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.

caloric-expenditure

Back to School Fitness Tips for Kids and Parents

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Summer’s over. It’s sad to say. We had a great summer with our boys, Max and Will. Our summer trips were full of traveling around our great state of Michigan and a lot of physical activity such as swimming, biking, running, football, and throwing the frisbee just to name a few. With no school to worry about during the summer, it’s easy to keep our physical fitness levels high. Everyday this summer has been filled with exercise. I’m sure it’s easy for most families to stay active and physically fit during the summer. I see it on FaceBook all the time. However, school schedules are back in place and I know that for our family it’s a lot more difficult to get family fitness in. Vacation 2014 100

Teaching my kids about physical fitness, exercise, and proper nutrition comes naturally to me. Ever since the boys were toddlers, I’ve been teaching them the importance of eating healthy foods, such as vegetables and fruits, the health benefits of exercise, and how to incorporate physical fitness into their daily lives. My kids are 9 and 5 years old now and both know the difference between “good carbs” and “bad carbs”. What a lean protein is and why protein is important. They also know that in order to stay strong and physically fit, they should do some sort of physical activity or exercise every day.

With school starting back up, keeping up with daily physical activity will be a bit of a challenge for the boys. However, we, their parents, always find ways to keep them active in order to keep their physical fitness levels high. One of the best ways we find to keep our kids active during the school year is to get the kids involved in an organized team sport they enjoy. Key phrase here is “sport they enjoy”. If your child does not enjoy the sport you put him/her in, then it simply will not be fun for him or for you. When a child enjoys and has fun playing a specific sport, then he will certainly put more effort into getting better which will lead to more exercise and training. My son, Max, played on several organized flag football and basketball teams and never really enjoyed it. He was pretty good at both sports but never really liked either one. We’ve found that swimming is his sport. He loves it! Will, my 5 year old, loves any sport right now. So he wants to be on all the sports teams he can.

Participating on a sports team is great exercise and physical fitness for kids. However, this may not be for everyone. So, it is up to the parents to help figure out ways to keep their children active and physically fit during the school year. Remember to make exercise fun and educational for kids. Parents should incorporate the 11 components of physical fitness into kids’ exercise programs. These 11 components of physical fitness can be found by clicking here. The following physical activities and exercises are what I have my boys do outside of their team sports in order to keep their fitness levels high during the school year:

  • Set up an outdoor obstacle course that involves running around chairs, jumping over low brooms supported by chairs, bear crawling on hands and feet, and racing towards a finish line. Obstacle courses help to improve your child’s coordination, agility, cardiovascular endurance, and muscular strength and endurance. High intensity work-outs like this will help to burn a lot of calories and keep your child’s body fat low. Obstacle courses are not only fun, they are a total body work-out.
  • Have your kids complete 50 push-ups throughout the day. Ten when they wake up, ten after breakfast, ten on the playground, ten when they get home from school, and ten before bed. Push ups are a great way to improve kids’ muscular strength and muscular endurance.
  • Jumping rope is a great exercise for kids and it’s fun! Jumping rope will improve your child’s reaction time, speed, and cardiovascular endurance and will certainly help to keep your child at a healthy weight.
  • Go for a bike ride. This is my boys’ favorite exercise to do. Biking helps to improve your kids’ cardiovascular endurance, balance, and muscular strength and endurance. We love riding bikes with our kids!
  • After homework is done, we send our kids outside. We’ve found that our boys are always running around when they go outside. Instead of sitting inside and playing video games or looking at a computer, get your kids outside! Their imaginations will take over and they’ll be running around in no time.

Vacation 2014 102These physical activities for kids are just a few of my favorites. Remember to keep exercise fun and educational. Physical fitness should be fun for kids and adults. If exercise is not fun, kids will tend to not engage in it and their physical fitness levels will drop. Be sure to teach your kids the importance of  incorporating the 11 components of physical fitness into their daily exercise program. These components of physical fitness, along with healthy eating, are important for total body health and wellness. Just because summer is over, don’t neglect your child’s physical fitness. Make the time for exercise everyday, be creative with your child’s exercise program, and parents should exercise with your children. You and your kids can be healthy together!

