a wide variety of illnesses and complaints. Today, it is rare for anyone to have not heard of this form of exercise.
Suitable for: Of all the fitness techniques, yoga is perhaps the most suitable for all kinds of people. However, there are certain people that it is specifically suitable for; these include senior citizens, those suffering from anxiety, depression, back pain and stress. It is also suitable for athletes. Since senior citizens are not capable of much mobility, yoga is the perfect form of exercise for them. It improves their flexibility and concentration. People suffering from depression and anxiety have been known to benefit greatly from yoga. This is because yoga emphasises a mind-body connection, which in turn helps them relax.
Yogic strategies like increased awareness of breath, internal centering and meditation also help curb depression. Yoga sessions can also strengthen the back which brings much relief from back pain. It propagates a feeling of well-being which significantly lowers stress. Yoga as a means of minimising injury and improving concentration has been adopted by many professional athletes across the world.
Cardiovascular exercises; To do or Not to do?
These include everything from running on a treadmill and cycle to kickboxing, jogging in the park and playing a high-intensity sport. Cardiovascular exercises are the quickest and best means to losing weight and are suitable for anybody who wants to lose weight. But how much is ideal cardio exercise for us? The American College of Sports Medicine suggests 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise five days a week, or vigorous cardio 20 minutes a day, three days a week for the average person.
However, this will not really help you lose weight. For those looking to get thinner, 60-90 minutes of cardiovascular exercises five days a week, depending upon your lifestyle, food intake and amount of weight needed to be lost, is essential.
Suitable for: Everybody, except those suffering from heart diseases, back problems or with a weak system. Cardiovascular exercises are the most popular forms used in order to get fit and lose weight. However, obese people are less likely to go in for this form of exercise as it requires a lot of vigorous movement, even though ironically it is the most useful for them.
It is important to speak to your doctor and trainer before you go in for any form of cardiovascular exercise as certain forms may not be suitable for certain people.
Weight training is for men only. Is it?
One of the most debated fitness techniques in the world today, weight training helps build muscle mass and tones your body significantly. However, due to it being used by men to beef up their body, many people think that it is not suitable for women as it will lead to them developing big muscles like the men.
The truth is that while cardiovascular exercises burn more calories, weight training converts your fat into muscles, thus strengthening your core area and parts of your body. Besides, research has shown that regular weight training can increase your metabolic rate by 15 per cent.
Suitable for: Both men and women looking to tone, lose weight or build muscle mass. It is not suitable for kids under the age of 18 or those suffering from any kind of muscle strain or back pain. For anyone suffering from any other kind of illness, consult your doctor before going in for weight training. A big question always is whether weight training is suitable for women.
The answer is yes. Women contain very small quantities of testosterone which means that they cannot develop muscles like men even if they want to. For women, weight training will only complement the effects of cardiovascular exercise by helping you drop a dress size faster and tone your body so the bulges won’t be as visible.
Pilates is the new fad
Joseph A Pilates created this form of exercise more than 70 years ago. Today, Pilates is one of the most popular forms of exercise all over the world. According to Pilates Plus, Pilates is a non-aerobic form of exercise that dramatically improves strength, flexibility, co-ordination and posture. Controlled, smoothly flowing exercises are performed in precise alignment with deep breathing in this form of fitness technique. In Pilates, the quality of movement is more important than the number of repetitions.
The main advantage of Pilates, other than the obvious fitness ones, is improving the body’s posture and creating more awareness of the functioning of the body. It helps in improving circulation, energy levels and gives a feeling of well-being.
Suitable for: While Pilates is suitable for men and women of all ages, it is particularly helpful for senior citizens and those suffering from back problems. Since senior citizens are incapable of performing vigorous exercises, Pilates is an ideal solution as it keeps them fit yet does not ask too for much movement. Besides, it complements their breathing patterns.
It is equally suitable for people suffering from back problems. Such people are generally not advised to go in for other forms of exercise as it may strain their backs. But Pilates is recommended by many chiropractors and osteopaths as it works on the core muscles that stabilise the spine and hence strengthens the back from within. Also, sometimes back problems can be a result of excess tension, and a good Pilates session will teach you how to let this go and move with greater efficiency.