Exercise Tips & Routines
Cardio exercise, strength training, and nutrition
Every great weight management routine consists of cardio workouts, strength-training exercises, and a healthy diet.
Cardiovascular fitness refers to the fitness level of your heart, blood vessels, lungs, and breathing mechanisms. Here’s the scoop on cardiovascular exercise:
This sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Now, you’re probably wondering how much cardio exercise you need in order to reap these great benefits. You need at least 30 minutes three to four days a week, according to the U.S. Surgeon General. Cardio exercise includes brisk walking, lawn mowing, even raking leaves – any activity that gets you slightly winded. You can even break up the exercise into two 15-minute sessions, if that better fits your schedule.
Besides greatly improving your cardiovascular system, aerobic exercise can help you lose weight. You should strive to burn at least 1,000 extra calories per week – equivalent of jogging 30 minutes every other day. (This is based on the recommended weight loss of one to two pounds per week.) Exercise right, as well as eat right, and you’ll not only lose weight, but you’ll also keep it off permanently.
How to measure your heart rate
When you exercise, your body speeds up, and so does your heart as it works to meet your increase energy needs. But how much is safe? You need the answer to this question in order to maximize your exercise benefits while not overworking your heart. Checking your heart rate can be done a number of ways.
Ideally, your exercise target heart rate should range from 60% to 80% of your maximum heart rate, which is normally calculated as 220 minus your age (for example, for a 30-year-old, the answer would be 190 beats per minute). To improve stamina and performance, your maximum heart rate while exercising should range from 60% to 80% of this number. Multiply your maximum heart rate by 0.6 and 0.8 to get the correct range (114 to 152 for a 30-year-old).
Based on a 30-minute, three to four days a week exercise routine, you should check your heart rate while exercising once or twice a week. Monitoring your heart rate periodically -- and charting it in your journal – can give you an idea of how you’re improving.
Target Heart Rate
Maximum Heart Rate
Aerobic vs. anaerobic exercise
Aerobic exercise is exercise at levels of intensity at which your cardiovascular system can keep pace with the demand for oxygen. This steady supply is what allows the activity to comfortably take place. Walking and jogging are some examples of aerobic exercises. These activities strengthen your heart, burn fat, and improve your overall cardiovascular strength.
If you exercise harder, such as going from jogging to running very fast, you are no longer exercising aerobically, but anaerobically. This means that your body is working so hard that you tire more quickly. An example of an anaerobic exercise is sprinting, which relies upon the stored oxygen deep in your tissues. Exercising at anaerobic levels improves cardiovascular endurance and athletic performance, but should be done moderately.
Excellent cardio exercises include:
Strength-training exercises isolate muscles and build strength and endurance.
They also increase muscle mass, which burns more fat.
These days, everyone should be lifting weights -- and for good reason. Between the ages of 35 and 40, most people start losing bone and muscle mass. Weight training can slow this loss and even reverse it. Strength training benefits everyone, including older adults and non-athletes. It is effective in developing and maintaining muscular strength and endurance, developing muscle-mass, and stimulating bone density (which helps prevent osteoporosis). Lifting weights can even help you lose weight and keep it off. If you try to slim down through dieting alone, you’ll lose muscle along with fat. Lifting weights increases your muscle-mass, and increasing muscle mass boosts your metabolism. Of course, the most obvious benefit is a firm, toned physique.
Begin by warming up and stretching
Before you begin any exercise, always warm up, then stretch for at least ten minutes. Never stretch cold muscles; they are more likely to tear. Spend about seven minutes on a treadmill or bicycle -- even jogging in place will do. You can also do whatever activity you’ve chosen for that day at a slower, less-challenging pace.
Now that your muscles are warmed up, it’s time to stretch. There are many different ways to stretch your muscles. Any combination will do just make sure you stretch the muscles you plan on exercising. Hold each stretch for at least 15 seconds without bouncing. It’s also a good idea to stretch after you’ve worked out to lower your chances of injury or soreness.
The more you stretch, the more flexible your body becomes. A flexible body can help you walk and run faster and help you heal from injury, or avoid injury altogether.
How much weight should you lift?
The amount of weight to lift will very with the exercise and the muscle or muscle group being exercised. For small muscles and muscle groups, like your triceps or biceps, you will want to lift less weight than what you will lift for large muscles and muscle groups, which include your back, chest, legs, and shoulders.
How much weight you lift will also depend on your strength-training goals. Are you trying to increase muscle strength? If you answer is yes, then lift heavier weights so that your muscles tire out after five or fewer repetitions. If you’re looking for more moderate results (muscle endurance), lift weights that cause your muscles to fatigue after 8 to 15 repetitions. For specific recommendations, consult a personal trainer or exercise coach.
Most experts suggest starting out with lower resistance and higher repetitions for best results and less chance of injury. In addition, many would agree that no one should strength-train more than three to four times per week and never on consecutive days. Muscles need at least 48 hours to recover from a workout.
How many sets should you do?
If you’re lifting weights purely for the health benefits, a single set of each exercise may suffice. An example is a one-time through the circuit course. But if you goal is to develop significant muscle tone and strength, you’ll probably need to perform at least three sets per muscle group.
Rest between reps
The amount of rest you need between each repetition depends on the type of exercise you’re doing. The following is a good rule of thumb to remember:
Don’t expect immediate results
Be patient. Not everything that’s good for you comes with immediate results. It may take a few months before you start to see a significant increase in strength and tone of you muscles. And even if your biceps aren’t popping out of your sleeves, you’ll probably feel stronger and more energetic within a few weeks. Just don’t give up.
The VFL products can boost your work out. Now it’s time to think about which exercises will help you lose that 10% this year!
