How Much Exercise Is Enough?

The American Heart Association suggests at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (or a combination of moderate and vigorous physical activity). Thirty minutes a day, five times a week is an easy goal to remember, however you will also experience benefits even if you divide your time into two or three segments of 10 -15 minutes per day.

Physical activity is anything that makes you move your body and burn calories, such as climbing stairs or playing sports. Aerobic exercises benefit your heart, such as walking, jogging, swimming or biking. Strength and stretching exercises are best for overall stamina and flexibility.

The simplest, positive change you can make to effectively improve your heart health is to start walking. It’s enjoyable, free, easy, social and great exercise. A walking program is flexible and boasts high success rates because people can stick with it. It’s easy for walking to become a regular and satisfying part of life.

The following chart represents an estimate of caloric expenditure during specific physical activity. Listed are 4 different weight categories. Caloric expenditure is influenced by intensity, mode of exercise, one’s level of conditioning, metabolism, and body weight. Try to do at least three of these activities during your training week. This might help to keep you from getting bored with your weekly schedule and will help to make you a more well-rounded fitness enthuseist. You might even find a new mode of exercise to enjoy. My top two exercises are jump rope and fast-paced calisthenics. My new favorite that’s been around for years… the rowing machine.

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I Challenge You To This Quick Work-Out!

 

I meet several people in any given week that want exercise advise. The number one question I get is, “What’s the best exercise?” My response is always, “There is no best exercise, any exercise is great if you do it consistently.” If you have read my other blogs, then you know that I believe consistency with exercise and eating a healthy diet throughout your life is most important. So, be consistent with this following work-out and you’ll be sure to shed pounds (if you need to), increase strength, and improve your cardiovascular conditioning (including the other 9  components of physical fitness)…

Be sure to do a 10 minute warm-up before performing this work-out (i.e. walking, climbing stairs, elliptical machine). As always, consult with your physician before doing any exercise program and always monitor your heart rate to keep it within your target heart rate zone.

This is a HIGH-INTENSITY short work-out that should only take 15 minutes for beginners and less than 8 minutes for more advanced. The only equipment you need is your body weight!

READY!? Begin,

1. 10 Jumping Jacks

2. 5 Push-Ups (do all with trying to get your nose to the floor)

Be sure to get a full-range of motion on all push-ups!

Be sure to get a full-range of motion on all push-ups!

3. 20 Mountain Climbers

4. 5 Burpees/Squat Thrusts

5. 10 Body Weight Squats (do all with your hands behind your head)

6. 20 Jumping Jacks

7. 10 Push-Ups

8. 40 Mountain Climbers

9. 10 Burpees/Squat Thrusts

10. 20 Body Weight Squats

11. 30 Jumping Jacks

12. 15 Push-Ups

13. 60 Mountain Climbers

14. 15 Burpees/Squat Thrusts

15. 30 Body Weight Squats

THAT’S IT! If you completed this in 10 minutes or less and kept your heart rate in your target heart rate zone, then you are in excellent shape (my first time doing this quick circuit was 6 minutes 47 seconds)! If you found this challenging and went over the 15 minutes, that’s o.k.! Keep working at it. Do this work-out every other day for 4 weeks and you’ll certainly see improvements in your fitness level.

 

Tips for Quick Weight Loss

 

The following tips are just a few ways to shed pounds within a few weeks. However, following these tips alone is not enough to maintain a healthy lifestyle. In addition to these tips,  you must exercise regularly. Consistent healthy eating, decreased daily calorie intake, and daily exercise will certainly help you to lose body fat, decrease your overall body weight, and firm up your muscles. When exercising, be sure to incorporate all components of physical fitness into your workout. Not only will these components of physical fitness help you to lose weight, they will help you to get through your daily activities without being exhausted at the end of the day.

