Tag Archives: Exercise

Break Up the Monotony!

Cardio … not feeling it? Then it’s time to break up the monotony!

Doing the same old cardio workout can not only leave you bored and unmotivated, but the combo of routine and less enjoyment during aerobic exercise could also lead to a lack of results and fewer calories burned.

Mix things up to avoid the cardio rut. By keeping things fresh, you can improve workout enjoyment while engaging a new set of muscles. You certainly don’t want to avoid cardio altogether.

As a reminder, there’s strong scientific evidence that regular aerobic physical activity comes with some pretty impressive benefits:

  • Supporting healthy weight loss. Combined with a nutritious and calorie controlled diet, aerobic exercise can help you lose weight and keep it off (1).
  • Improving cardiovascular health. About 40 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise three to four times a week can lower the risk for heart disease and stroke (2, 3).
  • Boosting your mood. Whether you’re in the mood for a workout or not, mounting evidence suggests that you will feel better after you’ve finished one (4).
  • Keeping you active as you age. Regular aerobic exercise paired with good nutrition and resistance training can keep your muscles strong and mobile as you age while supporting healthy cognitive function (5).
  • Supporting immune health. Not only does regular aerobic exercise make you feel better physically, but studies have also shown that it can help support healthy immune function for better long-term health (6).
  • Improving quality of sleep. Aerobic exercise has been shown to promote better quality sleep and the speed in which you fall into REM sleep (7).
  • Increasing your overall energy levels. Regular aerobic exercise helps keep your overall energy levels higher. It’s the release of endorphins during your workout that supports lasting energy throughout your day (8).

But despite the many benefits of cardio, it shouldn’t mean you have to suffer for hours doing an activity you don’t like. There are a number of cardio machine alternatives that can add some variety to your routine while still helping you burn about the same amount of calories as 30 minutes of running on the treadmill (around 300 calories for a 150-pound woman). These include…

60 minutes of…

  • Circuit training – a style of weight training that incorporates aerobic activity
  • Taking a dance, Zumba, or jazzercise class
  • Playing in a softball game
  • Boxing

45 minutes of…

  • Rowing
  • Hiking
  • Swimming laps
  • Playing in a soccer game
  • Playing tennis

40 minutes of…

  • High-intensity interval training
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Playing flag football

30 minutes of…

  • Jumping rope
  • Taking a kickboxing class
  • Taking a spin class or bicycling outdoors

If you haven’t been regularly exercising, are overweight or have medical conditions, don’t forget to check in with your medical care provider before starting any exercise routine.

These are just a few ideas to help you get off the cardio rut. The key is in finding ways to achieve your goals while making aerobic exercise a lot more fun.

References
  1. Curioni CC, Lourenço PM. Long-term weight loss after diet and exercise: a systematic review. International Journal of Obesity (2005) 29, 1168–1174. doi:10.1038/sj.ijo.0803015; published online 31 May 2005
  2. American Heart Association. (2013). American Heart Association recommendations for physical activity in adults. American Heart Association. http://www. heart. org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/PhysicalActivity/Start Walking/American-Heart-Association-Guidelines_UCM_307976_Article. jsp.
  3. Fletcher GF, Balady G, Blair SN, Blumenthal J, Caspersen C, Chaitman B, Epstein S, Sivarajan Froelicher ES, Froelicher VF, Pina IL, Pollock ML. Statement on exercise: benefits and recommendations for physical activity programs for all Americans. A statement for health professionals by the Committee on Exercise and Cardiac Rehabilitation of the Council on Clinical Cardiology, American Heart Association. Circulation. 1996 Aug 15;94(4):857-62. PMID: 8772712
  4. Byrne A, Byrne DG. The effect of exercise on depression, anxiety and other mood states: A review. Journal of Psychosomatic Research , Volume 37 , Issue 6 , 565 – 574
  5. Hyodo K, Dan I, Kyutoku Y, Suwabe K, Byun K, Ochi G, Kato M & Soya H. The association between aerobic fitness and cognitive function in older men mediated by frontal lateralization. Neuroimage. 2016 Jan 15; 125:291-300.
  6. Gleeson M. Immune function in sport and exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology Published 1 August 2007 Vol. 103 no. 2, 693-699 DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00008.2007
  7. Kredlow MA, Capozzoli MC, Hearon BA, Calkins AW, Otto MW. The effects of physical activity on sleep: a meta-analytic review. J Behav Med. 2015 Jun;38(3):427-49. doi: 10.1007/s10865-015-9617-6. Epub 2015 Jan 18.
  8. Puetz TW, Flowers SS, O’Connor PJ. A randomized controlled trial of the effect of aerobic exercise training on feelings of energy and fatigue in sedentary young adults with persistent fatigue. Psychother Psychosom. 2008;77(3):167-74. doi: 10.1159/000116610. Epub 2008 Feb 14.
*originally posted on IsagenixHealth.com
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Exercise for Weight Loss