You should always consult a physician before starting any workout program. Once you’re cleared and ready, try to incorporate these 3 important components in your workout: Resistance Training, Cardio, and Stretching.
First you need to warm up your muscles so you don’t tear any cold muscle groups. Do this by taking a light job for about 5-10 minutes. Secondly, apply some resistance training that includes both your lower and upper body. Some great resistance training lifts for your lower body are:
- Leg presses
- Leg extensions
- Leg curls
- Hip adductions
- Hip abduction
Some great lifts for your upper body are:
- Bench press
- Shoulder press
- Chest press
- Seated row
It’s up to you to decide if you want to lift weights and do cardio workouts on the same days or on alternating days. If you decide to do both on the same day, do your lifts first, then progress to your cardio workouts.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 3-5 days a week for most cardio (aerobic) programs. Some great cardio exercise ideas are:
- Running outdoors or on a treadmill
- Elliptical machines
- Riding a bike or joining a spinning class
After finishing your work out, it’s important to remember to stretch. Stretch at least 5-10 minutes after working out to help prevent muscle stiffness and soreness. Stretching can also help prevent injuries and increase flexibility.
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A Weight on Your Shoulders
According to Liz Neporent, MA, CSCS, author of Weight Training for Dummies, the key to osteoporosis treatment is quite simple: "You have to lift weights," said Neporent. "You can throw calcium at the problem all day long, but unless you train your bones to hold onto that calcium, it's not going to do much good. Weight training teaches bones to hold on to calcium and stay strong. The act of weight-bearing exercise sends a signal to the bones that they need to be strong to endure the exercise."
"The one thing most people don't realize," pointed out Neporent, "is that osteoporosis is site specific. What that means is that you might not get it in your legs, but you easily could get it in your upper body if you don't use your arms. That's why a weight-training program has to address all the major muscle groups of the body."
Exercise Made Easy
"Walking is a great way to hold on to bone strength," said Neporent. "Running is great as well, if you do it in moderation." She defined moderation as whatever doesn't cause you to have joint pain. "Both running and walking are terrific for stimulating bone growth in the legs," she said. "They load the bones with weight -- your own -- and help you to keep calcium in the bones where it belongs. Water aerobics, on the other hand, won't stimulate bone growth because there's no impact or weight-bearing on the bones and joints."
But what about the rest of the body? Weight training -- using enough weight to create increased resistance and strength, such as wearing a backpack loaded with some additional weight or using hand and ankle weights.
Neporent designed a basic exercise program aimed at maintaining bone health that can be done in only 20 minutes. You can do it at home or at a gym. "You need to do one good exercise for each of your major body areas," said Neporent.
Choosing the right weight is critical to the success of the program -- you have to present the bones with enough of a challenge to stimulate growth. "Choose a weight that you can do eight to 15 repetitions with," Neporent explained. "If you feel like you can easily go on after the 15 repetitions, it's time to increase the weight."
"Do one set of each exercise, and perform the entire routine twice a week," Neporent told me. This is also the protocol that the prestigious American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) advocates for the maintenance of strong muscles and healthy bones.
Here's the routine...
That's all there is to it. With a little practice, you can complete the entire workout in about 20 minutes. Note: Check with your doctor before starting this or any other exercise regimen.
Neporent reminded me not to neglect nutrition. "It's not enough to just take calcium," she said. "We need some sunlight for vitamin D. Go for a 10-minute walk in the morning sun to get your vitamin D. Magnesium, manganese, boron and vitamin K are all important to bone health as well. Make sure your supplement includes them to help with the absorption of calcium." Check with your health-care provider for the best supplements for you, since there are vast differences in how different forms of calcium and magnesium are absorbed.
While the above workout won't get you into a smaller size of clothing, it will help ensure that you are walking tall for years to come.
Six Minutes to Fit
Americans looking for a quick fix were very excited recently by a report promising that six minutes of very vigorous exercise (per week) was just as good for getting fit as two hours of moderate exercise three times a week.
File this one in the "if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is... " bin. Sorry folks.
It is true that super-intense exercise can boost fitness fast. In the study, Canadian researchers found that men and women who cranked out four 30-second full-on (fast and as hard as possible) sprints (with four minutes of rest or easy pedaling between efforts) on exercise bikes, three times a week reaped identical fitness gains to those who pedaled two hours at a moderate pace three times a week. But it's a little misleading to say that you only need six minutes a week, because though the hard work only totaled two minutes per exercise session, if you include the four minutes of easy pedaling or rest, these cyclists were actually exercising for 14 minutes per bout. What's more, this type of exercise is extremely challenging and not appropriate for beginner exercisers -- the usual audience looking for quick exercise fixes.
"Very intense exercise bouts are not for people just starting out," says exercise physiology expert Len Kravitz, PhD, of the University of New Mexico. "You need to build a good foundation by exercising consistently for at least several months so your muscles, joints, connective tissues and heart are conditioned to withstand that level of work, impact and intensity." Otherwise, you're just asking for an injury... or worse.
Instead of trying to cut corners and whip yourself into shape overnight, use high-intensity exercise bouts as a supplement to your regular workout to take your fitness to the next level. Short, vigorous sessions also can help you maintain fitness when you're going through a busy period at home or work and you're crunched for time. "Exercising 30 to 60 minutes most days is still your best bet for health, weight loss and fitness," says Dr. Kravitz.
Your Exercise -- Your Choice
Pilates... yoga... aerobics... stairmaster... treadmill... jogging... water aerobics -- the list of exercise options goes on and on. A friend of mine jogs and loves it and looks great. When I tried it, I just felt lousy and it made no difference in my body shape. Yet, the elliptical machine seems to keep me entertained and in check. For people who are starting an exercise program, it is easy to get discouraged if they pick a program that doesn't work well for them. Once discouraged, bye-bye exercise.