Weight loss

  1. Portion Control – Try eating 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day. This may help to keep your metabolism higher. Three large meals in a day can be higher in calories and can be more difficult for your body to burn these calories up.
  2. Do not starve yourself – Your body can actually hold on to fat and go into “starvation mode”.
  3. Eat food slowly – This can have the effect of making you feel satisfied sooner, helping to consume less food and fewer calories.
  4. Reduce your intake of refined sugar and refined flour products – Substitute these with whole grain and multi-grain products.
  5. Limit use of sauces, dressings, and creams – Always ask for it “on the side”.
  6. Do not go grocery shopping when hungry – People tend to buy junkie snacks and unhealthy foods when they are wanting to eat.
  7. Avoid eating fried foods – Instead of frying foods when cooking, try to bake, broil, or grill.
  8. Try to cook without adding butter, margarine, or oils – These can add a lot of unwanted calories.
  9. Always start the day with a healthy breakfast that includes complex carbohydrates and lean protein Breakfast will boost your metabolism and keep your energy high and hunger low throughout the day.
  10. If trying to loose weight/body fat, try reducing your caloric intake by 500 kcal per day – 3,500 kcal equals one pound of fat. So if you cut out 500 kcal every day for 7 days, you can loose one pound in one week.
  11. Keeping a food diary can help to reduce your weight – Keeping track of calorie consumption has been proven to be effective in weight reduction and loss of body fat.
  12. Have a support group – Talk to close friends and family about your plans for losing weight. They will be there for you!
  13. Water is best – Avoid soft drinks and juice. These are high in calories and sugar. Your body is approximately 80% water. Drink up.
  14. Alcohol contains a lot of empty calories and interferes with proper physiological functions of the body. Drink alcohol in moderation or preferably cut it out until you reach your goal.
  15. A positive lifestyle change rather than a crash diet is most successful in losing weight. Exercise, healthy eating, and motivation will help you reach your goals.

What is the Best Exercise?

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I have many people ask me this question every week. What I tell them is that there is no “best” exercise. All exercise is good. You just have to find the “best” exercises that suit your needs, physical fitness level, and lifestyle. For me, the best exercise is jumping rope.

I’ve been jumping rope for 20 years now. I had gotten out of the Marine Corps and got a membership at my local Bally’s Total Fitness. My first day working out there I saw a gentleman in the aerobics studio jumping rope all by himself. I watched him in awe. The way he moved.  Swift, steady, precise, and rhythmic. I had visions of watching the movies Rocky, Rocky II, and Rocky III from when I was a kid. Trying not to disturb this obviously “in-shape” man, I entered the aerobics studio, picked up a jump rope, and attempted to jump rope on the opposite side of the studio. I thought, “I’m a Marine, if he can do this so can I”. Ha! My attempts to find rhythm, steadiness, and precision were replaced with clumsiness, stumbling, and continued misses on the jump. I felt a little embarrassed, especially since we were the only two in the studio.

The expert rope jumper obviously watched me struggle and stopped to offer advice. He gave me these 3 following tips:

  • Start slow and low – “Low” meaning you should not jump high when jumping over the rope. You should jump just high enough to get the rope under your feet. “Slow” meaning when you are first starting out with this endeavor go slow to get the rhythm, coordination, and reaction time when the rope is coming around.
  • Keep your body tight – “Tight” meaning keep your arms and shoulders tight and let the rope turn from the wrists. Don’t waste energy moving your arms in big circles. The more movement you have, then the quicker you will burn yourself out.
  • Start with the most basic foot work that you learned as a kid – Meaning just try skipping over the rope. Don’t try the fancy “Rocky” moves right away. You must get a feel for the rope and learn timing and coordination. Once those 2 things are accomplished, then move on to more advanced foot work and speed.

Those 3 tips were just the beginning for me as they are for everyone else that has learned that jumping rope is much more than just skipping and jumping for 30 to 60 seconds at a time. Over 20 years of training with the rope, I have developed skills that are very advanced. Not only has my reaction time, coordination, agility, and speed increased, but I’ve found that my muscular endurance and cardiovascular endurance has drastically improved also. I can easily jump rope at a high intensity level for 30 minutes now. Jumping rope can get boring just like any other cardiovascular exercise, but once you know a good routine of tricks, foot work, and movement, you’ll find that it is not boring at all. Quite the opposite!

