Does the word exercise cause you to cringe?

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If so, you are not alone! It is estimated that 75% of Americans get less than the recommended amount of exercise. Not only is exercise important for good health, it is also crucial when it comes to weight control. While you can lose weight without exercise, it is very difficult to keep the weight off without being physically active.
Here are some of the benefits of exercise:
    • Reduced risk of heart disease.
    • Improved blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
    • Improved heart functionReduced risk of osteoporosis.
    • Improved muscle mass (this is important for those people on a weight loss diet!)
    • Lowers blood pressure
    • Improves blood sugar control in diabetics.
    • Aides in stress managementEnhanced self-confidence and self-imageHelps to speed the metabolism.

How much exercise should you be doing?

The basic recommendations from American College of Sports Medicine and American Heart Association for healthy adults under age 65 are: Do moderately intense cardio 30 minutes a day, five days a week Or Do vigorously intense cardio 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week And Do 8 to 10 strength-training exercises, 8 to 12 repetitions of each exercise twice a week. Moderate-intensity physical activity means working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat, yet still being able to carry on a conversation. It should be noted that to lose weight or maintain weight loss, 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity may be necessary. The 30-minute recommendation is for the average healthy adult to maintain health and reduce the risk for chronic disease.

Tips for incorporating exercise into your life.

I’m sure most of you city girls have very busy lives with work, family, social obligations, dating, etc. I bet the above recommendations can sound almost impossible. If you are trying to lose weight, do you really have 60 – 90 minutes a day 5 times a week to spend exercising?

Just tell your boss that you’ll be needing 90 minutes each day to spend at the gym. I’m sure you will receive a lot of support (wrong!). So how can you increase your activity levels in a realistic manner?

1. Start by setting realistic goals, otherwise you’ll feel overwhelmed and will only set yourself up for failure. If your current activity level is very low, your goal should be to increase it slowly. Maybe start out by walking 3 times a week for 20 minutes. Or get off the bus one stop earlier. Do not go to the gym telling yourself you will need to be on the treadmill for 60-90 minutes. You know what will happen … you won’t even go! Start with 15 minutes.Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park your car in the far end of the shopping market parking lot. It all adds up – 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there.

2. Do it in short bouts. Research shows that moderate-intensity physical activity can be accumulated throughout the day in 10-minute bouts, which can be just as effective as exercising for 30 minutes straight. This can be useful when trying to fit physical activity into a busy schedule. So walk 10 minutes to work, walk an extra 15 blocks on the way to get your salad at lunch, take a 15 minute walk after dinner.Try to walk at a good pace.

3. Mix it up. Combinations of moderate- and vigorous-intensity physical activity can be used to meet the guidelines. For example, you can walk briskly for 30 minutes twice per week and jog at a higher intensity on two other days. This also helps to prevent boredom as well as injury. Take a spinning class one day and a brisk walk on your lunch hour the other day if you don’t have time to get to the gym.

4. The gym isn’t a necessity. It doesn’t take an expensive gym membership to get the daily recommended amount of physical activity. A pair of athletic shoes and a little motivation are all you need to live a more active, healthier life. Just get out and walk! However if you do go to a gym, take advantage of the different machines and classes. Try a spinning class, a kickbox class or a body conditioning class. Yoga and pilates classes are great for toning and stretching, however they don’t really count as aerobic exercise.

5. Put your exercise into your daily planner just like another appointment. Maybe it’s easier for you to walk during your lunch hour, or perhaps hitting the pavement right after dinner is best for you. The key is to set aside specific days and times for exercise, making it just as much a regular part of your schedule as everything else.

6. Get your family and friends involved. Take your spouse, your children, or a friend with you during exercise to add some fun to your routine. This is also a good way to encourage your kids to be physically active and get them committed early to a lifetime of health.Many of the above recommendations came from this link (ACSM)

Set some goals for this week:

1. How many times a week are you exercising on a daily basis?

2. If you are trying to lose weight, your ideal goal is at least 5 times a week for 60 minutes.

3. Think about several ways you can increase your activity and write these thoughts down.

4. Set specific goals, such as:-I will walk for 30 minutes on my lunch hour on Monday and Wednesday with my co-worker Mary-I will walk 30 minutes after dinner twice a week with my husband-I will take a kickboxing class at my gym every Wednesday- I will walk Jack (my dog) briskly every day for 15 extra minutes.

If you are in New York City and interested in joining an all women boot camp please visit NYC ADVENTURE BOOT CAMP, mention that you found us through our blog for and extra 15% off a membership. Come work out like a GIRL!!!

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