Don’t Wait for the New Year… Get Moving During the Holidays
By Bill Kelley, EP
Many gyms and personal trainers across the country promote exercise as the answer to curing our nation’s rising obesity rate. However, statistics show very little weight loss with exercise alone.
What research does show is that exercise is an essential component in helping to keep excess weight off. It does this in three ways: burns more calories and utilizing more of your fat stores for energy, helps to preserve muscle mass and as you become more physically fit your body utilizes fat more effectively.
How to Get Started – Let’s Present Some Facts
People get bombarded with exercise suggestions daily. Do 10,000 steps per day, do long daily walks, swim, etc. Let’s start with some facts and then decide which direction your body needs to take in order to get the best results from your efforts. Most Americans take only 2500 to 3000 steps per day. If you fall into this sedentary category by increasing your daily steps - gradually up to about 10,000 steps per day you will burn more calories and possibly add some muscle by just increasing your daily activity. This strategy works best for individuals who have significant orthopedic constraints that limit their exercise time.
Longer duration exercise that is continuous such as walking, biking or swimming will burn more calories and utilize more fatty acids (i.e. fat) for energy. The longer a person is engaged in low to moderate exercise the more the body will utilize fat for energy. The Surgeon General gives a good baseline physical activity target of 30 minutes of continuous activity 5 to 7 days per week. Low to moderate activity is defined as working between 50% to 65% of your target heart rate.
Many people and about all exercisers have heard about the three factors involved in exercise programs – frequency, duration and intensity. We have mentioned frequency and duration. Once a person has established a baseline of regular physical activity, intensity is the next step. By gradually increasing your exercise intensity you are working your cardiovascular system more effectively, increasing your work capacity so that you can burn more calories per minute and activating a greater amount of muscle mass.
So during the holidays, incorporate a new exercise routine. It just might be the best gift you can ever give yourself.