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What is good condition? 

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Having good condition is one of the most important factors of being healthy, therefore it is recommended to train physical activity regularly. 

Condition is defined as the ability to use the oxogen we breathe in and can be measured or estimated using various tests (an easy one is described below). One of the many positive reasons to be fit and have good condition is that you will not affect your body as much during everyday activities like hoovering or shovelling snow.

How is your condition improved by exercise?
Your condition improves with low intense training because the effort over time will create a gradual adaptation preparing your body to meet the increasing effort required. Unfortunately, your condition will deteriorate over time if you stop exercising - something most people are painfully aware of. 

The changes that together contribute to increased condition are amongst other things: a stronger heart that can pump more blood with each heartbeat, an increased blood volume with more red blood cells transporting oxygen to your cells, an increased ability to get rid of lactid acid, along with more blood vessels and mitochondria converting fat and carbohydrates to energy in your muscles. All this together means that a greater conditioning means that you can perform at the same level as before but with much less effort and pulse. 

How do you know if your condition has improved? 

An easy way to test your condition is to perform a Cooper test. Basically, you measure how far you can run on an a flat surface like a track during 12 minutes. The test is standardised and you can compare your results in a table with consideration to you age and gender. If you repeat this test over time, you can see if your increased exercise or training method has given the anticipated results.

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Is your pulse affected if you exercise?

A healthy and fit heart is bigger and stronger than a non-fit heart, and can therefore pump a greater amount of blood per beat. This means that it doesn't need to pump as often when you are resting. To follow your resting heart rate is another way to measure if your conditioning is improving. 

Your maximum heart rate is however not affected by training. Your max pulse is the highest amount your heart can beat per minute. Things affecting your heart rate is your age along with individual and genetic factors. Your max pulse will decrease in average one beat per year and is approximately 220 beats minus your age, so about 200 beats per minute for a 20-year old. 


How much should you exercise? 
The recommendations about physical activity say you should aim for at least 150-300 sweaty minutes of exercise per week. With sweaty minutes we mean when your pulse goes up and you get warm from the inside. You can divide you minutes however you want, the important thing is to increase your pulse and get sweaty a couple of times per week. Walking i great, but if you pulse is not increasing then you are not improving your conditioning and the health benefits connected with it. 

Some tips for increasing your conditioning:

  • It's never to late to start exercising, or to restart. Everyone will reap the benefits - no matter age. 

  • Vary your training, mix short and longer workouts and train with a higher intensity now and then. 

  • Listen to your body if you feel sick, but don't listen if you feel lazy. On tough days you can switch a high-intense workout with a low-intense one.

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About the authors Jessica & Maria

Challengize health tips are written for us by Jessica Norrbom and Maria Ahlsén, both with PHDs in medicine. Since 2013 they run their own business Fortasana working mainly with diet, training and health from a scientific perspective. Maria and Jessica have written several books and regularly lecture focusing mainly on popular health myths and explain what is actually true from a scientific perspective when it comes to diets, trends and newspaper headlines.

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