When it comes to weight loss, we all have different "diet and exercise personalities." And if there's one mantra that virtually every fitness professional has come to embrace, it's the one that says, "no one program works for everyone." In diet and in exercise, one size simply doesn't fit all. What works for your neighbor may not work for you, and what your neighbor hates most may be number one on your own personal hit parade. So, how do we choose the right diet and exercise program for our own personal situation?
"There are a number of ways to accomplish weight loss," Wayne Westcott, PhD, one of the leading researchers in the field of exercise, explains. How you approach weight loss depends on your exercise attitude, of which there are several types.
Attitude Type One: "I hate to exercise." If this is your attitude, Dr. Westcott recommends...
Diet: Reduced-calorie diet (typically 1,600 calories or less per day for women, 1,800 for men).
Strength training: Only two times per week, 15 minutes per session (see strength training circuit below for specific exercises).
Aerobic exercise: Only two times per week, 15 minutes per session (aerobics can be anything that gets the heart rate up to 50% to 75% of maximum heart rate for your age -- running, jogging, walking, swimming, step class, etc.). Target heart rates can be found at the American Heart Association Web site at http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4736).
"That minimum amount of exercise -- just one hour per week -- will actually maintain muscle and cardio fitness," says Dr. Westcott.
Type Two: "I like exercise but don't like strength training much"...
Diet: Less calorie restriction than Type One (1,700 to 1,750 for women...1,900 to 1,950 for men).
Strength training: Same as Type One above (two times per week, 15 minutes each circuit).
Aerobic exercise: Four times per week, 15 minutes per session (or twice a week, 30 minutes per session).
The extra aerobic exercise allows you to eat slightly more than Type One.
Type Three: "I like to exercise hard"...
Diet: Continue what you normally eat.
Strength training: Two to three times a week, 30 minutes per session (circuits).
Aerobic exercise: Two to three times a week, 30 minutes per session.
"Those strength-training circuits burn a lot of calories," says Dr. Westcott. "Remember that the more vigorously you exercise, the more calories you need in your diet. I work with a triathlete who runs 15 miles three times a week and has a 7% body fat index. He needs to have 35% of his diet as good fats to provide adequate calories to maintain stamina."
Strength Training: What to do
Dr. Westcott recommends a "circuit" of exercises. A circuit is performed by doing an exercise and moving on to the next with minimum rest in between. When you've performed each exercise in the circuit, you've done "one circuit." You can repeat the circuit up to three times in a session. Studies have shown that unfit people performing just one hard circuit, twice a week with a one-minute or less rest between exercises will get measurable results from this routine. Those who are more fit and conditioned to begin with have to up the ante a bit in order to get serious improvement -- either by performing more circuits or using heavier weights.
The first circuit is composed of exercises that use multiple muscles (called "compound exercises"). The second includes specific arm exercises. Either is effective, and you may alternate. They can be performed at home or at the gym. (Note: For an excellent illustrated explanation of how to perform these exercises with correct form, see Weight Training for Dummies (Wiley) by Liz Neporent and Suzanne Schlosberg.)
Here are two of Dr. Westcott's recommended strength-training circuits -- weight for each exercise should be enough such that you can complete eight to 12 repetitions. If 12 is too easy, and you feel you could continue, raise the weight. If you cannot complete eight, lower the weight until you can...
Strength Training: Circuit One
1. Leg press or squat
2. Dumbbell bench press (if at home) or chest press machine
(if at the gym)
3. Bent-over row (home) or rowing machine (gym)
4. Dumbbell shoulder press (home) or shoulder press machine (gym)
5. Chin-up (home: have someone assist you) or
assisted chin-up (gym)
6. Incline dumbbell bench press (home) or incline chest press machine (gym)
Strength Training: Circuit Two
1. Leg press or squat
2. Chest press
3. Bent-over row (home) or seated row (gym)
4. Shoulder press
5. Lat pulldown (gym only)
6. Tricep press
7. Bicep curl
PICKING AEROBIC EXERCISES
As for the aerobic portion of your workout, the key is to make it enjoyable. Be sure to choose an activity that is fun for you -- and remember that it doesn't have to be the same one every time. In fact, your muscles will respond better if you mix it up, so that you exercise slightly different muscle groups each time you work out. You can ride a bicycle one day... use a cross-country ski machine another... and swim on a third. Or, take an aerobics or dance class. In good weather, kayaking will give you a good upper body workout, while cycling or a fast walk will exercise your lower body on alternating days.
If a certain exercise gives you pain, then don't continue. Pick a different one that doesn't strain your "trouble spot(s)."
Exercise is a very personal activity and choice. Make it your own and it will become part of your life.
Exercise Away the Aches
When people have arthritis it often hurts to move, so many people with arthritis limit their movement. But inactivity can be crippling -- literally -- for people with any form of this ubiquitous disease.
Whereas a generation or so ago, people with arthritis were sent to bed in an effort to "save their joints," Mitchell W. Krucoff, MD, coauthor of Healing Moves: How to Cure, Relieve and Prevent Common Ailments with Exercise (Harmony), on how exercise can help cure and prevent common ailments such as arthritis, told me scientific evidence now refutes that. "Study after study has shown that people with arthritis who exercise regularly report less pain and joint swelling, improved functioning and increased strength, endurance and flexibility -- without harming their joints," he says.
The psychological benefits are also dramatic. "The mind and body are not separate," added coauthor and yoga instructor Carol Krucoff. "Exercisers experience less depression and anxiety, and greater feelings of control. When you can't function, it's very depressing. You can't walk stairs, or go places. And for seniors, the idea that they might fall down and not be able to get up is very frightening." Basic exercises give seniors a sense of control and the ability to do the functions of daily living. "They feel better about themselves and feel more capable," said Carol.
