Finding the time to work out can be beyond challenging. Once you do carve out time to hit the gym (or other workout location of choice) – how much time should you spend sweating it out?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, folks should be getting 150 minutes of physical activity each week, including both cardio and strength-training sessions. Cardiovascular exercise should be at a moderate intensity (no lollygagging), something like brisk walking or easy biking counts. If you really ramp up the intensity, the 150-minute recommendation shrinks to 75 minutes but you’d better be working it (examples include running, swimming laps or playing basketball). Two weekly sessions of resistance training (such as lifting weights or yoga) should work all major muscle groups.
Don’t have a large chunk of time to spare everyday? No need to throw in the towel – you can break it up into smaller increments. Even as little as 10 minutes at a time counts.
It really all comes down to intensity. If you’re a runner, hitting the pavement for 75 minutes a week comes out to 15 minutes per day, over 5 days. Walking 25 minutes each day for 6 days a week will also meet the requirements. As you continue to exercise, you’ll gain strength and endurance – making it easier to work harder. Visit the CDC Website for specific guidelines on increased activity.
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There hasn’t been a fitness craze this widespread in decades! Are intense competition-driven workouts what you need to get motivated to exercise? Here’s what you should to know about CrossFit.
The CrossFit brand was established a little more than 10 years ago but has really gained momentum and nationwide popularity over the past few years. While most CrossFit gyms are independently owned and operated, the type of exercise and overall environment is consistent across locations. CrossFit workouts typically include some combination of strength and endurance training, along with plyometrics, power-lifting and even gymnastics (the creator is a former gymnast).
Some locations may specialize in the specific needs of a local group of fitness buffs like boxing or rowing for example. CrossFit branches often follow a Workout of the Day, or WOD that is followed by all members.
Workouts are intense and beginners should be cautioned to take things slow to prevent injury.
CrossFit has stirred up some controversy in recent years. Rumors have swirled of violent trainers pressuring participants to compete against others or exercise beyond their capabilities. Some orthopedic experts and physical therapists complain that the intense nature of the training can subject members to some pretty serious injuries, especially if they have preexisting orthopedic issues.
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Looking for new form of exercise? Maybe you’re already a fan of this intense workout regimen. Learn more about this exhilarating fitness craze.
Inspired by military training, bootcamp workouts combine cardio and weight training. Classes may include the use of free weights, bands, balls and plyometric-type exercises – all designed to build lean muscle. Sessions also include lots of interval training where intensity is ramped up for short bursts to maximize calorie burn.
Class attendees will often find themselves switching between running, doing pull-ups, playing tug of war and jumping through a course of oversized tires all in one session. Bootcamp workouts are designed to push participants to work together in groups, while weaving some healthy competition in to the mix. If you’re a competitive person or former athlete, bootcamp is for you. Some programs are designed to be a little less intense and can be offered for specific groups like women only – there’s lots of variety so find the best fit for you.
Classes are typically an hour in length. Some gyms and fitness outlets offer outdoor sessions at local parks. Many also offer package deals where participants can sign up for a month of hour-long sessions that take place 5 days a week.
Like any exercise regimen, check with your doctor before getting started. Those with existing orthopedic issues may need to modify their activity for some of the more high-impact activities.
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Does an exercise session leave you famished or does the thought of food post workout make you ill? There’s a right and wrong way to eat after exercise; find out the balance to get the most out of your fitness routine.
Feel the Burn
Some people question whether or not it’s worth it to exercise since burning lots of calories can make you hungrier. It IS worth it and there are tricks you can adopt to beat this vicious cycle. Choosing the right foods after a workout can make a huge difference.
Research says hunger pangs may hit women harder than men; hormones are to thank for that. For this reason gals need to pay extra attention to how they eat before and after exercise.
On the flip side, other studies have found that exercise lowers levels of a hunger-spiking hormone called ghrelin. The only caveat here is that the exercise needs to be intense, not a leisurely a stroll on the treadmill.
Frequency of exercise also plays an important role. Hitting the gym (or however you like to sweat) regularly trains your body to burn calories more efficiently and of course lowers your risk of an onslaught of ailments including diabetes and heart disease. The bottom line is exercise: is good; here’s how to fuel it properly.
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- Do you use a heart-rate monitor?
Looking for a way to make the most of your workouts? Try a heart-rate monitor on for size.
What is a Heart-Rate Monitor?
As advertised, these gadgets measure your heart rate (a.k.a take your pulse) by sensing and displaying how many times your heart beats each minute. While heart rates will vary from person to person, a healthy adult typically averages anywhere from 60 to 100 beats per minute while at rest. As physical activity increases, so will the beats.
While there are some decent mobile apps out there for pedometers, it’s a very different scene for heart-rate monitors – apps just won’t cut it (at least not yet).
The most common heart-rate monitor styles are worn on the wrist, but some come with chest straps for continuous monitoring of heart activity. Chest strap models are slightly more cumbersome but are also more accurate (and more expensive). For the wrist-only models, you usually have to stop activity to get an accurate reading. There’s also a huge variety of options – units range in price from $30.00 to more than $500.00! I’m a big fan of anything made by Timex and Polar has a nice variety of budget-friendly models.
Extra features you may find include timers, GPS devices, footware accessories that measure distance traveled and the ability to store data and download it to your computer to track progress.
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