Sorry this is getting posted so late in the day. I’ve been baking cookies, picking apples and making applebutter – I love summer! I also love the Olympics, but sitting and watching them on television isn’t doing me any good. In some of my on-line research I read somewhere that we weigh more than we should because of bad habits – like sitting and watching television. The suggested corrective behavior was to exercise while watching TV. … hmmm, no. I’m not that dedicated to our pact yet! But I may exercise part of the time.
My Internet surfing also took me to the Mayo Clinic’s website where I found some more encouraging information on the benefits of exercise. I think the more I can authenticate these benefits, the sooner I will tell myself “why wouldn’t I exercise with the benefits being so great?” We exercise to reach our individual goals, but in the meantime it is doing so much more for us. How can we not exercise?
According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise increases good cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps blood flowing smoothly and decreases risk of heart disease. How we start and stop exercises also effects the blood. We know we’re suppose to do warm ups and cool downs to reduce injury. The clinic says cooling down helps regulate blood flow an stretching increases blood flow to muscles. It suggests if you’re walking to add 5 minutes of slow walking before and after your session to get in that warm up/cool down period. Or doing what ever exercise your planning, but at a slower, stretchier speed before and after you do the exercise itself.
According to the Mayo Clinic website, regular physical exercise helps prevent or manages a wide range of health problems, including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, some cancers, arthritis and falls. It also helps improve your mood. Besides stimulating those anti-depressant chemicals, exercise helps us because we feel better when we start to look better. It gives us a boost of confidence and self-esteem.
OK – so, I’m still working on completely submerging myself in the “it’s so good for me, why in the world wouldn’t I exercise” philosophy, but I’ll quit writing about it!
The Mayo Clinic site also has some good information on intensity and interval training. When my daughter and I were doing P90X, I told her I was old and out of shape, so I couldn’t do the routines at the same intensity as she. According to the Mayo Clinic research, I was right – mostly. It seems that it comes down to what you want your exercise to do for you. If you are exerting light intensity you will not be burning calories at the same rate as you will if you’re exercising vigorously. Logical. But to get your body into fat-burning mode, you don’t have to be pushing yourself to the wall. My treadmill shows me if I’m at a warm-up/cool-down speed or a fat-burning speed. The difference is right around a speed of 3.3. But I know as I get more in shape that I will need to increase the speed to enter a fat-burning zone. Even now I can do more than I did when I started without sweating and breathing nearly as hard.
According to the Mayo Clinic, those are clues as to the intensity of the exercise on your heart. Light intensity creates no noticeable change in breathing, and doesn’t produce sweat. You can talk or sing while doing the exercise. Moderate intensity creates quicker breathing, a light sweat after 10 minutes and while you can talk, you can’t sing. Vigorous exercise produces deep and rapid breathing, sweat after a few minutes and you can’t talk.
The clinic suggests that if you get short of breath or experience pain to the point you can’t continue the workout, then you are doing too much for your fitness level. Back down the intensity meter and slowly build up.
One way to do that is with interval training, the clinic says. Interval training is where you do bursts of vigorous exercises buffered on each side with moderate exercise. For example, if walking is the exercise of choice the session would start with stretches and 2-5 minutes of walking slow enough that you can talk – or sing, depending on your exercise partner(s) patience. That would be followed by a session of walking at a moderate pace – so some sweating and no singing. About halfway through the session add a couple of minutes of walking faster or jogging and then resume a moderate pace. End with slow walking and stretching. The clinic says this not only helps to burn more calories, but also improves aerobic capacity and keeps boredom at bay.
So what does all this exercise do? According to the clinic, 150 minutes a week of walking at a moderate pace or 75 minutes at a vigorous pace will maintain weight levels. If you want to loose weight you need to double down. And exercise works more to maintain a weight level rather than to decrease it. Diet, the clinic says, is the key to losing weight.
Diet has a stronger effect on weight loss than physical activity, it says. One pound equals 3,500 calories, it says. So to lose 1 pound a week a person would need to eliminate 500 calories each day – seven days times 500 calories not consumed equals 3,500 calories not consumed that week.
Not the best news for me. I can get into exercising much easier than I can get into dieting. I guess that will be my next Internet search!
I’ll keep you posted — Terri