Health Tips brought to you by U.S. HealthWorks Medical Group. Our experienced medical experts provide information here that we hope will broaden your health care knowledge.
Today we talk to Dr. A.K. Misra, medical director for U.S. HealthWorks in South San Francisco, about how to exercise effectively. Dr. Misra is double board-certified in Sports Medicine and Internal Medicine.
Q: Do people waste time exercising inefficiently, when if they only knew better, they could save time?
A: Yes, to some extent. It depends on the type of exercise (cardio versus resistance exercises) and what the goals are. The faster the better is correct. However, adequate rest, recovery and hydration are just as pivotal to an optimal exercise session. The catch phrase – if you’re dripping, you should be sipping – comes to mind.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends a minimum of 2½ hours per week of cardio (moderate physical activity – treadmill, stair master, stationary bike) for optimal health maintenance and maximizing longevity. There is remarkable agreement on 2½ hours per week from other commensurate professional societies of exercise science and Sports Medicine the world over.
Moderate exercise can be replaced with 75 minutes of intense exercise. But understand this comes with some significant and very real dangers – namely a heart attack – so some caution is in order. As stated in a prior blog – Is the popularity of marathons leading to more sports injuries? – the risk of going from a sedentary level of activity to intense exercise risks sudden cardiac death by hundredfold.
Q: Does the same apply to resistance training?
A: If you lift weights, you likely know that if a session is interrupted for a period of time and then restarted, it is much easier to lift or push with that next effort. It’s better to do the reps rapidly to get the most out of an exercise. The more efficiently one gets through their exercise prescription from a weight lifting session, the more benefit one will attain from it (i.e. 6 reps, 5 sets). There are advantages on the cellular and metabolic level to doing as many reps as possible on the final set for any exercise (target muscle group biceps, quadriceps, etc.).
Q: Are there any other workout short cuts?
A: Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to a healthy life. However, for good health maintenance, it’s recommended to get no less than seven hours of restful REM sleep every night, keep well hydrated and optimize nutrition.
Q: How can I get the biggest muscles possible? Is there a limit of some sort?
A: Within normal parameters, yes, there are limits and I would like to speak to that on a genetic level. Our muscle mass parameters are directly related to the gene GDF-8, which determine the amount of myostatin we have. A brief video from ASAPScience, based in Canada, is quite useful to better understand the relationship between GDF-8, myostatin and the limits we have to build muscle mass.