This is all well and good, but it still hurts to exercise with achy joints. So, what kinds of exercise do the Krucoffs recommend for arthritis sufferers?
1. Range of motion exercises. These are exercises that help reduce stiffness and keep the joints flexible. Dr. Krucoff explained that range of motion simply means the normal distance your joints can move in all directions. There are five primary movements he recommends...
2. Endurance exercise (aerobics). "Like anyone interested in good health, people with arthritis need to accumulate 30 minutes a day of cardio activity," Dr. Krucoff told me. He added that for people with arthritis it's especially important to strengthen large muscles, such as those of the legs, allowing more gentle and consistent compression of the sore joints, which in turn stimulates the healing process in the cartilage. When choosing an exercise, it's important to pick something that doesn't exacerbate arthritis. Here's what the Krucoffs suggest...
3. Strengthening exercises. The idea of people with arthritis pumping iron is very new. "There are some very good studies showing that weight training for people with arthritis is very helpful," said Carol, "particularly for those with rheumatoid arthritis."
Important: Check with your physician before starting this or any exercise program.
When starting, it's best to begin with light weights or even no weights and work up from there. "Your goal is to work out with a weight you can lift at least 10 times without being too tired," said Carol. "If you can't, it's too heavy."
The number-one cause of nursing home admissions is not heart disease or Alzheimer's disease or diabetes. "It's weak joints and muscles," said Dr. Krucoff. These people can't do the activities of daily life. They can't get up or down, can't go to the bathroom. "You can prevent these problems with a good exercise program," said Dr. Krucoff. "And the time to start is right now." (After you get approval from your treating physician, of course.)
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Stress kills. Rest is critical to our health. Research shows time and again direct connections between stress and assorted diseases including cardiac issues, digestive issues, stroke and more. What's the remedy? A vacation at a Caribbean spa is the fantasy solution, with beautiful white beaches, fabulous food, first class pampering and service, and lots of relaxation. If that’s not an option, then follow this weight management plan and make sure that you schedule in some relaxation time into your busy life.
It's Easy to Meet Your Goals
Time and again I find myself writing about the importance of a healthful lifestyle in creating good health. Exercising, eating well and emotional satisfaction all contribute to that healthful lifestyle. Of course achieving this requires effort, a thoughtful approach and, sometimes, the advice and observations of an expert. Lauren H. Zander, founder and chairman of Personal Evolution, is one such expert -- a life coach and consultant who specializes in helping people achieve their goals in life, no matter how big or small.
With the continuous rise of illness rooted in emotional health and lifestyle decisions, it is important to not just write about the need to change, but also to provide you with the tools to make that change possible. So, I will be talking to Lauren each month about ways to make the right choices to positively influence your health. For starters, we look at the issue of discipline. Remember all those New Year's resolutions long since forgotten? Or the diets started and stopped? Or the smoking habit you were going to quit? How do you keep those promises to yourself so you can be proud of your accomplishments rather than shamed by failure?
Before figuring out how to make all those changes, you need to understand why promises are not kept. According to Lauren, it's simply a lack of discipline. Much like discipline teaches children self-control, discipline similarly gets us to the gym three or four days a week or out for a walk even when it's raining. It's what prompts us to reach for the fruit instead of cake... what has us dialing our parents or children every week even when we're busy... what reminds us to be a loving spouse whether we feel like it or not. In short, personal discipline is what we must practice to make our dreams a reality and what gets us out of making excuses for what we "should have done" once and for all.
NOT AS HARD AS YOU THINK
The key to our lack of discipline, says Lauren, is the big lie that we tell ourselves about it. Most people believe that to be disciplined is hard -- really hard. But what, she asks, is so hard about not putting sugar in your mouth if you know it upsets your stomach, or turning off the computer to keep from spending mindless hours on the Internet, or taking three or four minutes to give your spouse a warm hello? While it makes logical sense, why do so many people fail in their attempts at making disciplined choices?
Lauren acknowledges that the process of discipline is challenging, but the problem is much deeper than that. Our culture is complaint focused instead of solution and action focused, which keeps people from dealing with personal issues in any kind of concrete way. People whine and complain about problems or behaviors, but they don't energize themselves to correct them. Instead they listen to other people whine and complain and together they commiserate on how hard it all is. Nonsense, says Lauren, it's time to recognize the bratty teenager who dwells in all of us and says, "you can't make me," "I don't want to," "it's not fair." Our inner teen prefers to be lazy about life instead of growing up and behaving the way adults are meant to and in a way that creates a genuinely happy and fulfilled life.
To soothe feelings of failure about their lack of discipline, people tell themselves stories. They cling to how bad such lack of discipline makes them feel, says Lauren. In fact, it does make them feel terrible and you'll even hear them say things such as, "I just hate it when I do that but I can't help myself." Lauren observes that this pattern has become so entrenched in our communal thinking that we've turned it into a silent addiction. But feeling bad doesn't get anyone off the hook. It's "dumb, blind trap" that people use to convince themselves they are stuck and can't make change no matter how much they yearn to do so.
THE ACT OF DISCIPLINE
Once you realize the stories you're telling yourself about how hard it is to be disciplined, you are then ready to move on. Lauren explains that the act of discipline is about keeping your word. It's important to recognize that with every act of discipline you make -- even something as simple as getting up early enough to arrive on time at work -- you are behaving in keeping with your promises to yourself and to others. You may not feel like getting up, but because your personal integrity is stronger than the whiny voice inside, you do it. The same holds true for the exercise you promised to do or the dietary changes you promised to make.
Lauren suggests taking this realization to evaluate what areas in your life you want (or need) to improve. Do you need to lose weight to improve your health? Exercise? Stop eating foods that aggravate your allergies? Or do you need to work on your relationship with your spouse or children to improve your emotional health?