You will certainly see the following improvements when you add jumping rope into your daily exercise program along with practicing healthy eating habits:

  1. Improves overall body composition by decreasing body fat, increasing muscle mass, and increasing weight loss (health-related component of physical fitness)
  2. Increased cardiovascular endurance (health-related component of physical fitness)
  3. Increased muscular endurance (health-related component of physical fitness)
  4. Decreased blood pressure
  5. Increased agility (skill-related component of physical fitness)
  6. Increased coordination (skill-related component of physical fitness)
  7. Increased reaction time (skill-related component of physical fitness)
  8. Increased mental focus
  9. Increased speed (skill-related component of physical fitness)

So, my best exercise is jumping rope. It improves 7 of the 11 components of physical fitness. It is a total body workout. It is challenging. Most importantly, jumping rope is fun! Thank you to that expert rope jumper I met at Bally’s. If it wasn’t for him, I may have given up and never found my “best” exercise.

Change Your Workout with Interval Training

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Is your training becoming boring doing the same old routine day after day? Not seeing any changes in your body or your fitness level? Then you are ready to make some changes in your work-out routine. Interval training is one of the best ways to add high intensity into the same old training routine. If it’s good enough for elite athletes worldwide, then it should be good enough for the average person just trying to stay healthy.

What is interval training?
Interval training is simply alternating bursts of moderate to high intense activity with intervals of lighter activity.

For example, walking can be changed into interval training. If you’re in good shape, you can incorporate short bursts of jogging into your regular brisk walks. If you’re less fit, you might alternate leisurely walking with periods of faster walking. If you’re walking outdoors, you could walk faster between mailboxes, trees or other landmarks.

What can interval training do for me?
If you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced exerciser, interval training will help you change your regular exercise program and make you more fit. Here are some benefits of interval training:
  • More calories will be burned. The more vigorously you exercise, the more calories you’ll burn — even if you increase intensity for just a few minutes at a time.
  • Your aerobic capacity will improve. As your cardiovascular fitness improves, you’ll be able to exercise longer and with more intensity.
  • You won’t be bored. Turning up your intensity in short intervals can add variety to your exercise routine.
  • No special equipment is needed. You can simply modify your current routine.

Benefits of Aerobic Exercise

 

Aerobic conditioning, also called cardiorespiratory or cardiovascular fitness, is a good measure of the heart’s ability to pump oxygenated blood throughout the muscles. Oxygenated blood carries the nutrients the body needs to function effectively. A healthy heart can pump great volumes of oxygenated blood with each beat and will have a high level of cardiovascular fitness.

Heart disease is directly associated with the cardiorespiratory and cardiovascular systems. One of the primary signs of heart and lung diseases include becoming winded with mild exertion. Individuals with heart or lung disease often become fatigued when performing day to day tasks that most of us take for granted. Aerobic exercise can help increase the body’s utilization of oxygenated blood pumping throughout the body, thus making our bodies stronger and more efficient performing everyday activities.

Aerobic exercise can be as simple as walking or taking the stairs up to your office, or can be as strenuous as running a marathon or participating in a triathlon. The key point is to be healthy enough to do the activities you want to do.

Cardiovascular exercise should be done at least 3 days per week for minimal positive aerobic enhancement and reduction of body fat stores. For maximum results, intermediate and advanced trainees should be doing 5-6 days of cardiovascular conditioning per week, for a minimum of 30 minutes and not more than 60 minutes. Exercise modes include any activity (walking, jogging, inline skating, swimming, biking, etc.) that will get your heart rate up into your target heart rate zone.

Benefits Of Aerobic Conditioning:

  1. Improves blood pressure
  2. Decreases risk of developing colon cancer
  3. Reduced insulin needs
  4. Decreases risk of cardiovascular disease
  5. Lower mortality rates at all ages from all diseases
  6. Decreases serum triglycerides
  7. Helps to reduce body fat
  8. Increases HDLs (the good cholesterol)
  9. Improved glucose tolerance
  10. Decreases LDLs (the bad cholesterol)
  11. Enhances performance of work and recreational activities
  12. Relieves symptoms of depression and anxiety