Benefits of Exercise

Benefits of Exercise

 

My blog this week is on the five great benefits of exercise. Although there are tons of benefits of exercise I decided to highlight five. I believe I can talk for most people when I say that everyone wants health and happiness. These five exercise benefits show that exercising can help with health and happiness. 

 

  • Stress - Exercising promotes well-being (Dubbert 2002). Published investigations indicate that people with higher fitness levels are capable of managing stress more effectively than those with lower fitness levels. An inverse relationship exists here, higher fitness level = associated with lower levels of stress. In an article by Dr. Len Kravitz called the “25 Most Significant Health Benefits of Physical Activity and Exercise” he states, “The research indicates that moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, performed 3 times a week (sessions lasting over 20 minutes) for up to 12 weeks, has the most influence on stress management.” 

 

  • Mood State - The CDC states in their Physical Activity and Health article, “Regular physical activity can help keep your thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp as you age. It can also reduce your risk of depression and may help you sleep better. Research has shown that doing aerobic or a mix of aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities 3 to 5 times a week for 30 to 60 minutes can give you these mental health benefits.”

 

  • Depression - Patients diagnosed with depression have credited exercise as being the most important element in comprehensive treatment programs for depression (Dunn et al. 2002). Cardiovascular and resistance exercise seem to be equally effective in producing anti-depressive effects (Brosse et al. 2002.). Most people “feel good” after working out, signifying that there is a clear antidepressant action due to exercise. 

 

The next two benefits are more obvious benefits of exercise that most people have heard of but I feel it is important to list them. The scary thing is that Americans are clearly not acting on the knowledge that they possess. Being Sedentary accounts for nearly 400,000 deaths per year, yet these deaths are often not highlighted. We all know that being overweight is bad for your health, yet according to phitamerica.com over 68% of the American population is overweight or obese. Shark attacks are highlighted, and movies are even made from these horrific attacks, but only about 4.2 fatal shark attacks happen per year worldwide according to oceana.org. There are more mega million lottery winners than that per year, but everyone is weary of sharks when they enter the ocean. We need to be weary of cardiovascular disease and the diseases associated with being overweight and obese everyday when we wake up because our chances of dying from being sedentary are almost 100,000 times greater than being bitten by a shark. So with all that has been said the number 4 benefit is: 

 

  • Cardiovascular Disease -  The leading cause of mortality for men and women in the United States is cardiovascular disease (ACSM 2006). Cardiovascular health benefits are obtained through exercise. Higher levels of cardiovascular fitness are associated with a 50% reduction in cardiovascular disease risk in men when doing 20-60 minutes of cardiovascular exercise 3-5 times per week (ACSM 2006). Also Hu and colleagues showed that physically inactive middle-aged women who engage in less than 1 hour of exercise per week doubled their risk of mortality from CVD. Haskell (2003) states, “ not smoking, being physically active, eating a heart-healthy diet, staying reasonably lean and avoiding stress and depression are the major components of an effective cardiovascular prevention program.” 

 

  • Body Composition and Obesity - Being overweight or obese increases the risk of hypertension, osteoarthritis, abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea, respiratory problems, and cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon). Resistance Training and circuit training research have shown meaningful changes in body composition (Marx et al. 2001). Weight loss is achieved most effectively when cardiovascular exercise is increased up to 200-300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity accumulated over 5-7 days per week (which is equivalent to expending more than or equal to 2,000 Calories per week exercising) (ACSM 2006).

 

These are only a few of the many benefits that exercise brings into your life. Get out there and get active to start reaping the benefits! 

 

 

References

 

American College of Sports Medicine. 2006. ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription (7th ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Brosse, A.L., et al. 2002. Exercise and the treatment of clinical depression in adults: Recent findings and future directions. Sports Medicine, 32 (12), 741–60.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2007a. U.S. physical activity statistics. http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/PASurveillance/StateSumResultV.aasp; retrieved June 20, 2007.

