June 17, 2011

Exercise and weight loss

exerciseEven with those “miracle” diet pills, you still cannot lose weight without increasing your physical activity. Exercising in some form will help to burn calories that can be converted into fat and extra weight. This is why you need to devise an effective workout plan that will fit into your abilities and interests.

Most people don’t really like to exercise. For them, it seems too much like work. And it is work, but it doesn’t have to be tedious work. There are ways to exercise doing things that you love to do.
First, you need to choose an activity that you enjoy. Do you like riding your bike as the sun sets in the sky? Maybe swimming is more your idea of fun. Even a good round of golf can be a great form of exercise – but only if you leave the cart in the cart barn!

Once you find that activity, you need to pursue it at a minimum of three times a week for at least 30 minutes at a time. The more you exercise, the more calories you will burn, but you don’t have to be fanatical about it!

Start slowly then increase your level when you feel stronger until you are at a point where you think you are at a high level of intensity. It’s OK to rest at intervals to recharge your batteries, but get back up to that level again until your workout is complete.

The ideal exercise plan is going to involve some form of aerobic exercise sustained for 30 minutes at a time. This could be in the form of an aerobic class or something as simple as taking a walk. This will get your heart pumping effectively so that your body can burn the calories that you have consumed!
When should you do this type of workout? Believe it or not, there is a best time to perform your cardio workout for best results.

We want to tell you that the important part about exercise is that you get out and do it! No matter when you exercise, you will burn fat and calories as long as it’s a good workout. But to get the maximum benefit, try exercising in the morning before you eat your first meal.
Early morning aerobic exercising on an empty stomach has three benefits over working out later in the day.
First, your levels of stored carbohydrates and muscle are at a low when you first get up in the morning. This is because during the night, your body is burning any calories that were consumed at dinner the previous evening by performing bodily functions that occur even while we sleep.

As a result, you’ll wake up with lower carb levels and lower blood sugar levels which is the optimum environment for burning fat instead of carbs.

How does this work? It’s actually quite simple. Carbohydrates are your body’s primary and preferred energy source. When this source is in short supply, your body must tap into its secondary energy resource: body fat.

If you do your exercise workout after eating, the body will burn off the carbohydrates you’ve consumed first. It’ll take a little longer to get to that fat you need to burn.

A second benefit to doing exercise in the morning is called the “afterburn” effect. You’ll not only be burning fat during your workout, but that fat burn will continue on even after your workout is finished. How?

An intense session of cardio can keep your metabolism elevated for hours afterwards. Exercising at night won’t give you that extra metabolic lift because once you go to sleep, your metabolism drops dramatically once you become sedentary. When you sleep, your metabolic rate is slower than at any other time of the day.

The third reason for doing early morning exercise is more emotional than anything else. Your body’s endorphins are elevated when you exercise. It lifts your mood and gives you a sense of accomplishment that will likely stay with you all during the day.

That being said, exercise is something that many consider a tedious chore. We tend to procrastinate and put off doing something we consider to be less than enjoyable. If you commit yourself to morning workouts, you’ll have “gotten it out of the way” freeing your mind from having to do it later. This can create guilt and stress and affect your whole day – don’t let it! Plus, you are more likely to blow off exercising later in the day because you are tired or just don’t feel like it.
You might find it difficult to get up and exercise first thing in the morning. Not everyone is a “morning person”. So how do you motivate yourself to get up and get moving?

First, remember that you are trying to lose weight. You have a goal that you are trying to achieve. That should remain in the forefront of your mind. If you stay focused on your goal, the motivation should come.

Think back to a time when you tackled a difficult task and finished it. Remember how great you felt afterwards. Completing any challenge can give you a “buzz”. When that task is physically demanding, that “buzz” is both psychological and physiological. That’s because your body releases endorphins into your system.

Endorphins are opiate-like hormones that are hundreds of times more powerful than the strongest morphine. Except for endorphins are made by YOU, not a laboratory. Endorphins create a natural high that can make you positively euphoric! Endorphins can reduce stress, improve your mood, increase your circulation, and relieve pain.

This “high” you feel is partly psychological too. When you get up early and get your workout done, you’ll feel a sense of completion that will kick start your day and get it off on the right foot! You will have a sense of completion and accomplishment that will stay with you throughout your day. You’ll feel happy and less stressed when you know that this difficult task is already behind you and you can enjoy what the day has to offer you!

So, you know that exercise is essential to any weight loss program, but what kind of exercise should you do? What kind of exercise is best? We’ve already said that you should choose something you love to do so that exercising doesn’t seem so tedious, but maybe you’re wondering whether or not you should get into the gym and lift the big weights or simply take a walk to get your aerobic exercise in.

There really is no cut and dried answer to this question. Whether you want to bust out the old Tae-Bo tapes, plunk down a bunch of money on a treadmill, or just put on some music and do some leg lifts on your living room floor, the important thing is that you do exercise.

Let’s look at the calorie burning that occurs in certain types of exercises.
The numbers below reflect the number of calories you burn for 20 minutes of participation in different exercises. We should all aim to take 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 days a week. This can be a mixture of all types of physical activity, anything that makes you slightly out of breath and raises your heart rate slightly.

This table doesn’t only show values for organized exercises, but also for more enjoyable pass times, like walking, dancing and gardening – which many of us enjoy to do.

ACTIVITY CALORIES
Leisurely walk 80
Dancing 120
Cycling 160
Running 325
Aerobics 140
Weights 140
Cleaning 125
Driving 35
Swimming 100
Tennis 120
Rowing 378
Golf 118
Circuit Training 260
Skipping 100
Gardening 160

Skiing 130
Mowing The Lawn 125
Fishing 114
Basketball 258
Bowling 108
Riding a Horse 255
Walking Downstairs 210
Walking Upstairs 300-500
Roller Skating 315
Having Sex 350

Almost any activity can be a fat burning activity – as you can see from the above chart. Yes, even having sex can burn calories! However, keep in mind that the number given above is for 30 minutes of activity!

Generally, men tend to burn more calories during sex than women do, but if you’re going to incorporate some love making into your workout regimen (and we hope you do!), be an active participant – don’t just lay there and think you’re burning calories.

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