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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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.

Hate Cardio? Love Bikinis? Then HIIT Is It!

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Yes, I’m 40 and once again this summer, I intend to wear a bikini.

Some may disagree.  Some may think that after 39, you should retire any piece of clothing that shows your mid-section.  I, however, can’t help feeling that by hanging up the two-piece, I would be giving in to age and laziness and gravity.  I refuse to surrender to these opponents of fitness.  So I stubbornly cling to my bikini…one of the last vestiges of my youth.

Hence the dilemma each year when faced with the prospect of actually putting on said bikini and walking around in public.  If I worked harder during the winter, took advantage of those long, dark evenings to log hours on my treadmill, I know it would not be such a problem.  But summer always sneaks up and finds me ill-prepared.  Six weeks until Memorial Day, more than five extra pounds to lose and only 30 minutes to work out.  What’s a girl to do?

Shedding pounds quickly requires a commitment to eating right, training with weights and plenty of cardio.  Its that simple.

But I hate cardio.  There, I said it.  Give me anything else.  I will do hundreds of crunches, lunges up and down my street, lift ridiculously heavy weights.  I’ll do anything not to have to complete long, boring sessions of treadmill walking.  But, sadly, building muscle alone is not enough to get bikini ready.

Enter HIIT.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a cardio-haters best friend. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t easy.  In almost every way, it is harder than spending an hour walking.  But for me one of the most challenging parts of  long cardio sessions is boredom.  With HIIT, I am not bored because it is challenging and changing.  I work as hard as I can for a short amount of time and then get a break.  It increases metabolism so I burn more calories throughout the day.  Plus I don’t need to do an hour of cardio because 20-30 minutes of HIIT is enough.

You can turn almost any workout into a HIIT workout and get more bang for your cardio buck.  The goal is to work really hard for a short amount of time, get your heart rate up to the highest end of your target heart rate zone then move to an easier exercise that allows your heart rate to come down for a bit.  This cycle is repeated several times.  So it doesn’t matter if you are on a treadmill, outside on a walk or doing plyometrics, you can turn any work-out up a notch with HIIT.  And after a few weeks of this kind of training, you may find yourself looking forward to putting on whatever swimsuit you choose.

A word of warning:  HIIT is serious exercise and not for everyone.  As with all exercise, check with a doctor or a trainer to make sure you are ready for the intensity of a HIIT workout.

 

 

Do You Do Functional Fitness Training?

 

Functional fitness training combines exercises that train your muscles to perform everyday activites safely and efficiently. Most people exercise in order to improve their health and quality of life. This is exactly what funtional fitness training does. Training and developing your muscles in this way will help you to perform daily activities such as carrying groceries, shoveling snow, walking up and down stairs, or just running around the backyard with your kids.

According to the Mayo Clinic, functional fitness exercises train your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, at work, or in sports. As I teach my clients these multi-muscle group movements,  I emphasize the use of core stability and strengthening in each exercise. I encourage clients to perform these exercises on a BOSU, balance discs, or balancing on one leg.

Functional exercises should involve multijoint and multimuscle group exercises. For example, instead of doing just a standing bicep curl moving only the elbow joint, perform a squat on a BOSU with a bicep curl. Or, take a basic lunge. You can make this more challenging by adding a lunge and shoulder press together. Some examples of functional fitness training using multimuscle group exercises can be seen on our YouTube channel and in our Photo Gallery. Performing theses exercises properly and consistantly may help to improve your overall quality of life and reduce injuries as you age.

Older adults and seniors will certainly benefit from functional fitness exercises. These exercise will help to increase overall strength, coordination, and balance which may reduce the risk of falls. Funtional fitness training is a weight-bearing activity and can help to prevent and, in some individuals, reverse osteoporosis.

If you are new to exercise, are elderly, or pregnant, it is best to check with your doctor before performing multimuscle group funtional training. This type of training is a little more advanced and requires focus and concentration and will be sure to get your heart rate up. Always remember, if there are more muscle groups moving at one time then the heart must pump higher amounts of oxygenated blood throughout the body to keep those muscles moving. Therefore, you are not only strengthening your muscles, you are also making cardiovascular improvements as well!

Adding functional fitness training to your workouts will certainly improve your overall health and well-being and will make your daily life stresses a little easier to deal with.

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.