Let’s Get Physical
Summer is here! It is the time of the year where you can go out and enjoy the warm weather and…get your body moving. As a fitness specialist, I am constantly asked, “How do I tone? What is the best way to lose weight? What is the quickest way to drop some pounds? Just tell me what to do!!”Here is some light to shed on to your questions.
Have you actually wondered why exercise is important besides being told it is? I am sure someone has said you need to because that is how you lose weight. Well technically yes, that is one important component, but exercise goes so much further than helping you shed pounds. For example, it can improve your heart and lungs’ performance to avoid any cardiac issues.
Keep in mind a healthy heart and lungs increases longevity.
In addition, weight-bearing activities help extend bone strength and build muscles. As we age, bone mass decreases and muscle atrophy (loss of muscle) occurs. By increasing weight bearing activities, you can help decrease or delay bone mineral density loss (osteoporosis), as well as increasing or maintaining muscle fibers to keep your body structure strong. Also, having more muscle mass means you attain a higher metabolism. “Building lean muscle mass will jack up your daily resting expenditure (metabolic rate) and is the primary mechanism fueling your metabolism.” (Poliquin Group; Editorial Staff.p1.) Furthermore, it provides additional benefits such as positive mental cognitive, decrease anxiety, and increase insulin sensitivity.
Hit the Iron or Strut it out?
Many people go back and forth about which type of exercise is better–Cardio or Strength training. Both types have their pros and cons.
|· More muscle mass means higher fat oxidation (faster metabolism)
· Stronger bones, tendons, and ligaments
· Utilizing fat tissue as a fuel source
· Enhance mood
· Burns calories during and up to 24 hours after your workout
· Improve hormones levels
· Build a better physique
· Reduces blood pressure
· Reduces LDL
· Increases HDL
|· Free weights
· Body weight
· Water resistance
· Manual labor
· Heavy yard/farm
|· If not taught properly, injury is a higher risk
· Not following a plan to help you reach your goals
· Over training
· Flexibility loss
· Ensuring you are doing enough work
· Creating muscle imbalances
· Sprains and strains of muscle fibers, tendons, and ligaments
|· Aids in fat loss and maintaining weight
· Primary fuel is fat
· Enhances mood
· Burns calories
· Creates a leaner physique
· Helps aid in exercise tolerance
· Reduces blood pressure
· Reduces LDL
· Increases HDL
|· Running/walking/ jogging/sprinting
· Climbing Stairs
· Roller blading
· Sports- some more than others
· Heavy cleaning/yard work
· Home videos
|· Only burns calories while preforming the exercise and shortly after
· Can cause stress related injuries (fractures, sprains, strains, chronic inflammation)
· Does increase a higher cortisol (stress hormone) released
How do I know if you did enough work?
First off, pat yourself on the back because you did the first step; you got moving. Now how do you know that what you did was actually proactive? An easy self-assessment tool is R.P.E. (Rate of Perceived Exertion.) On a scale of one to ten, one being walking around your home doing light pixie cleaning and ten being max effort, near death and about to have a seat next to Jesus. How would you rate your workout?
If you are staying in a comfort zone odds are you are probably not doing enough to challenge yourself to make a difference. You need to get out of your comfort zone to see some changes. Remember Rome was not built in a day. Maybe hitting that uncomfortable zone one time at first and leading up to hitting it multiple times later on, this is called progress!
Now coming from a weight training perspective of workload…
Did you just blow through all your reps and sets without feeling a struggle and just following the numbers on the sheet you just printed out? That is an indication that you did not get enough work. No matter what the rep range is the last 2-3 reps should be a bit of a struggle, not a FAIL, but something you have to really fight for with CORRECT FORM! The biggest mistake I see is improper form; people compensate their form for a weight they can’t handle or go just flat through the motions and yelling at the TV in front of them.
As mentioned above, go by the RPE chart. To make some changes, you need to have a bit of a struggle. The body adapts quickly so getting out of your comfort zone and raising that heart rate by moving some weights can really ignite a difference. Increase weight, set, or workout duration each week is a way to progress yourself safely.
Final thoughts for the road
The number one rule is safely. Have someone around to spot you, don’t be afraid to ask for help, or have a certified trainer explain how to do an exercise, and get a medical clearance from your doctor–if needed. I can’t tell you what to do, nor should anyone else without seeing what you are capable of. From there, is it up to you to put in the hard work to get what you want out of it.
At the end of the day, the bottom line is do what you enjoy. There is no right or wrong answer here. No matter what everyone is going to tell you, what is “better” or “this way” is more beneficial than that. If you like doing something, don’t let anyone tell you different. Do what is going to keep you interested at the end of the day and keep you coming back for more.
|Morbidly Obese without limitation||Morbidly Obese/Overweight with medical conditions||Overweight/Obese with previous exercise experience|
|Walking||Swimming||Running, jogging, speed walking intervals|
|Swimming||Walking||6” < aerobic box steps ups|
|Biking||Modified body weight exercise depending on your condition||Resistance cardio (i.e. sleds, battle ropes, farmers walks, rowing, jumping)|
|Dancing||Arm odometers||Lap swimming|
|Elliptical||Modified resistance machines||Fast pace dancing|
|Resistance training with the correct exercise technique||Yardwork||Aerobic classes|
|Home workout aerobic video|
Auciello, Eric. “Rate of Perceived Exertion.” Phase 5 Fitness: Rate of Percieved Exertion Chart. Phase 5 Fitness, 2012. Web. 3 July 2015.
Myers, Johnthan. “Cardiology Patient Page Exercise and Cardiovascular Health.” Http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/107/1/e2.full. American Heath Association, 2003. Web. 18 June 2015.
“Poliquin – Healthy. Lean. Strong.” Seven Reasons Why You Should Lift Heavy Weights. Ed. Poliquin Editorial Group. Poliquin Group, 24 Oct. 2014. Web. 03 July 2015.