Exercise and Your Heart

Happy, Healthy Hearts.

Everyone knows that working out is good for your body. Do you really understand the correlation between exercise and heart health? There are many people who swear that doing exercise is the best way for them to feel healthy and to be better in every aspect of their life. When it comes right down to it, exercise and heart health is something that you want to keep an eye on because it is something that you can really focus on to get more healthy. There are simply more benefits to exercise than you can talk about in an article. The correlation between exercise and heart health is something that you simply cannot deny because it is something that is going to stay with you and with your health forever. When you look at exercise and heart health you are going to see that the more exercise you can do, the healthier your heart is going to become.

This might seem like a general idea, and yes, it is very general in that the more you work, the better your heart will work for you. There are specific reasons that this is the case. When it comes to the relationship between exercise and heart health the basic point is that by doing exercise you are giving yourself a work out where your heart and lungs are constantly moving faster than they are when you are resting. This means that as you work out, your heart and lungs are forced to work harder. The more that you do, the more your heart has to do for you.

By making exercise part of your routine, you are forcing your heart to work each day, and this is going to make it stronger. Basically, when it comes to exercise and heart health the point is that they are connected. The better your heart is doing, the more exercise you are going to be able to do without stopping. And the more exercise you can do, the healthier your heart is going to be. Like anything, when it comes to exercise and heart health you are going to have to work your way up. If you haven’t done much working out, your heart isn’t going to be able to take very much right away. Exercise and heart health are something that you have to work up to, so take your time and talk to your doctor in order to develop a great exercise routine that is going to clearly benefit you and your health.

Burning the Fat: Exercise and Your Body

There are many great things about starting an exercise program for your body. One of the greatest things about exercise is that you can use it to burn fat in ways that are easier on your body than dieting. It is very simple to burn fat using a good exercise program, because there are many ways that you can train your body to do the work that it is supposed to in order to really get the most out of the exercise that you are doing. While you are building up a sweat and working on your heart rate, all of your muscles are also getting great things out of the workout that you are doing. As you bring new blood and oxygen to all of your body systems, you are going to find that you are giving yourself the best chance to really get rid of all that unwanted fat as you go along. Working hard to burn fat is something that you can finally take control of when you are doing exercises on a regular basis.

When you body is in constant motion, all of the body systems are working hard to maintain body functions at a normal rate. Because your muscles need to be moving more, your heart is going to have to work harder because the only way to get your muscles to move faster is to supply them with more blood and therefore more oxygen. Because your heart has to work harder your lungs needs to work harder to provide your heart with the oxygen that it needs to keep pumping. All of these things are going to work in tandem with each other to make a situation in which you are really getting the most out of your entire work out. When all of these systems are working together, you are going to find that you are much stronger than you think you would be. As your entire body fights to work harder, you are going to find that actually you are burning fat because your body needs energy to keep moving and to stay moving at a certain rate. It will find this energy in the stored pockets of fat that you have in your body. All of these things are going to happen quickly, and you will find that you are going to be much better off as you start to work out more often.

Intense! How Tough should your Exercise Workout be?

Exercise are great for losing weight and staying healthy because it strengthen your breathing and heart as well as help you burn fat. However, many people don’t know or understand how to do a workout in order to best maximize the results. Intensity is a very important aspect of any workout, so if you want to get the most out of your exercise, make sure that you’re following these three golden rules:

    1. Find that intensity that is your sweet spot. If you work out too intensely, you may injure yourself or will not see results. If you don’t work out intensely enough, you will lose weight or grow stronger. Therefore, you have to work with a program that has just the right intensity for your. When trying new exercises, try to make sure that they include enough weights or speed to make the workout hard, but not impossible. Remember also that you will need to re-work the intensity of your workout as your tolerance and endurance increases, so take a look at your routine every week or two and make necessary changes.
  1. The second rule of your workout is to be safe. Over training is a huge problem because it puts you and those around you in danger. When you under train, you see no results, which may push you intensity. That’s good, but too much and you’ll be vomiting before the workout is over and possibly injuring yourself. If you are training properly, your muscles should be sore, but your joints should not. Never do an intense exercise in which you cannot control your form or breathing. Instead, take breaks and use lower weights or speed to get back on track. This method will help you get more out of your workout anyway. In any case, if you are injured during a workout, call for help immediately from those around you. It is a good idea to workout with a partner or to at least let someone know that you’re working out in case anything happens to you.