In the early stages it may be difficult to see your own excuses. Consequently, you may find it helpful to work with a close confidant on this process. This person can help you recognize the sham of your excuses and will also know the promises you are making to yourself. People become more accountable when someone else is watching over their shoulders.
By incorporating discipline into your life and keeping your behavior in line with your personal integrity you will finally have become in charge of your own life and that, says Lauren, is what life is about. Once you take over, she adds, you'll see how great your life can be.
Four Easy Ways to Get More Exercise
Technology has made our lives increasingly easy, and more sedentary. Follow these tips for some ways to add more movement and natural exercise into your life.
The Arithmetic of Fat Burning
The other day as I sweated my way through my usual workout on the elliptical machine at my gym, I decided to play with the computerized programs and chose "fat burning." (What else?) The computer asked me to grasp the handlebars so it could measure my heart rate, and to my utter amazement it told me I was working too hard. Even more amazing was how low the machine wanted my heart rate to be in order to be in the target zone. I felt like I wasn't even working hard. This was too good to be true.
Even though I was risking looking this exercise gift horse in the mouth, I spoke with the "weight-loss coach" on i-Village, nutritionist and fitness expert Jonny Bowden.
FAT BURNING TRUTH vs. MYTH
"The conventional advice about working at a lower heart rate to burn more fat is based on a complete misunderstanding of how the body works," he told me. "Yet that information continues to get passed around in gyms and aerobics classes. It's even made its way into the computer programs on exercise machines." Bowden explained that at every level of activity -- from sleep to running a marathon -- you're always "burning" some mixture of fat and carbohydrates, with just the tiniest bit of protein thrown in for good measure. "There's always a mix of these two fuels," Bowden explained. "The confusion about fat burning arose because many aerobics teachers don't understand the differences between percentages and absolute numbers."
FUELING YOUR SYSTEM
Here's how it works. You're always burning calories, even when you're sleeping. It "costs" calories to grow toenails, digest food, breathe and perform even the most basic metabolic activities. Those calories have to come from somewhere -- and at rest, the highest percentage of them come from fat (or, more accurately, fatty acids, which circulate in the bloodstream and get stored in the hips, thighs and tummy). "But the total number of calories burned at rest -- and at low levels of activity -- is very small," Bowden explained. "The average person burns about a calorie a minute -- or 60 calories an hour -- sitting around watching television. Now the percentage of that 60 calories that comes from fat is pretty high -- around 70%. But the total number of calories burned is very small. As you work harder, the percentage of fuel that comes from fat goes down somewhat, but the total number of calories burned goes way up." The result? You actually burn more total calories -- and fat -- when you're working harder even though the relative percentage of fat burning drops.
THE ARITHMETIC OF FAT BURNING
"In seminars, I always ask the following question," said Bowden. "Would you rather have 90% percent of all the money I have in my pocket, or 10% of all the money Donald Trump has in the bank? Obviously, everyone chooses the Trump option, even though I'm offering a higher percentage of the money in my pocket. Why? Because clearly, the payoff in dollars for the person choosing a lower percent of a huge number is going to be way higher than the payoff for the person choosing a high percent of a low number! And it's the exact same thing with calories."
Bowden explained further: "At a high level of exertion, you might be burning as many as 12 calories per minute, or 720 calories per hour. At that level of exertion, 30% of your calories are probably coming from fat. That sounds like a pretty low percentage, doesn't it? But the number of fat calories burned is actually 216 calories (30% of 720). Now at a very moderate rate of exertion, like they tell you to do on the "fat burning programs," you might burn only 5 calories per minute, or 300 calories per hour, and sure, a greater percentage -- say 50% of those 300 calories -- is coming from fat. But 50% of 300 calories is only 150 fat calories. Not bad, but you did better working harder!"
According to Bowden, the picture isn't as simple as how many calories you burn from fat during the exercise session. "People get very caught up in the concept of where their calories are coming from during the exercise session, but in the long run it doesn't much matter," he said. "Whether I pay a bill using nickels, dimes, dollar bills or savings bonds, in the long run I've still got to pay the debt. And it's the same thing with calories. Ultimately, to lose weight, you want to burn -- or spend -- more calories during the day than you take in. At some point in the day you may be using more fat calories, and at others you may be using more calories from carbs, but if you're in the red, calorically speaking, you're going to pay that debt from your savings account, which in this case is the fat around your waist, hips and thighs!"
"If you want to lose weight," Bowden told me, "you want to work out as hard and as long and as frequently as you can." Of course, always check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.
So is there ever a reason to work out at lower levels of effort? "Absolutely," said Bowden. "It's always good to mix and match levels of intensity. Sometimes you go for a long slow run, other times you go for a series of sprints. Long and slow, or short and fast, doesn't really matter. Just burn the calories."
Sources: “The Arithmetic of Fat Burning”: Jonny Bowden, MA, CNS, author of Living the Low Carb Life: Choosing the diet that's right for you from Atkins to Zone (Sterling) and the forthcoming The 150 Healthiest Foods on the Planet (Fairwinds). Bowden is a board-certified nutritionist and weight-loss coach on I-Village. His new CD set, Change Your Body Change Your Life, can be found at www.jonnybowden.com.
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Critical Updates for back pain sufferers
Four Exercise Tips for a Bad Back!
Back pain is one of the most prevalent types of chronic pain. When experiencing this type of pain, it is easy to get discouraged about exercising or even stop altogether. Though you may never feel 100 percent, there are several important factors to keep in mind about exercising with back pain. Here are four exercise tips that will keep you feeling fit without furthering your pain.
