Factors Affecting the Training Response

The terms duration, frequency and intensity are commonly used when talking about training for fitness or health. All training programs, whether running, biking, swimming, or climbing, strive to vary in duration, frequency, and intensity so as to optimize conditioning and minimize injuries. Five major factors determine the extent of your maximal aerobic capacity and the magnitude of your response to training. These include:

♦ Initial level of aerobic fitness

♦ Duration of exercise

♦ Frequency of exercise

♦ Intensity of exercise

♦ Genetics/heredity

General principles apply to all types of physical activities. Take the following general principles and apply them to your individual program.

♦ The degree of aerobic training is closely tied to intensity and total work, not to frequency of training. However, a minimum of 3 days per week is recommended.

♦ A greater training improvement (up to a point) will be noted if you exercise above 85% of V02max or 90% of your maximal heart rate once a week or every other week: interval training.

♦ Aerobic capacity will improve if exercise increases your heart rate to at least 70% of your maximum heart rate.

♦ A lower exercise intensity can be offset by exercise of longer duration.

♦ Maximal heart rate for swimming and other upper body exercise is lower than maximal heart rate for leg or whole body exercise. Thus, training heart rate (THR) can be 13 to 15 bpm lower for swimming/upper body exercise than when running, biking, or other whole body exercises.

♦ A threshold duration per workout has not been identified to maximize aerobic capacity.

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