Lastly, build intensity instead of jumping into the deep end. When you are starting to exercise, you won’t be able to suddenly run the Comrades marathon! Building up slowly will help prevent injury, as talking about in the second step, but it can also help you to not get frustrated. If you slowly build up your exercise routine, you’ll be able to find success more readily.Popular Exercise Machines

When it comes to exercise, you might find that you get a better workout on a machine rather than actually running or jumping rope. Remember that like every part of a healthy workout routine, exercises have to be tailored to your body and what is best for your health. You have to work together with your doctor and or a personal trainer if you have one, to develop a system that works for you, and to make sure that whatever you are doing it is the best for your body and your mind as well. Machines have become very popular when it comes to working out because sometimes they are easier to use and easier to get used to. You don’t have to worry about running outside when it is cold out or finding a way to get your workout when you don’t’ have time if you have a machine in your home that you can use.

The point of exercise is that you are getting your heart rate up and you are getting into shape. You can do this on a machine as well as running or jumping rope.There are several different machines that you might want to try. The two easiest and most popular would be tread mills and bikes. On both of these, you can find that you can get a great work out. The point of an exercise work out is to get your heart rate going, so if you are riding a bike or walking or running on a treadmill, you are going to be having your exercise. The reason that these two machines are so popular is that they are handy. Riding an exercise bike can be something that you do in your living room no matter what time of day or temperature it is when you finally get around to working. Treadmills are the same too, you can get all of the exercise that you need while you are at home.

Having machines to use for your exercise is something that you should be able to do quite easily no matter where you decide to work out. As long as you are sure that you are still getting the same amount of exercise, you’ll be able to see the benefits of working on an exercise machine right away. It can be the best way that you have to get your work out completed and to get healthier!

When Workouts Go Wrong: Exercise and Injuries

Exercises are great to get your heart pumping and your body sweating. You can use exercises in order to lose weight, build endurance, and stay heart healthy. However, there is also a downside to exercising for some people. If you are not careful, you could get injured due to exercise. Therefore, it is important to follow these tips to making sure you are exercising in a fun and healthy way for your body. First and foremost, when you are doing exercises consider your dress code. Wearing good shoes is important. Exercising require lots of movement, so when you have worn shoes or laces that come untied often, there is a good chance you may trip, slip and fall. You should also consider the other articles of clothing you’re wearing.

If they are too constricting or too heavy, you may become more easily overheated. Your clothing should breathe well and not be too tight in order to prevent you from injury.Also consider your workout area, especially if you are working out at home. When you’re at home, you’ll need to make sure that you area is large enough for you to move and not bang into anything. It is also crucial that you service your workout equipment to make sure that it is in the best shape possible and will not cause injury. Your workout area at home should also be clean. When you workout, you sweat a lot and breathe heavily, so if you’re doing that in a dirty environment, you could pick up some nasty bacteria or viral infections. To be able to stay safe you must NOT push yourself too much. While it is important to push yourself to have the best and most intense workout possible.

When you push yourself too hard, however, you may find yourself pulling muscles, experiencing cramps, or otherwise injuring your body. Your doctor can tell you more about how to stay safe while exercising. Remembering to warm up and cool down is necessary, as is doing the right exercises for your body, age, and gender. When you work out, you should feel your best and not worried about injury. Staying safe is important. If you are hurt, you won’t be able to do exercises while you recover, and you will miss out on days or even weeks of training. If your health is important to you, so is safety, take the right measures to be safe whenever you hit the gym or when working out at home.

Exercise for the Brain

Being a diabetic you probably know… especially if you are following the Beating Diabetes diet… that regular exercise is good for you.

In fact, 30 minutes a day of exercise, such as brisk walking, swimming, cycling, dancing, gardening and similar activities, can actively help you control your diabetes.

The benefits of these kinds of moderate exercise include:

  • Lowering your blood glucose levels as you expend energy through exercise;
  • Improving insulin resistance so that it is easier for glucose to get into your muscle cells;
  • Reducing your weight, overweight being one of the triggers for the onset of diabetes;
  • Building and toning muscles so that more glucose from your digestive system is used;
  • Lowering your risks of heart disease and strokes which diabetes can increase dramatically;
  • Improving the circulation of your blood and delivering glucose and insulin more efficiently to where they are needed;
  • Reducing stress, a major aggravator of diabetes, and so enhancing the quality of your life.

But there is another benefit that is seldom mentioned… exercise can improve the functioning of your brain and improve your cognitive abilities.Indeed exercise is the most scientifically proven enhancer of your brain.