Find Time to Increase Your Physical Fitness Level!

 

Physical fitness has been defined in many ways. I believe that physical fitness can be defined as one’s ability to carry out day-to-day activities without physical exhaustion and injuries and to maintain high levels of energy to accomplish daily tasks. I know that by the end of my 11 to 12 hour work day and after training 10 to 12 clients I am extremely tired and my energy levels have diminished. However, at the end of the day, I still feel capable to play with my sons, read books with my youngest, and help Stacie tuck the boys into bed. As my clientele base has steadily grown and my business demands more hours than I’m humanly capable, I’ve found myself losing time to work-out and less inclined to keep myself in shape. Sometimes I think some of my clients are in better shape than me. These clients have regularly set time aside in their busy schedules to train witbih-joggingh me or on their own. That’s what it comes down to, time.

We must set aside the time to exercise or incorporate physical activities into our daily routine in order to improve our physical fitness levels and be healthy. I’ve found that even a little bit of time devoted to a light work-out or high intensity work-out helps to keep me healthy and at a high level of physical fitness. Setting aside 15 minutes in the morning to walk outside or on a treadmill is certainly a good way to increase your physical fitness levels. I recommend this to a long-time client of mine at least every other week. He routinely asks, “Is that enough?’ My response is always, “YES! Fifteen minutes is better than doing nothing at all.” Studies have shown that small bouts of cardiovascular exercise, such as walking, can decrease blood pressure, reduce your risk of strokes and heart disease, and pro-long life (along with several other positive changes).

Our lives have become overwhelmed with work, school, family, social events, and sports for the kids. Finding the time to take care of my health is a major priority in my life. It should be for you as well. So, make time in your busy lives to exercise daily, even if it’s for just a little bit, 15 minutes, even 10 minutes. A little bit adds up to be a lot in the long run. That little bit of time spent getting your heart rate up will help to increase your energy levels, lift your mood, and, overtime, will increase your physical fitness level. Make your health a priority and get moving. Find the time!

5 Best Ab Exercises

Jeff Angel

There are so many ab exercises out there and it’s difficult to pinpoint which are the best. I tell my clients that all ab exercises are great and to remember that doing abdominal exercises will not reduce fat in the midsection. Abdominal exercises will help to increase strength in your core and also tighten up the midsection. However, body fat will not be burned off in the abdominal region by doing 1,000 crunches a day! Body fat reduction will occur when caloric intake is reduced and cardiovascular work is intensified. Ab exercises are not to be done every day. Your abs are just like any other muscle group, they need to rest and recover after a hard workout. The abdominal muscles need to repair and grow in order to become stronger after being broken down. Rest is the key. Abs should be trained 2 to 3 times per week. Nothing more! So if you are doing crunches, leg lifts, and planks every day, stop this routine now. Spend that time doing more high intensity cardio bouts and cutting back on food and/or alcohol intake.

Now, time for the list of the 5 best ab exercises that I believe are the best for strengthening and shaping the abdominal muscles. A written description of each exercise is not adequate enough to properly describe each exercise. Therefore, I’ve provided a YouTube video on our YouTube channel. You must see each exercise demonstrated properly in order for you to perfrom them properly. Some of these exercises may be advanced for some of you, so be sure to be cautious yet confident when doing them. Good Luck!

The List:

  1. Leg Lift with a ball exchange from hands to feet.
  2. The Pike
  3. BOSU Crunches (If you do not have a BOSU, purchase one. It is a must have in your home gym)
  4. Bicycle Crunch
  5. The Plank using a Fit-Ball

When performing these exercises, as with all exercises no matter what the muscle group, be sure to use slow and controlled motions and always go though a full range of motion. Always try to contract or “squeeze” the abdominal muscles tight when crunching up or doing a plank. Form is most important when performing any exercise, especially the abs. You don’t want to over strain the low back and have an injury sideline you from working out for a few weeks. If the exercise becomes too tiring and your form starts to break, you should stop that set and rest.