Changing your dietary habits is the most important action you can take for losing weight and keeping it off. However, exercise shouldn’t be ignored as it can make weight-loss results more pronounced.

Typically, when individuals lose weight, up to a quarter of that lost weight comes from lost lean body mass that includes muscle mass (1). By adding exercise into a weight loss plan, these individuals can minimize the muscle loss and lose higher amounts of fat than those who lose the same amount of weight without exercise.

Exercise also might help with keeping off the weight once it’s lost. As much of an hour of exercise per day is associated with successful weight loss maintenance or avoiding weight regain (2).

Add High-Intensity Interval Training

One type of exercise that may have especially pronounced benefits is high-intensity interval training. Try adding sprint intervals into your next jog by including 60-second bursts at an all-out pace followed by three minutes of recovery at a comfortable pace.

By adding high-intensity intervals to your exercise routine, you can stimulate your metabolism for up to 24-hours, post-exercise. These brief, all-out bursts of activity rev up your calorie burn and keep it elevated long after your workout ends.

Lift Weights or Use Resistance Bands

Resistance training exercises can help build muscle and burn fat. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, so your overall calorie burn will be higher throughout the day and the drop in metabolism that comes with most weight loss will be prevented. You’ll also look leaner if you have more muscle and less fat.

Start with two or three sets of 10-12 repetitions of bicep curls, overhead presses, squats, and lunges using light weights until your body has adapted and you become comfortable. Then increase the weight and number of repetitions as you get stronger.

Don’t Forget the Cardio

While most cardiovascular exercise (walking, running, cycling, etc.) will not build muscle, it will help you to burn calories and lose fat mass. Cardio itself burns calories and those trying to lose weight and who include cardio into their plan lose more weight compared to those who don’t include exercise (3).

In addition, studies have demonstrated that those who perform cardio are more likely to lose visceral fat (4, 5). Visceral fat is the dangerous kind of “belly fat” that exists internally and can increase risk of chronic disease states (4,5).

Reduce Your Chance of Weight Regain

Most people who lose weight regain it all back and then some within three -to -five years, but regular exercise makes it more likely that you’ll maintain your ideal weight.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, those with a goal of preventing weight regain should complete 150-250 minutes per week of moderate physical activity – such as brisk walking, mowing the lawn, and swimming (6). The overall calorie burn should be between 1200-2000 calories per week, which is considered enough to prevent weight gain greater than 3 percent.

Incorporating exercise into your lifestyle will not only contribute to benefits in your overall health, but will aid in your weight loss journey as well. However, it’s always suggested that you check with your doctor before starting any type of exercise regimen.

References:
  1. Heymsfield SB, Gonzalez MCC, Shen W, Redman L, and Thomas D. Weight loss composition is one-fourth fat-free mass: a critical review and critique of this widely cited rule. Obes Rev. 2014 Apr; 15(4): 310-21. doi: 1111/obr.12143.
  2. Santos I, Vierira PN, Silva MN, Sardinha LB, and Teixeira PJ. Weight control behaviors of highly successful weight loss maintainers: the Portuguese Weight Control Registry. J Behav Med. 2017 Apr; 40(2): 366-71. doi: 1007/s10865-016-9786-y.
  3. Wu T, Gao X, Chen M, and Van Dam RM. Long-term effectiveness of diet-plus-exercise interventions vs. diet-only interventions for weight loss: a meta-analysis. Obes Rev. 2009 May; 10(3): 313-323. doi: 1111/j.1467-789X.2008.00547.x.
  4. Keating SE, Hackett, DA, Parker HM, O’Connor HT, Gerofi JA, Sainsbury A, Baker MK, Chuter VH, Caterson ID, George J, and Johnson NA. Effect of aerobic exercise training dose on liver fat and visceral adiposity. J Hepatol. 2015 Jul; 63(1): 174-82. doi: 1016/j.jhep.2015.02.022.
  5. Ohkawara K, Tanaka S, Miyachi M, Ishikawa-Takata K, and Tabata I. A dose-response relation between aerobic exercise and visceral fat reduction: systematic review of clinical trials. Int J Obes. 2007 Dec 1: 31(12): 1786.
  6. Donnelly JE, Blair SN, Jakicic JM, Manore MM, Rankin JW, and Smith BK. American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand. Appropriate physical activity intervention strategies for weight loss and prevention of weight regain for adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009 Feb; 41(2): 459-71. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181949333.
*originally posted on IsagenixHealth.com
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It is with a Heavy Heart …