Dubbert, P.M. 2002. Physical activity and exercise: Recent advances and current challenges. Journal of Consulting Clinical Psychology, 70 (3), 526–36.

Dunn, A.L., et al. 2002. The DOSE study: A clinical trial to examine efficacy and dose response of exercise as treatment for depression. Controlled Clinical Trials, 23 (5), 584–603.

Haskell, W.L. 2003. Cardiovascular disease prevention and lifestyle interventions: Effectiveness and Efficacy. Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 18 (4), 245–55.

Marx, J.O., et al. 2001. Low-volume circuit versus high-volume periodized resistance training in women. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 33 (4), 635–43.

 

A Common Goal

        A common goal in exercise is toning and cutting up. This means losing fat and obtaining muscle definition. The first step to reaching this goal or any exercise goal is to create a habit of going to the gym and exercising. I know it takes an hour away from your day, but it is critical to prioritize exercise. Just think about how many times you have been on your facebook, twitter, and instagram today. Just make it a habit of going. Believe that you have to do it and don’t ponder skipping.

       Many people believe that exercise is merely just going for a run or hopping on that elliptical for 30 minutes while watching the calories burned increase. Many people believe that running or hopping on the elliptical for 30 to 60 minutes a day will accomplish their goals of toning and thinning up.You can read a book, or watch tv, barely breathe heavy, and make exercise very easy. This type of exercise rarely gets anyone on the path to reaching their goals. Exercise should be hard, and when it is, it is also extremely rewarding. Cardiovascular endurance is great but exercise is more complicated than that. Most of the time, cardiovascular exercise burns calories more than resistance training during any given exercise session, But if you want to tone up then both resistance exercise and cardiovascular endurance is needed.  

      I constantly hear from both males and females that they want to tone up, get in shape, or get ready for the beach. I then see many males lifting weights without doing any cardiovascular endurance and then I look to the cardio section of the gym and see many females doing cardio without any resistance training. A lot of the people in the gym have the same goal, but most guys are only resistance training and most girls are only doing cardio, and most people are not anywhere close to reaching their goals.

     I already explained earlier that Cardiovascular endurance burns more calories than resistance training during any given exercise session, however, resistance training increases your daily metabolic rate (Baechle, Earle, 113). This means that when you do resistance training you will burn more calories throughout the entire day. Your body is burning calories to maintain and heal your muscles. (I know many females are thinking “but I dont want to get bulky”) You won’t get bulky, you do not have the testosterone levels to get bulky. Now that we established that resistance training increases your resting metabolic rate, resistance training also increases energy expenditure during exercise (Baechle, Earle, 113). This is when we mix in cardiovascular endurance training, this maximizes the amount of calories you can burn. You will not only lose fat but you will develop muscle.

     This is the optimal way to tone up, a mixture of lifting weights and cardiovascular endurance. ( I know most guys are thinking, Cardio? I don’t want to lose my gains) If your main goal is cutting and toning up you might have to make that sacrifice. Don’t worry if you are still lifting during the week you won’t lose much of your gains, you will however lose fat and tone up by burning those extra calories during the cardio sessions.  Although everything you have read is incredibly important, one of the most important factors of exercise is commitment and dedication. Getting fit and tone will take longer than one week to accomplish. Exercise is hard work, which is why it’s rewarding when you reach your goal. Work hard in the gym and stay committed and you will reach your goal.


 

Source:

Baechle, Thomas R., and Roger W. Earle. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning.

        Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2008. Print.

Pros and Cons of Crossfit

CrossFit is a huge trend right now in the fitness industry. Although the name CrossFit is relatively new, the olympic lifting, plyometrics, and circuit training that make up CrossFit are old. Through a combination of these three things (plus more), CrossFit has created workouts that accomplish as much work as possible in short amounts of time. With my own personal experience of CrossFit, I recognize both the benefits and disadvantages.