1. Know what to avoid
Certain exercises can worsen your back pain. Some of the worst exercises for your back are toe touches, leg lifts and sit-ups. Remember, for any exercise, there is a variation. For instance, instead of sit-ups, try partial crunches. A personal trainer or fitness instructor can help tailor your exercise routine to include exercises that will help ease your back pain.
2. Keep up with your aerobics
Researchers at UCLA found that 30 minutes of aerobic exercise per day is better for relieving back pain than regular back exercises. The reason why aerobic exercise works better is because people have a tendency to perform exercises incorrectly, which can worsen their back pain. Aerobic exercise is not only a safer option, but it also keeps your heart pumping and increases your cardiovascular fitness. Good aerobic activities include swimming and walking.
3. Strengthen your abdominals
Just as people with bad knees should strengthen their thigh and leg muscles, people with bad backs should work out their abdominal muscles. Abdominals comprise the body’s core. A weak or imbalanced core can translate into back pain, especially in the lower region. A great way to get a good core workout is Pilates. Taking a class is your best bet because the instructor will explain variations for specific weaknesses including back pain. This way you can strengthen your core without further injuring your back.
4. Don’t underestimate stretching
Stretching your back muscles helps soften the tissues and mobilize the spine. Keeping up with a stretching routine will ease the pain and allow greater range of motion in your back. Remember to get proper instruction when stretching so you are sure to avoid further injury. Taking a yoga class is an excellent stretching option because the instructor will help you with your form. The benefits of yoga go above and beyond simple stretching.
So get out there and get moving. There is no reason why a bad back should prevent you from feeling your best.When one has a bad back sleeping can be a rare commodity. It seems that no matter what position one naturally falls into, it is painful to the back. There are actions one can take. Here are some tips for sleeping with a bad back.
1. Get the right bed. There is not a standard right bed for everyone, however. One needs to try many beds if at all possible. There are some manufacturers or stores that allow people take a bed for a test drive. One must make sure to meet all the qualifications for returning the bed in case it does not work.
Waterbeds are good for some people. They must be heated or one would lose all body heat during the night. Since they supply heat, they relax muscles and make bad back sleeping more comfortable. Yet, they do not support the body comfortably for some people.
Some like Scandinavian beds, but others find them too hard. They consist of a plywood base covered by a layer of foam. Some mattresses claim to be orthopedic mattresses, or chiropractic recommended. Some are firm and some are softer. Each person must decide which bed and mattress will work best.
2. Get into the right position. Sleeping on the stomach is a terrible position for people with bad backs. It causes them to suffer pain to the joints, nerves, and muscles of their lower backs. If one refuses to sleep any other way, a pillow should be used beneath the stomach. If one sleeps on the back, it is better. Yet a pillow is still needed behind the knees to relieve the compression on the back.
Perhaps the best position for a person who suffers from back problems is lying on the side with the knees pulled up. To make this position work even better, one can put a large pillow between the knees. This keeps the spine from twisting during sleep. Sleeping in the right position not only helps people have a better night. It also helps them awake feeling rested.
3. Do not worry about bed boards. For many years, there has been a practice of using bed boards for bad back sleeping. In the beginning, there was good cause for this. The way beds were designed, the flat springs would sag when the person lay down on the mattress.
However, modern beds do not require bed boards. With the advent of box springs, they became unnecessary. If one puts the bed board below the mattress, there should be little to no difference from having the mattress on the box springs. The box springs should already be firm enough. If one sleeps directly on the board, on the other hand, one might as well sleep on the floor.
It is wiser to pay attention to factors that make a difference in bad back sleeping. Getting the right bed is the first order of business. Once one finds the perfect bed, it should be easy to use pillows to find a position that is comfortable. The only things left are to turn out the lights and say good night.
Sleeping with Sciatica can be difficult. This page offers tips on how to sleep with back pain to help you. If you have back pain and sciatica symptoms a good nights sleep or indeed any adequate sleep may well feel like a distant dream.....
It is bad enough getting through the days in pain, to only face the nights with pain. To me the nights were worse. When you are suffering any back pain condition it is important to get rest and sleep so your body can heal.
However for many of us with sciatic pain sleep is hard to come by. Back pain and sleep do not go together very well and insomnia and sleep deprivation can become a part of life.
This page on sleeping with sciatica pain aims to give you some things to try which I hope will help you get a restful night’s sleep in spite of the back or sciatic pain. I don’t know what will work for you I just hope that one of these things or a combination of them may help you.
I have been there with back pain, sciatica and sleepless nights, night after night and would not wish anyone to be experiencing that, so do a little research, see what you think and try what you like the sound of.
2435 E NORTH ST STE 1108 PMB 411 GREENVILLE SC 29615-1442
Does Muscle Weigh More than Fat?
You often hear that muscle weighs more than fat. But in reality, a pound is a pound, regardless if it is muscle or fat. However, a pound of muscle does burn more calories than a pound of fat burns. In fact, pound-for-pound, muscle burns about 3 to 5 times more calories than fat—even if you weren't doing anything at all! This makes muscle crucial when it comes to managing your weight. Most People know that to build muscle or to hold onto muscle during weight loss or as we get older, regular resistance exercise is a must. Furthermore, you need protein immediately after you exercise as well as throughout the day. Our protein drink contains a proprietary blend of proteins that provide your muscle with the vital building blocks necessary for achieving your goals for maintaining or building muscle. This drink is ideal immediately after you exercise to promote muscle recovery, strengthening, and development as well as anytime throughout the day to help meet your protein needs.
Benefits of Breakfast
Is it really the most important meal of the day? YES!
The possibilities for quick breakfasts are endless!
Weight loss and Soluble Fiber
Our fiber drink is one of the most important products our company offers. If your digestive track is not healthy, then the food and supplements that you take may not be digested and absorbed properly. I have also recommend that if you want to lose weight, take your drink about one half hour before eating dinner with plenty of water. Click on the link above and read for yourself. So if you think you don't need a good fiber drink because you are not constipated...READ AGAIN.!