These are my favorite ab exercises to do. You’ll hear differently from other health professionals and fitness enthusiasts, as with any other subject. All ab exercises are good as long as you are actually doing them properly and consistently. Please remember the most important information here. Ab exercises will help to strengthen and shape your abdominal muscles. These exercises will not burn fat in the midsection. Increase your cardio intensity and step away from the dinner table in order to decrease your body fat. The combination of proper nutrition and daily exercise will help you to get the abs you want.

Short on Time? Cardio or Weights?

 

Every week I hear from a client, “I don’t have enough time to get in my cardio and weight training this week, which one should I skip, which one is most important?” My response, “Don’t skip either, both are important and need to be done with consistency.”

If you are on a mission to lose weight, the cardio is going to help you burn off that stored energy, otherwise known as body fat. The strength training can’t be skipped either, your muscles need to be stimulated weekly in order to promote proper growth and development so your muscles become stronger and shapelier.

When you are short on time, the best way to get in your cardio and strength training is through what I call High Intensity Circuit Training (HICT). This type of circuit training involves high intensity cardio bouts mixed in with weight training. What makes this type of training great for people with little time, which is most of us, is that you combine your cardiovascular conditioning with resistance training. This will give you a total body workout. You’re not only burning calories and body fat, but you are also strengthening your heart and improving your muscular strength and endurance. High Intensity Circuit Training can be accomplished many ways with no equipment, minimal equipment, or with a fully loaded gym.

My favorite way to train clients is by incorporating basic calesthetics with strength training. You must first get your heart rate up high, at the upper end of your target heart rate zone, in a short period of time, usually 45-60 seconds. Once the heart rate is up, continue on to a 3 to 4 exercise strength training circuit. For example, do 60 seconds of jumping jacks, then, with no rest, move on to 15 push-ups, then on to 20 jump squats, then on to 15 ball push-ups, then do 20 lunges. Repeat the circuit 2 more times. Now this is just a very basic example of HICT, but nevertheless you are accomplishing your cardio and strength training in a short, very intense period of time. I have several of my advanced clients doing up to 16 different exercises in one circuit and burning over 700 calories in 60 minutes (I typically have clients do three sets for each circuit).

When choosing high intensity cardio bouts, you can’t go wrong with calesthetics such as jumping jacks, scissor jumps with jabs, squat thrusts, or mountain climbers. All of these will get your heart rate up very high in a very short period of time. The cardio bouts don’t have to be calesthetics. You can also incorporate cardio equipment such as the treadmill, elliptical, and stationary bike. However, I find that a high intensity cardio bout on a piece of equipment takes a little more time to get the heart rate up. So you might want to increase the time to 2-3 minutes rather than 45-60 seconds. You must be going as fast and as hard as you can on the piece of equipment you choose at the time.

The weight training circuit following the cardio bout can be set up in a variety of ways. This is where you have to be creative and piece together a total body circuit, or just lower or upper body combinations or super sets. If you want to view some great examples of this, go to my YouTube Channel. There are currently 4 circuits posted that will guide you through a variety of High Intensity Circuit Training.

High Intensity Circuit Training may not be for everyone. This is an option for more intermediate to advanced trainees that are short on time. However, beginners can go slow and at a lower intensity to accomplish such training. Remember to always check with a doctor or fitness professional to be sure this type of training is right for you.

Your options are endless when it comes to High Intensity Circuit Training. The combinations of exercises for your entire body will continue to grow if you are thoughtful in setting up your circuits. So, don’t skip weights or cardio when you have a busy schedule. Take advantage of what little time you have to exercise and maximize every minute of your workout by doing High Intensity Circuit Training.