First off, many people love CrossFit because of how challenging it can be. After completing a workout, individuals feel great and accomplished, especially if they thought they would never be able to accomplish what they just did. When you leave a workout, your muscles feel tired and you are also soaked in sweat. You feel like you just worked out hard, and most likely you did. Additionally, CrossFit has a great community where everyone cheers each other on, you rarely ever do a workout alone, and everyone pushes each other to be better. CrossFit will get people fit and healthy because of its combination of cardiovascular and strength at very high intensities. 

Yet, CrossFit can also have its disadvantages. First and foremost, one of the biggest problems in the CrossFit community is inexperienced coaches. Many CrossFit coaches only have a level 1 certification which is a weekend-long certification. Since I have my Bachelors of Science in Exercise Science, my Strength and Conditioning Specialist Certification from the NSCA, and have competed and been coached in Olympic lifting, I get scared that without the proper training, coaches may be unable to instruct their trainees in perfect form. Many people criticize CrossFit because of the injury rate, and the injury rate is likely very high due to this lack of training. With the proper training, coaches will be able to instruct their trainees in perfect form for the very technical lifts that are required, thereby reducing the injury rate. It should also be noted that when people get tired during workouts, the first thing that typically goes is proper form. Therefore, with inexperienced training, a coach may program very technical lifts for parts of the workout where trainees are very fatigued, also increasing the potential for injury. 

It is critical that proper form is stressed in CrossFit and that WODs (workouts of the day) are programmed correctly to lower the injury rate. CrossFit is an excellent workout, it just requires extreme attention to detail for its trainees to stay healthy and happy. 

 The NSCA has recently put out an article stating the protocols that coaches should abide by.

http://www.nsca.com/about-us/news-and-media/press-releases/nsca-crossfit-and-high-intensity-training-protocols/

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Should You Press that Shiny Red Button on the Treadmill?

       "Fat Burn," two words that stick out and grab the attention of many people. You see these two words everywhere; magazines, infomercials, and ads. Today’s culture is obsessed with the idea of burning fat and advertisements for losing fat consume the popular media. Yet, do we burn the most fat by the ways that are typically advertised? Should we press that “Fat Burn” button on the treadmill in the hopes of losing some fat, or is there a better method out there? 

         As a CSCS Certified Personal Trainer, I recognize a big problem in the exercise community surrounding the topic of burning fat. There are many ads and articles about this “Fat Burning Zone.” First to understand what this is, I will provide a quick background. The human body uses three substrates, energy sources, to provide the body with enough energy for all of its daily functions. These substrates are carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. When a person exercises at a low intensity their body uses fat as the main substrate. Fat is also the main substrate that is burned at rest. Although the body is using a higher percentage of fat for its energy when exercising at low intensity, it is not using a lot of overall energy. Therefore, the body is not burning as many calories overall. When you exercise at a high intensity, the main substrate being used is carbohydrates, and when a high intensity workout is being performed, the body will burn a lot more overall calories. This means that more fat calories will be burned in a high intensity workout compared to a low intensity workout. The main goal for weight loss is to create a caloric deficit. This means that more calories are being used and burned than the amount of calories being ingested. Therefore, if a person desires to lose weight, they should focus on the higher intensity workouts to maximize the total amount of calories they burn.  

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 When people step onto the cardio machines there is a button for a workout named, you guessed it, Fat Burn. It’s usually bold and in red. So many people click this workout wanting to lose fat. The Fat Burn workout is likely a low intensity workout which will utilize fat as the main energy source. Yet, the workout will burn less calories overall. The makers of these treadmills and machines are in a way telling the truth about burning fat, but they fail to acknowledge that more overall calories will be burned (and therefore, more fat calories) at a high intensity workout. Rather than hitting that “Fat Burn” button on the treadmill, try to utilize interval training and exercise at a moderate to vigorous intensity to burn that extra fat. 

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