Contains: 10 G. of Soluble Fiber including 2 G of insoluble fiber and 10 other beneficial digestive track ingredients
2 G. for Metamucil and 1 G. of insoluble fiber...Bargain?
3 G. for Benefiber and 0 G of insoluble fiber...Bargain? I don't think so.
If you have not included this drink in your diet I strongly suggest that you start. Unfortunately some people don't care until they can't!
Call me for details and information on this one-of-a-kind fiber drink:
Soluble fibre boosts satiety, aids weight loss
British Journal of Nutrition, 2008
Weight-loss and Soluble Fiber: Breaking News on Food Marketing and Retailing
Soluble fibre boosts satiety, aids weight loss: study
By Stephen Daniells
29/04/2008- Supplements of soluble dietary fibre may increase weight loss by boosting satiety, and has beneficial effects for cardiovascular health, suggests a study.
A soluble fibre supplement improved cholesterol levels in overweight and obese subjects, who also lost about four kilograms more than people in the placebo group over 16 weeks, report scientists in the British Journal of Nutrition.
The study taps into the burgeoning weight loss and management market, estimated to already be worth $7bn (€5.2bn) globally.
With 50 per cent of Europeans and 62 per cent of Americans classed as overweight, the food industry is waking up to the potential of products for weight loss and management.
The slimming ingredients market can be divided into five groups based on the mechanisms of action - boosting fat burning/ thermogenesis, inhibiting protein breakdown, suppressing appetite/ boosting satiety (feeling of fullness), blocking fat absorption, and regulating mood (linked to food consumption).
The researchers, led by Jordi Salas-Salvado from Saint Joan University Hospital in Reus, Spain, randomly assigned 200 overweight or obese patients to receive either a mixed fibre dose (three grams of Plantago ovata husk and one gram of glucomannan) twice or three times a day, or placebo for 16 weeks. The study was a parallel, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.
At the end of the study, the researchers report that weight loss 'tended' to be higher in both fibre groups (4.52 and 4.60 kg lost in the twice and three times a day group, respectively), compared to the placebo group (0.79 kg lost).
In addition, satiety was reported to be increase after consumed the fibre-rich meals.
Moreover, LDL cholesterol levels - a cardiovascular risk marker - decreased by 0.38 and 0.24 mmol/l in the twice and three times a day group, respectively, compared to a decrease of only 0.06 mmol/l in the placebo group, state the authors. Improvements in the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL-cholesterol and HDL to LDL were also reported.
"In conclusion, a 16-week dietary supplement of soluble fibre in overweight or obese patients was well tolerated, induced satiety and had beneficial effects on some CVD risk factors, the most important of which was a significant decrease in plasma LDL-cholesterol concentrations," wrote Salas-Salvado.
Soluble versus insoluble fibre
Studies have also reported that insoluble fibre, which contains cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin and cannot be dissolved in water, may reduce the risk of obesity and diabetes, but the biological mechanism underlying the benefits has only been assumed.
The assumption was that the fibre reduced the glycemic response (a rise in blood glucose), thereby increasing satiety and decreasing energy intake. A lower glycemic response decreases the demand for insulin, therefore reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
In Europe and Japan, soluble fibre has the greater market share than insoluble. In the US, where the entire fibre market was worth $192.8m (€151.0m) in 2004, insoluble fibre dominates the market with $176.2m (€138.0m), and $16.6m (€13.0m) soluble.
But while Frost and Sullivan predicts overall growth in the US to $470m (€369m) by 2011, the soluble fibre sector is expected to increase by almost twice the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) compared to insoluble fibre - 26.3 per cent compared to 13.1 per cent.
Source: British Journal of Nutrition
Volume 99, Issue 6, Pages 1380-1387
"Effect of two doses of a mixture of soluble fibres on body weight and metabolic variables in overweight or obese patients: a randomised trial"
Authors: J. Salas-Salvado, X. Farres, X. Luque, S. Narejos, M. Borrell, J. Basora, A. Anguera, F. Torres, M. Bullo, R. Balanza, for the Fiber in Obesity-Study Group.
Copyright - Unless otherwise stated all contents of this web site are © 2000/2008 – Decision News Media SAS – All Rights Reserved. For permission to reproduce any contents of this web site, please email our Syndication department: contact our Syndication department.
10 Ways to Stick to a Workout Plan
Whatever your reason for getting serious about exercise—to lose weight, sleep better, boost your energy, or just be healthier—the key is consistency.
Whatever your reason for getting serious about exercise—to lose weight, sleep better, boost your energy, or just be healthier—the key is consistency. And for most of us, that’s the hard part: staying at it and maintaining our commitment to exercise regularly. If you’ve had trouble sticking to your workout plan, you’re not alone. Lots of people get bored with exercise, become discouraged when results don’t come more quickly, or are easily sidetracked by the daily demands of life.
Here are some tips to help you stay motivated and committed:
Tip #1: Set simple and attainable goals.
One surefire way to doom your exercise regime from the beginning is to expect too much out of yourself. It can be really discouraging when you fail to achieve a goal, so allow yourself to go slowly at first, and set your sights on targets you know you can reach. You can make your objectives more challenging down the road, but until you get into a consistent, ongoing, and sustainable routine, work on achieving what you know is possible for where you are right now. After all, five consistent 25-minute workouts in which you feel successful are going to be worth much more than one 60-minute workout that’s so challenging it makes you quit.
Tip #2: Schedule it.
Think of your exercise times as part of your week. Schedule them the way you would doctors’ appointments that you wouldn’t miss. And once you’ve written the exercise “appointment” into your calendar, commit to keeping it because you know it’s important for your health.
