Health Experts Answers Questions About Exercise

health experts answers questions about exercise
  1. “I had a heart attack while exercise a few years ago, I want to get back to it but am filled with irrational fear that’ll happen again. Any suggestions on how to make a structured return?”

Josh Ellis

  1. Hi Josh. Firstly, so glad you are still with us mate.

I can completely understand how you feel the way you do. I had a pretty bad panic attack a few years back and have an irrational fear that it will happen again. It never has, but that doesn’t make it any easier!

Obviously the person who should be advising you on your specific needs is your GP or another local health professional who knows your medical history.

However in general I recommend that you start small and ease your way into it. Take the dog for a 10 minute walk, increasing by 5 minutes every week until you get to an hour. Then start again, but this time jogging.

Another option is to exercise in spaces than that have defibrillators nearby. Most gyms will have these amazing pieces of lifesaving equipment on and so ask that question before you sign up to a class. If nothing else it will give you some peace of mind.

  1. What is an ideal/balanced exercise regimen? Specifically is there a particular cardiovascular/strength/balance etc.. exercises that we should be focusing on like how we have different proportions of nutrients we need in a diet?

– Annie

Hi Annie, just like our diet, a broad-based physical activity plan is the best way to go.

We’re now learning that each exercise type has slightly different benefits, and we can target your health by using exercise just as we use combinations of medicines to target illness.

But the best exercise balance for most people is almost always ‘the one you like the most’, because the best exercise is the exercise you do. So, if you love one type of exercise more than another, then it’s ok to do more of it.

Ultimately, if you’re able to get small doses of different types of exercise then you’ll be doing well! And if you want to gain those extra few percent of benefit, or hit specific goals, then you may want to see a professional to get a more tailored exercise program.

  1. Is it really better to exercise in the morning before you’ve eaten anything?

Here’s Dr Karl’s verdict:

Yes and no.

Yes, in that a 2010 Belgian study kind-of-showed more weight loss if you exercise before eating.

The researchers looked at some healthy young men – average age 21, with an average body weight of 71 kg. They persuaded them to eat an extra 30% of kilojoules every day for six weeks. The new diet was very rich in fat. In fact, fat made up 50% of their total intake of kilojoules.

They split the men into three groups.

The first group did no extra exercise. They gained 3kg. Their blood chemistry showed that they were developing insulin resistance. Their muscles were loaded with fat cells.

The second group did endurance exercise training (four days per week) in the mid-morning – after breakfast. They gained about 1.4 kg. Their blood chemistry was a little worrying, but certainly a lot better than the group that did no exercise.

The third group did the same exercise program, but on an empty tummy and “in a fasted state” – ie, before breakfast. They gained only 0.7 kg, and their blood chemistry was virtually normal.

We know that skeletal muscle “plays a major role in glucose metabolism accounting for ~ 75% of whole-body insulin-stimulated glucose uptake”. But it’s interesting that the timing of muscle activity had an effect.

(But if “weight loss” is the main purpose of exercise, then exercise is a very inefficient way to lose weight. Eating less is far more effective.)

And more “yes” in that if you follow a routine and exercise first thing every day, then you are less likely to skip exercise for the busy day – because you have already done it.

No, in the sense that exercise can be a social thing to share with family members. Sometimes, they are not ready before breakfast, and instead, a post-dinner walk at night is a much better bonding experience. Exercise is very nice if it can be a shared experience with family members.

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