Exercise and Performance Basics
What are the benefits of exercise training?
Regular exercise can provide numerous benefits. Depending upon the type of exercise, these benefits can include:
- Improved cardiovascular health.
- Tool for weight management.
- Improved body composition.
- Improved metabolism.
- Positive impact on bone density.
- Vehicle for relaxation and social interaction.
- Improved self-image.
What is exercise training?
When we regularly exercise the muscles that are involved can adapt to be more efficient and effective in performing the physical task it is being regularly challenged to do. This is called the “training effect” or “adaptation” is visually obvious for weight trainers as the targeted muscles enlarge and potentially provide more strength and power. Their exercises can involve near maximal or maximal intensity for truly short duration muscle movements (reps). This works towards increases in muscle size and strength.
However, resistance training at lighter loads can still lead to increases muscle size, particularly when the total work performed at less resistance is like heavier loads. For weight trainers, to perform similar work using less resistance, more reps and/or sets would be necessary. However, one important difference between training with lighter versus higher resistance (e.g. weight) is that the gains in strength would be predictably less for the former.
Meanwhile, in regular endurance exercise training, which consists of lower intensity tasks performed continuously for longer durations (e.g., cycling, running), muscle will adapt to become more inclined to aerobic energy metabolism and to be more enduring. This is to say that muscle, and circulation, adapts to deliver more oxygen to the muscle being trained (e.g., legs). Also, the muscle adapts to be more efficient and effective in aerobic energy systems.
What are the most important concepts in exercise training?
The most important aspects of training are the intensity and duration of the exercise and the frequency of the exercise. So, for runners, this would be how fast, or the speed of a run multiplied by the total time of a run, then multiplied by the frequency of runs of the sum of the measures over time. Meanwhile, for resistance training, like weightlifting, intensity equates to load (weight) lifted and duration equates to reps.
Meanwhile frequency would align with how many times within a specific period of time (e.g., week or month) that a specific muscle group (e.g., chest, back, lower legs) is trained. Combined these factors create exercise volume, which is the most important influencer of physical and performance adaptation over time such as several weeks, months or years. Aspects of genetic predisposition also will influence the degree of adaptation as well as the inclination toward a certain type of training.
How does exercise change your muscle and body?
Muscle and supporting systems adapt to exercise training in a manner that allows for future bouts to be more efficient and effective. It is the intensity level of exercise training that will be a primary determinant of the nature of adaptation. For instance, weight training involving heavy resistance loads will lead to adaptations that will increase muscle size, strength and often power. However, when a lighter load is used, gains in size can be made while less strength will be developed over time, even if the total workout volume is equal.
Running, biking and other kinds of endurance exercise training are associated with changes that make the muscle more aerobic as well as cardiovascular adaptations that enhance its ability to deliver oxygen to muscle. However, if the intensity of these muscle actions is remarkably high, such as interval sprinting, training can lead to also lead to increases in muscle power as well as anaerobic metabolism.