Tip #3: Find a buddy.
Exercising with a friend can make all the difference. An obvious reason is that it’s more fun to have someone to hang out and laugh with while you’re sweating and gasping for breath. But a friend also offers accountability on those days when you’re less inclined to head to the gym or go for your run. Knowing someone else is counting on you makes it a lot easier to take that first step out the door.
Tip #4: Motivate yourself visibly and tangibly.
Find something that will act as an incentive to keep you going even when you’re not excited about exercising—an invitation to your class reunion, an advertisement for the place you’ll be visiting on your vacation, a picture of yourself when you were trimmer and in better shape. Then display it prominently, where you’ll see it frequently. Put it on your fridge, or on the dashboard of your car, as a reminder of why you’ve made this commitment to yourself and to your health.
Tip #5: Set up a reward system.
Promise yourself that after you’ve exercised consistently for a certain amount of time (two weeks? three weeks?), you’ll reward yourself in some way. Maybe you’ll buy something you’ve wanted, or have friends over for a movie night, or plan some sort of special event for yourself—like taking in a show or attending a game you’ve wanted to see.
Tip #6: Track your progress.
Find some way to monitor how well you’re sticking to your workout plan. There are computer programs you can download for this, but a chart on the wall can be just as effective. It doesn’t really matter how you do it, but find a way to watch yourself get healthier: You can track inches, pounds, strength, or even the amount of time spent working out. Success can be as motivating as practically anything else, so track your progress and then notice how much more willing you are to keep going once you see how well you’re doing.
Tip #7: Make it fun.
Although some people find it hard to believe, it really ispossible to enjoy exercise at least somewhat. So find small ways to make your workouts more enjoyable (or less detestable). One suggestion is to get an iPod and create different music mixes that get your blood flowing. Podcasts and books on tape or CD can also help you more fully enjoy yourself while working out.
Tip #8: Try something new.
Another way to make workouts more enjoyable is to mix a healthy dose of variety into your exercise regimen, maybe even trying something new. Consider taking a kickboxing (or dance or swim) class that will make at least parts of the exercise feel less like drudgery.
Tip #9: Minimize the obstacles.
When thinking about the logistics and timing of your workout plan, make things as easy on yourself as possible. Try to avoid setting up any potential obstacles that could prevent you from keeping your scheduled training time. For example, don’t create a schedule that requires you to leave work early or interrupt a family dinner; that will just give you one more excuse not to work out. Also, don’t choose a gym way across town or a workout buddy you can’t count on to be consistent. Instead, be thoughtful as you set up your plan and keep things simple so that it seems as easy as possible to get to your workout—even if you’re not always looking forward to the workout itself.
Tip #10: Get through the first few workouts.
Keep in mind that the first few times you begin to exercise again, it’s probably not going to be easy. So, especially as you’re getting started, emphasize the ideas on this list. Set your attainable goals, schedule the first few workouts, get your buddy on board, find ways to make the exercise fun, and then commit to simply making it through these first few workouts. Implement a zero-tolerance “no excuses” policy for yourself while you’re getting started. Then, once you’ve established good workout habits and gotten used to the discipline required to keep them up, it’ll be much easier to commit to doing what you know is important for your overall health.
The Jelly Donut Theory
If you are new to exercising, take it slow and start with a few of the strength tips and build from there. Even waking up in the morning and combining these moves with stretching really gives some a nice tone to begin their day!
Your Abs: Improving Your Quality Of Life
February 28, 2011
The Body Symphonic: 6 Steps to Orchestrating the Perfect Fitness Regime
By Mark W. McEachren
The coolest part of a symphony is watching all the players just before they start. In that single millisecond, the rise of the conductor's baton draws us in, focuses our attention, and takes us from audience member to participant. We're transformed. Now, what if transforming your body, the difference between sitting in front of your TV wishing you had a lean-mean-body or actually developing the talent to create it, was as simple as lifting that baton? Let's look at 6 Steps to Orchestrating the Perfect Regimen so that your one-man act can become the iconic Body Symphonic.
Imagine that you're now the conductor of your fitness regime. Taking charge of your own body change is no simple task though; it's hard work. And what's usually missed in these beginning stages is that even before you begin the physical work . . . there's work to be done. Think of this like music study before playing an instrument. We would all like to skip a beat between thinking and doing, but if you want ripped and awesome, you definitely want to start with the foundation of exercise theory. The action of rock-solid intensity demands it.
So grab your baton and let's get on with the show!
Increased muscle temperature improves muscle elasticity, dramatically reduces your chance of injury, can assist in greater endurance and strength, and can help get your head into the game. According to kinesiology expert, Professor Duane Knudson, "You need to make tissues and tendons compliant before beginning exercise." In other words, get warm. This could be a light jog, jumping rope, jumping jacks, or sun salutations. If you want peak performance, an active warm up is the best way to hit the high notes.
Training for strength, endurance, or muscular growth all require different amounts of rest between sets. Lifting a very heavy load will sometimes require 3 – 5 minutes of recovery, to replace the phosphagen stores needed for the next set, while an endurance athlete may need as little as 30 seconds for a set that takes the same amount of time. However you are training, use your mini-intermissions as intended, and not as an excuse to check your email or switch the laundry over. If your program gives you a minute, stick to the minute. Life's a delicate balance and so is your exercise regime. If you want your show to be one for the ages it's essential to learn the artful balance of give and take.
This is also the beauty of a well designed workout program. By combining an active warm up to increase the temperature of the muscles, cardiovascular training to decrease body fat and increase heart volume, resistance training to increase strength and lean body mass, and elasticity work to help promote recovery and increase range of motion, all the elements work in harmony with each other. Like players in a symphony, they blend together in a whirling spin of intensity and control to create the triumphant Body Symphonic.