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  • 30 minutes of exercise per day will improve your heart, brain, immune system, memory, mood and many other bodily functions.

  • To reap the benefits, keep your heart rate elevated (moderate level of exertion) for at least 30 minutes. 

  • Any exercise is good for your health, but to lose weight, you must significantly increase the duration or intensity of your exercise beyond the calories you are consuming.

Close Up of Road Bike

Benefits of Exercising:

We are sure all of you have heard that exercise is good for you. But like many other people, you may not have had the time or motivation to start exercising regularly. So, undoubtedly, because we are confident you are aware that you should exercise, we will not nag you about it but instead explain the physiology of exercising and the changes that happen in your body. Hopefully, once you understand the reasoning behind all the fuss, you will be more inclined to pick up this fabulous hobby. 

Our organs are made of millions of cells which together perform the function of that organ. Our cells in turn depend on oxygen and glucose to generate energy. During this process cells also produce toxic byproducts such as carbon dioxide and reactive oxygen molecules that can be harmful and need to be washed away and exposed of.


The heart and our blood vessels, together known as the cardiovascular system, work to deliver oxygen and nutrition to the cells and remove the toxic metabolites away from the cells. They then deliver the toxic metabolites to our lungs to blow off the carbon dioxide and to the liver and kidneys to filter out other byproducts

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In order to maintain the flow of blood to our cells, the heart needs to beat from the very first weeks of life as an embryo to the last breath we take. Therefore, your heart is in essence the longest working muscle in your body. It can never take a break. Therefore, the heart muscle itself needs a constant flow of nutrition and oxygen.

So, what happens when we exercise? Our arms, legs and core muscles have to start working much harder to move us around. Therefore they will need a lot more oxygen and energy and in turn produce a lot more toxic material that needs to be washed away. And who is responsible for delivering more oxygen and nutrition to these working muscles: the cardiovascular system.

How does the cardiovascular system do this?


In two ways

  1. The heart has to pump a lot more blood to deliver oxygen and nutrition to the working muscles, so it works harder and faster. 

  2. The toxins released by the working muscles lead to dilation of the blood vessels (arteries), hence more blood gets to the working muscles.

Now you understand what happens during exercise. But how does this actually improve health?

When you exercise, not only are your arm and leg muscles getting stronger but so does your heart muscle. The heart has to work harder every time you exercise. This leads to many structural and hormonal changes in your heart and blood vessels that lead to:

  • stronger heart muscle

  • a clean and more balanced coronary artery system (the vessels that feed the heart muscle itself), hence lower incidence of heart attacks and stroke

  • lower resting blood pressure: your vascular system grows bigger and wider with exercise, so there is much more room to spread out the blood, hence your blood pressure improves. 

In addition to the tremendous benefits to cardiovascular health, exercise also leads to other benefits:

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  • Better Bones and Joints: exercise stresses the bones, tendons and muscles which in turn stimulates growth and stability. This reduces the risk of age related weak bones (osteoporosis) and joint pain (arthritis) and creates a stronger posture. 

  • Increased metabolic rate: as mentioned, during exercise the muscles burn a lot more calories, and this helps with maintaining a lean body mass. 

  • Improved memory: recent research has shown that people who exercise have less risk of dementia when compared to people who do not exercise. The exact mechanism is unknown, but most likely it has to do with hormonal changes and improved blood flow to the brain. 

  • Improved mood: in early human times, we only “exercised” when we were either chasing a pray or being chased, so our body expected some sort of pain or injury. As a result exercising causes release of endogenous morphines called endorphins. Endorphins remain in blood stream for a few hours, reducing our stress and anxiety and giving us that exercising "high".


Bottom Line: Exercising is the best investment in your health; it has tremendous health benefits, both short and long term, and it truly requires much less time than you think.  

How to exercise

Have you ever noticed people in the gym who do a few reps on a machine and then sit there for 10 minutes looking around before they do another set? And then they tell their doctor they go to the gym for an hour a day but can’t seem to lose any weight? Well, that is because they are not really exercising. 

In order to reap the benefits of exercise, you need to do some consistent, pulse increasing work. That means that you need to maintain a relatively elevated heart rate for a good 30-40 minutes at least 4 days a week. This is the minimum amount of time that stresses your heart and vascular system to get stronger and adopt the changes that improve your health. The heart does not know or care about what kind of exercise you are doing; what it does care about is the stress placed on it. So as long as you are doing aerobic exercise, you are reaping the benefits.  


Exercising should also include both an aerobic component and a strength component for best benefit:

  • Aerobic: maintaining an elevated heart rate for at least 30-40 minutes. What you do to achieve this is up to you. 

  • Strength: stimulating those core muscles to improve your posture. These exercises can be done after your aerobic component or included within the aerobic component. They should be done at least twice a week, so you can do as many repetitions as you can and gradually increase the reps as you get stronger. Some great examples of strength exercises that you can do at home with minimal equipment are:

  1. push ups

  2. pull ups

  3. planks

  4. medicine ball exercises 

  5. squats and lunges

Mix it up: Doing the same exercises over and over can get boring, and it will stress the same body parts which leads to overuse injuries. So try to spice it up and have some variation in your exercises. This is the main reason we continue doing triathlons. Although running is incredible exercise, it can take a toll on the body and certainly isn't for everybody. By mixing it up with swimming and biking, we train more body parts and reduce the risk of overuse injury. 



Exercise for weight loss:


Any exercise is good for your health; it can be as easy as 30 minutes of brisk walking or as hard as an Ironman triathlon. All your body cares about is some sort of maintained exertion for at least 30 minutes.


But in order to use exercise for weight loss, you need to do a lot more than just brisk walking. You actually need to burn a lot of calories and charge up your metabolism. For instance, running at an easy pace burns about 100 calories per ten minutes, so if you run for 30 minutes that’s only 300 calories (depending on your weight, gender, and age). But if you do sprint training or interval training for 30 minutes (a much harder exercise) you will burn about 400 calories, and you will continue to burn calories for the next few hours as your body’s metabolism will continue to be elevated for some time. So, to use exercise as a means of weight loss, you can choose to do long endurance exercises such as marathons, shorter high intensity exercises or even better, a combination of both. 


The higher intensity exercises are much harder on your body and if not done properly can lead to sports injuries. If you are a novice (beginner) athlete, then we highly recommend you either hire a coach/trainer or ask an athletic friend to help you get started. We also provide private sessions on how to get started with exercise and proper nutrition, and you can contact us for further details and availability.

Heart Rate Zones:

In some of the exercises, you will see references to hear rate zones (HR zones). These zones refer to ranges of heart rate that correspond to how hard you are exercising. We use these to convey how easy or hard each section of the exercise should be done. This is mostly used in aerobic sports like running, biking and swimming. There are many ways of calculating your HR zones, with methods as simple as 220 minus your age (which is crude and inaccurate) to very advanced ways such as going to a research lab and being hooked to various machines while you exercise. Here is a much simpler, and somewhat accurate way of gauging your HR zones. It is based on your own perceived rate of exertion.  

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