It’s only heavy because it’s working so hard to pump blood to my unhealthy, overweight body!

Today, January 1, 2017 … I weigh in at 241.8 pounds (109.6 kg).

Today, January 1, 2017 … is the heaviest I will be in 2017 … and beyond!

Today, January 1, 2017 … I bundled up (it’s a balmy 2 degrees in Vancouver today) and walked to the Robert Lee YMCA and signed up for a membership.

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Today, January 1, 2017 … today is a new day, a new year, a new chance!

 

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Blogmas Day 20 & 21

BLOGMAS DAY 20

What did I do yesterday … aside from totally forgetting to type blogmas and forgetting the advent calendar!?

We had our admin Christmas social and I’ll use that as an excuse because there were mimosas and wine!

After work I had my cat-sitter over for a visit and a nice visit. We go over things that have changed from last time she sat and talk and drink wine! LOL

Advent Calendar Day 20: Cardamom French Toast

day-20-cardamom-french-toast-2

“Something about cardamom just puts us in a festive frame of mind. We love its rich, fragrant taste any way we can get it. One of our faves? The buttery, cardamom-scented Christmas breads popular in Sweden and Finland. And since cardamom toast is so great, it only stands to reason that cardamom French toast would be out of this world. With black tea, cardamom, cane sugar and cinnamon, this rich, sweet blend tastes just like the decadent breakfast of our dreams. Only this is one brunch item you’ll be wanting all day long.”

day-20-cardamom-french-toast

This one definitely smells like cinnamon. And tastes like it, too. But it’s not one that I’m over the moon with. It’s lacking the french toast side!

day-20-cardamom-french-toast-1

Now – this tea was sampled today, on Blogmas Day 21 …

BLOGMAS DAY 21

I didn’t sleep well last night in anticipation of my doctor’s appointment to review my blood work.

I headed out the door around 7:50 am and was able to get in early to see my doctor. While the results weren’t good, I was more put off by one of her comments.

She said (something along the line of) “maybe this will make you do something about your health”. WHAT!? Are you fucking kidding me!?

Let’s review …

My weight is down. Not much, but down is DOWN!

My cholesterol is on point!

My blood pressure (which used to be sky high and I used to be on meds for it) is also on point!

So my blood sugar is going up. Last November it was at 6.5 and this December it is at 7.2 and this is not good. When you receive 2 readings above 7, you’re diagnosed a diabetic. I’ve always had readings in the 6’s … making me pre-diabetic.

But also, diabetes is very apparent in my family. Both my grandmas have diabetes. I believe both grandpas also have it, too. And I know (and truly believe) that our genetics are NOT our destiny.

Last year when my reading was 6.5, my doctor recommended that I speak with a nutritionist – which I did. And the nutritionist looked at my food diary and recommended that I DON’T CHANGE MY DIET as it’s relatively great as compared to many people’s diet.

So my doctor agrees that I don’t need to change my diet. But suggests that I do more cardio.

And I walk … a LOT … most of the year. In Vancouver, it rains … a LOT … and that creates a deterrent to getting outside for a walk. So while most (dry weather) work days has me walking to work (2.25 km = 26 minutes) and potentially home from work (2.25 km = 26 minutes), she wants me to “aim to do 30 – 45 minutes of cardio 3 times a week at lunch”.

I’d say I’ve got a good head start doing 30 – 60 minutes of walking 5 days a week. Man – she frustrates me!

I’m bummed out. It’s not the diagnosis I hoped for. But I’m not giving up (ok I kind of did for a bit today, but that’s just me being all “woe is me”). I’ll “aim” to do 30 – 45 minutes of cardio 3 times per week … and I’m preparing for a better result on my follow-up test which I’ve scheduled for March 15, 2017.

As for Advent Calendar Day 21 … I couldn’t open the tin. Maybe tomorrow I’ll have 2 teas!

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