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Men & Exercise

Whether you like team sports or individual sports, it is important to engage in three types of exercise; aerobic or endurance, strength (weight bearing) and flexibility (stretching). For optimal health, the current recommendation is 30 to 60 minutes of exercise most days of the week.

If you have fallen off the fitness wagon, check with your doctor, start slow and work your way into more advanced performance. You will condition your body gradually, avoiding injuries that can sideline your fitness goals. Here are some guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine Link Opens in a New Window:

Safety First:

Who should NOT exercise?

  • Anyone with an unstable medical condition should visit their physician for permission.
  • Injury may require waiting for healing -- listen to your body and your doctor.
  • If you have cardiac, pulmonary or metabolic disease you may exercise, but only after seeing your doctor and then starting in a supervised environment.

Getting Started - Slowly

  • Warm up for five to 10 minutes before aerobic activity.
  • Maintain your exercise intensity for 30 to 45 minutes (when appropriate).
  • Gradually decrease the intensity of your workout, then stretch to cool down during the last 5 to 10 minutes.
  • For aerobic/endurance exercise: simply walk a little further than you normally do and progress to walking further and faster as the weeks and months pass.
  • For strength training exercise: lift a weight that you are used to lifting but do it more times than you normally do and gradually progress to lifting the weight 15 times.

Remember! Listen to Your Body

  • You should always be able to catch your breath and speak comfortably while exercising.
  • You should sense effort, maybe some discomfort, but never pain.

Four Ways to Test Your Current Level of Fitness

  • Do NOT take these tests if your doctor has told you not to exercise or if you have chest pain, joint pain, dizziness or uncontrolled high blood pressure.
  • Have a partner with you and do your best on each test but do not overexert yourself.
  • Before starting, warm up with five to eight minutes of walking and swinging your arms.

Walking Test (Measures Aerobic Capacity)

  • You will need a watch with a second hand and a measured track, such as a quarter-mile track at many schools.
    • Walk one mile as briskly as possible without becoming winded or dizzy, recording your time in minutes and seconds.

Muscle Strength (Measures your strength relative to your weight)

  • This test uses your own body for resistance. With your feet shoulder-width apart, stand six to 12 inches in front of a kitchen chair as if you were going to sit down.
  • Cross your arms over your chest and keep your back as straight as possible. Squat slowly until your buttocks lightly touch the chair seat, and then slowly stand. Take four full seconds to lower yourself and two seconds to rise. As you squat, don't let your knees extend beyond your toes.
  • Do as many leg squats as you are able to without bouncing, feeling pain, losing your balance, or going faster than six seconds per squat.

Sit-and-Reach (Measures flexibility)

  • Tape a yardstick to the floor, then tape a foot-long strip of paper perpendicular to it at the 15-inch mark. Warm up with some light stretches.
  • Sit on the floor with your legs extended on each side of the yardstick with your feet touching the paper strip about 12 inches apart. The lower numbers on the yard-stick should be near you.
  • With arms straight in front of you and one hand overlapping the other with the fingers aligned, lower your head and slide your hands forward as far as you can down the yardstick without flexing your knees or straining. Hold for one second and record the farthest point you reach.

Timed One-Legged Stand (Measures balance)

  • Wear shoes with non-skid soles. If you feel you may fall, stand next to a chair or wall to steady yourself if needed. (If you're frail, ask someone to stand nearby to help steady you if you begin to lose your balance.)
  • Bend the knee of one leg (the weaker leg if you're aware of the difference) and balance on your other foot with your eyes open and arms at your sides.
  • Time how long you can keep your foot raised. Do it three times and use the best result.

These are average fitness scores:

Age Sex 1-Mile
Walk*
(mm:ss)
Flexi-
bility*
(inches)
Leg
Strength**
(reps)
Balance*
(seconds)
20-29 Men
Women
13:01-13:42
14:07-15:06
13.5-17.0
17.5-20.5
27-29
21-23
21.1-28.0
22.1-29.0
30-39 Men
Women
13:31-14:12
14:37-15:36
13.5-16.5
16.5-19.5
24-26
18-20
14.1-21.0
15.1-22.0
40-49 Men
Women
14:01-14:42
15:07-16:06
12.5-16.0
14.5-19.0
21-23
15-17
4.1-14.7
7.2-15.5
50-59 Men
Women
14:25-15:12
15:37-17:00
12.0-15.5
14.5-17.5
18-20
12-14
3.2-6.7
3.7-8.7
60-69 Men
Women
15:13-16:18
16:19-17:30
10.0-14.0
14.0-17.0
15-17
9-11
2.5-4.0
2.5-4.5
70-79 Men
Women
15:49-18:48
20:01-21:48
9.5-12.0
13.0-16.5
12-14
6-8
1.8-3.3
1.5-2.6
80-89 Men
Women
17:49-20:48
23:01-24:48
7.5-10.0
12.5-15.0
9-11
3-5
1.5-2.5
1.0-1.9

* Source: "Fit Over Forty" by James M. Rippe, M.D. (New York: William Morrow, 1996)

** Source: YMCA, Quincy, Mass.

Note: One-mile walk: Men should add 15 seconds for every 10 pounds they weigh over 170 or subtract 15 seconds for every 10 pounds under that. Women should make the same adjustments for every 10 pounds above or below 125.

(Tests and table excerpted from www.healthierliving.org Link Opens in a New Window)

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