Some pointers to staying safe. Remember this isn't claiming to be comprehensive.
i) It's prudent to get a fitness adviser or health professional check
to make sure you can train safely, even if you think you're fit and healthy.
It's essential if there's any known history of respiratory or circulatory
disorder, or any other medical condition that increases your risks (and
only a medic really knows them). Few conditions stop you exercising -
but plenty add risks and imply a need for specialist advice on training.
ii) During exercise, watch for dizziness, light-headedness, chest pain,
faintness or other adverse signs and SLOW DOWN if they occur. Then seek
pro advice immediately.
iii) If you've been unwell, reduce exercise intensity to what you can
really cope with.
iv) Warm up and cool down progressively; never start or stop training
The typical prescription to improve aerobic fitness (which
is what we're after) for a normal, healthy individual is pretty
simple; exercise at between 60% and 70% of your maximum safe heart
rate for at least 20 minutes, 2-3 times a week.
Another rule-of-thumb guide to exercise intensity is the "talk
test" - while you can talk nearly normally, you're still operating
aerobically. The idea for initial aerobic training is to be somewhat
out of breath, but not so much you can't talk coherently. For basic
fitness, starting from nowhere, that's as far as you should go for
a few weeks.
Maximum safe heart rate
A rough guide for max safe heart rate for healthy adults is 220-(your
age). The widget below calculates 60 and 70% of that to give you
a rough idea.
|For this purpose, it doesn't
matter much which exercise you pick, because all that is needed is
good basic fitness. Of course, if you do other sports, you need to
check out the requirements for that sport (20 minutes won't make you
a marathon runner).
||Measuring heart rate
Manually, find a pulse (yours) at wrist or throat. I find the throat
one is easiest to find on myself, just under the angle of the jaw
on either side. Count the beats in 15 seconds and multiply by 4.
Of course, you can get one of those neat heart rate monitors now,
usually with cardio exercise instructions.
So the initial exercise duration is 20min, frequency
is 2-3 sessions a week, and intensity is estimated by heart
rate at 60-70% of max safe rate, or by talk testing. But the training
principles include progression; what does that mean here?
Frequency can't move up much. 2-3 times a week is about as much
as is sensible for any given training. You could go from 2 to 3
times a week, but not much further.
Duration is extendable. 20 minutes is really a minimum for aerobic
training; that can usefully progress up to any figure you like.
Much over 40 mins is probably unnecessary for archery.
Intensity can increase, from the 60% to 70%. Also, you should find
that as fitness increases, your input gets higher. For example,
initially you might be jogging 5 minutes and walking five; with
six months of that, you could be jogging five and sprinting a bit.
But unless you want to shift the effect of the training (you might,
but not particularly for archery), going up in intensity beyond
the aerobic region is not necessary. There are reasons to do that
for archery-specific muscles, but that's elsewhere.
| No fitness
regime is complete without monitoring progress. There are several
ways of working out how well it's working. For example:
Look at how your capacity changes, for example by looking at how long
you can exercise without large heart rate increases.
Monitor resting heart rate (ie heart rate after sitting or lying still
for at least ten minutes; without training, 80-90 is quite possible,
for a highly trained endurance athlete, 40-45 is not uncommon. Somewhere
around 60 is fair for archers with no other demands.
Monitor the return to resting heart rate after exercise. A simple
way to do that is to check your rate as you finish the session (should
be in the aerobic range calculated above), and then check it after
two minutes. The better the cardio fitness, the lower it'll be.