Our bodies need exercise. We were designed for it. You can tell by how stiff and sore you get after sitting for a long time. Our muscles, bones and ligaments need to be stretched and strengthened on a daily basis. We have heard it can be as simple as a walk around the block or using stairs instead of elevators. That’s a great start but we need to push ourselves more than that to achieve optimal health. Whatever you choose to do the important thing to remember is to do it consistently so that you get results and find something that works for you so you stick with it.
I have always hated exercising. I had heard over and over, once I got consistent, I would learn to love it. Well, I am consistent 5 days a week now and I can’t say I love it BUT I can say my body loves it… and needs it! I finally found what works for me and my body is responding. The best thing I realized was I was never pushing myself hard enough because I thought I was going to reinjure my back or hurt something else. What happened when I did push myself was all my back pain and aches are gone. I concentrate on keeping my core strong by combining cardiovascular and resistance training.
The main reason people exercise is to burn calories and lose weight. But really there are so many more reasons for doing it. It makes your heart strong. It increases your lung capacity. It reduces your risk for heart attacks. It helps control diseases and conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It also relieves stress and helps you sleep better. It just makes you feel GOOD!
The combination of several different types of exercise is so important. Even runners who treck many miles a day will benefit from adding resistance training. Take a look at a list of different exercise modalities you can choose from to ensure overall health. Changing your routine from time to time will keep it from being boring PLUS there is evidence that shows that confusing the body by changing routine will get you through plateaus and keep muscle growth steady.
Aerobic exercise… also known as cardio, is the most used form of exercise that is done. Mainly because it includes walking, running, climbing or biking. It’s what we do to lose weight, burn fat and improve our health. The goal is to do it long enough and hard enough to get into your target heart rate zone. This is why taking a slow walk around the block may not be enough. Instead of walking try power walking, jogging or running. You can do jumping jacks or jump a rope. The first time I tried jumping a rope I couldn’t do more than 2 or 3 jumps. After alot of practice I can do 150 or so at one time. Talk about getting your heart rate up. Have a staff member at a gym help you figure your target heart rate (you can also Google it and figure it out) or use an easy tool we all have… our breath. Most peoples target heart rate will be when you are exercising hard enough to talk but in broken sentences. If you can carry a normal conversation, step up the pace. If you can barely speak or can’t speak at all, slow down the pace. If you haven’t exercised in awhile take it easy and build up to a faster pace.
Resistance training or weight lifting is any exercise that causes the muscles to contract against an external resistance for strength, toning and building muscle mass. The external resistance can be dumbbell weights, weight machines, resistance bands or any object of weight that causes your muscles to contract. Your own body weight is one of the best tools to use. A pushup is a great example of a resistant exercise. No equipment needed to do sit-ups, squats and lunges. They build muscle and keep your core strong which keeps you from injuring yourself with everyday activities. Most women avoid this type of exercise or avoid lifting too much weight because they think it will make them bulky. This is not true as it takes huge amounts of weight to achieve this. If you don’t push yourself and increase the weight as you go you will not see the results that can be achieved with heavier resistance. Natasha Turner ND writes in her book “The Hormone Diet” that resistant training can help women overcome adrenal fatigue and that a combination of resistance training and cardio balances our hormones. She also recommends Yoga for both men and woman.
HIT stands for High Intensity Training. This is not a new concept in exercise but it is the latest thing you hear about fitness right now. This is the exercise routine that got me moving and seeing the results I mentioned earlier. It is based on old “bootcamp” style training where all aspects of exercise are incorporated into a shorter time frame. The idea is to give it all you got, using all muscle groups and heart pumping cardio for a minimum of 20 minutes and a maximum of 45 minutes. Head into any gym and you will see trainers guiding people this way. You can choose 3 or 4 exercises (running, squats, lunges and jumping rope as an example) and repeat 3 or 4 times resting briefly between sets to achieve that cardio target heart rate. You are building muscle with the resistance plus getting the benefits of cardio by not stopping between exercises. Do this 3 or 4 times a week and it will be all you need. I started out doing this in a group training session. I was with 5 to 8 other people and the trainer moves us from one exercise to the other together. I got the benefits of a trainer ( expensive!) but at one quarter of the cost. Plus exercising in a group creates competition and you try harder. I also love the accountability that I have to show up for the group and now I also have several routines I can do right on my living room floor. I have found this style of exercise gets real results and I don’t have to walk on a treadmill (boring) or analyze which body parts I need to pick today to work on. It incorporates it all and fast.
There are so many ways to get fit. The main thing is to find what works for you, change it up now and then and do it consistently. This is not just to burn calories or lose weight…this is for the overall state of your health. The number one cause of death in America is heart disease. That is caused from poor diet and lack of exercise.
Lets get moving!!!!
Cindy can be reached by phone at 602-989-0599 or
Please visit my website www.cynergyhealthandwellness.com