Its funny because most people assume everyone knows the basics of exercise. Even seasoned exercisers may have misconceptions about exactly what some fitness terms means. Let me start with this, according to new research published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism it is recommend that we completely 150 minutes of physical activity per week. This combination should also include strength training 2-3 days per week. So moving on, here are some definitions of words and phrases you’ve heard or will hear along your journey:

  • Aerobic/cardiovascular activity. These are exercises that are strenuous enough to temporarily speed up your breathing and heart rate. Running, cycling, walking, swimming, and dancing all fall into this category.
  • Maximum Heart Rateis based on the person’s age. An estimate of a person’s maximum age-related heart rate can be obtained by subtracting the person’s age from 220. I highly recommend utilizing a heart monitor during your workouts to efficiently gage this range.
  • Flexibility training or stretching. This type of workout enhances the range of motion of your joints. Age and inactivity tend to cause muscles, tendons, and ligaments to shorten over time. And know that stretching and warming up are not synonymous. In fact, stretching cold muscles and joints can make them prone to injury. So be sure to complete an effective warm up before exercising.
  • Warm up. This is the act of preparing your body for the stress of exercise. The body can be warmed up with light intensity aerobic movements like walking slowly or marching in place while pumping the arms for 5-8 minutes. These movements increase blood flow, which in turn “warms up” muscles and joints.
  • Strength, weight, or resistance training. This type of exercise is aimed at improving the strength and function of muscles. Specific exercises are done to strengthen each muscle group. Weight lifting and exercising with stretchy resistance bands are examples of resistance training activities, as are exercises like pushups in which you work against the weight of your own body.
  • Usually used for strength training exercises, this term refers to repeating the same exercise a certain number of times. For instance, completing 10 bicep curls, rest for a few moments, and then perform another “set” of 10 more bicep curls.
  • Repetition or “rep.” This refers to the number of times you perform an exercise during a set. For example, doing each 10 reps of the bicep curl, each curl is a “rep”.
  • Cooldown. For me this is the most rewarding part of my workouts as I feel each completed workout is an accomplished. So the cooldown is my reward for my hard work. It’s less-strenuous exercise you do to “cooldown” your body after the more intense part of your workout. And example might be a nice and slow stretch and controlled breathing to an inspirational song or a slow walk after a rigorous run. The “cooldown” is an absolute must before continuing on with your day.