What are the benefits of regular physical exercise (minimally 20 min increments, three days a week)?
(The recommendations of most health organizations (such as the American College of Sports Medicine) have focused on endurance and have specified “sustained periods of vigorous physical activity involving large muscle groups and lasting at least 20 minutes on three or more days a week.”)
1. You can build and maintain healthy muscles, bones and joints, but there are other benefits too!
2. You can reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, certain cancers, and even depression and anxiety.
3. You will reduce or maintain your body weight.
Why add weight/strength training to your routine?
Endurance training (typical aerobic activities like walking and jogging) aren’t enough–weight training needs to be added into the mix (more on that in a moment).
Exercise has a positive effect on brain function and mood–probably as effective against mild/moderate depression as some medications. Regular exercise appears to reduce both depression and anxiety, improve mood and enhance the ability to perform daily tasks well the aging process.
Aerobic exercise is great for your heart, as well. But aerobics alone isn’t enough for weight loss, and it’s also not enough to produce optimal health and longevity.
Your body burns calories and fat in tiny structures in the cell called the mitochondria, which are like Power Central for the cell. And mitochondria are found mainly in the muscle cells. These little power centers are the best ally you have in your fight against fat. If you want to raise your metabolism, you need to increase the number of mitochondria. The best way to do this is by putting on some muscle through strength training.
WEIGHT TRAINING for weight loss!
Weight-bearing activity is probably the best choice you can make if you want to prevent osteoporosis. Weight training also gives shape and form to your body and can help you maintain autonomy well into your old age. Most people who are in nursing homes are not there because they are sick–they are there because they can no longer perform the daily tasks associated with life, from opening jars to getting out of a chair. By keeping your muscles strong and functional with weight training, you can significantly, the less likely you will be dependent on others. Hence, the phrase–USE IT OR LOSE IT! Strength or weight training is the best anti-aging strategy in the world!
If you don’t challenge your muscles they atrophy at a rate of around half pound a year. That is about five pounds in a decade that you will have muscle loss, and some people lose more than that. Your weight could stay the same,, but your body composition will change to being more fat, less muscle at the same weight. So, every pound of muscle that you lose is a loss of a valuable asset in the war to keep your metabolism strong because muscles help burn fat.
Weight training is essentially resistance training, which simply means you are using some kind of significant resistance to stress and challenge your muscles.
That resistance can come in the form of weights, machines, rubber bands or even your own body weight as in squats, push-ups, etc.). You can use dumbbells, small hand weights or cans of food! Pilates and yoga utilizes your own body as resistance.
So, don’t blow off weight training. Weight training gives you the tools to burn calories while you’re sedentary. You need to train your body to be efficient at calorie burning for the rest of your 24 hour day after you spent your one hour in the gym.
Think about it this way: A person with muscle sitting in front of the TV is burning more calories than a person with less muscle.
Remember that food is important when you are exercising! You need to be able to build muscle and replenish energy sources.
Replenish Your Body two ways!
1. The first thing your body needs is a nice fresh supply of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and a re used by your body for making muscles. Great choices include meat, chicken, eggs, fish or whey protein. You in can have some protein prior to your workout, but make sure you eat after a workout.
Research shows that people who exercise and eat a higher protein diet gain more muscle and lose more body fat. Not only does protein build the muscles and help keep body fat low, it also boosts metabolism, helping to make you a “better burner.”
“Research studies conducted by Dr. Donald Layman, professor of nutrition in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois, demonstrated that participants who ate a higher-protein, lower-carbohydrate diet, whether they exercised or not, lost more total weight and fat mass while maintaining their muscle mass than those who ate a higher-carbohydrate, lower-protein diet with or without exercise. However, the researchers were quick to point out that exercise helped to increase the loss of body fat and preserve lean muscle mass while improving overall body composition. Protein should be central to every meal, especially if you’re working out.”
Besides protein, you MUST Choose Slow-Burning, High-Fiber Carbohydrates
2.The second thing you need after a workout is some carbohydrates. Exercise draws upon your body’s stores of glycogen, which is the storage form of blood sugar. The best carbohydrates are high in fiber and low in glycemic impact–vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and high-fiber, low-gluten grains such as bran, millet and amaranth.)
IN CONCLUSION: Eat healthy low carb foods and protein!
So, don’t forget that your muscles need protein for repair and growth, and your body needs some carbohydrates to replenish its glycogen stores. After a hard workout, your body is hungry. Before exercising, remember to consider the time it takes to digest food, and if time is limited, go light. But post-workout is the ideal time to have a full meal.