How exercise boosts the brain

Exercise increases the blood flow to the brain, delivering the extra oxygen and nutrients which the brain requires to function. This confers a variety of benefits on the functioning of your brain, viz:

  1. Improved executive functions
  2. Improved focus
  3. Increased cognitive flexibility
  4. Improved willpower
  5. Enhanced long-term memory
  6. Faster thinking
  7. Reduced brain atrophy
  8. Increased in new brain cells
  9. Reduced risk of stroke
  10. Lowered risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
  11. Improved academic performance

[1] Improved executive functionsExecutive functions are higher level brain skills. They include things such as control over impulses, attention span, task and goal management, working memory capacity and so on… all skills that are important for planning, organising, problem solving etc.

A study published in the US National Library of Medicine (National Institutes of Health) in February 2013 Benefits of regular aerobic exercise for executive functioning in healthy populations found ample evidence that doing aerobic exercises regularly enables healthy people to optimize a range of executive functions.

A meta-analysis (a scientific review of multiple studies) published in March 2003 in the same media as Fitness effects on the cognitive function of older adults examined the results of 18 different papers on how the brains of older people are affected by regular exercise. All participants in the studies were healthy but led sedentary lifestyles. Fitness training was found to have robust benefits for various aspects of cognition, with executive-control processes benefiting the most.

[2] Improved focus

Continuous interruptions from flashing mobile phones, bleeping news feeds and email messages and so on are making concentrating on a single task increasingly difficult these days. But exercise can develop our skill to ignore distractions and apply ourselves to the task in hand.

A study titled Cardiovascular fitness, cortical plasticity, and aging published in March 2004 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences demonstrated that physically fit older people have better control over their ability to focus their attention (as measured by a difficult cognitive task).

[3] Increased cognitive flexibility

Cognitive flexibility is the mental ability to switch between thinking about two different concepts, and to think about multiple concepts simultaneously. It is a measure of executive function.

Aerobic exercise enhances cognitive flexibility, a study published in June 2009 in the US National Library of Medicine (National Institutes of Health), demonstrated that regular aerobic exercise substantially enhances this enviable skill.

The subjects were 91 healthy adults who were divided into three groups. Over 10 weeks, one group undertook minimal aerobic exercises (<2 days a week), another group moderate exercises (3- 4 days a week), and the third group participated in high aerobic exercises (5-7 days a week).

After 10 weeks the participants were tested for memory, mental speed, reaction time, attention, and cognitive flexibility. Analysis of the results showed clearly that increasing the frequency of aerobic activity enhanced cognitive performance, in particular cognitive flexibility.

[4] Improved willpower

We use our willpower to stay on track for personal and professional goals, avoid temptation and adhere to healthy habits. Exercise can increase your willpower.

A meta-analysis published in 2013 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine looked at several groups of people… children, adolescents, and adults up to the age of 35. The researchers found that short bouts of exercise had a significant affect across all age groups in various areas of executive function, including willpower.

[5] Enhanced long-term memory

Research suggests that exercise is unlikely to improve short-term memory, ie the information in your head that is currently being processed, or the effect (if any) is short-lived.

Long-term memory refers to the storage of information over an extended period, anything from a few hours to several decades. A link between exercise and improved long-term memory has been established in various studies.

Aerobic Exercise and Neurocognitive Performance: a Meta-Analytic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials, published in the US National Library of Medicine (National Institutes of Health) in March 2010, concluded that aerobic exercise training is associated with modest improvements in attention and processing speed, executive function, and long-term memory.

Another study, published recently in Current Biology, found that 35 minutes of interval exercise on a bike strengthens long-term memory. Timing however is crucial.

The memory of those who exercise four hours after learning is enhanced significantly. But those who exercise immediately after learning experience no improvement.

In another study Effects of acute exercise on long-term memory, published in the US National Library of Medicine (National Institutes of Health) in December 2011, participants were divided into three groups. Each group had to recall as much information as possible from two paragraphs.

The first group received the information after exercise, the second before exercise, and the last completed no exercise. The exercise consisted of 30 minutes on a cycle ergometer.

The group that was exposed to exercise before being given the information performed significantly better at recall than the others.

Resistance exercise is any form of exercise that forces your skeletal muscles (not the involuntary muscles of your heart, lungs, etc.) to contract, eg weight-lifting.

Episodic memory is the memory of past personal experiences that occurred at a particular time and place.

A study published in Acta Psychologica in November 2014, entitled A single bout of resistance exercise can enhance episodic memory performance, showed how resistance exercise can affect memory.

The participants were shown photos with different emotional values (neutral, positive, or negative) after which some of them exercised using a leg extension machine. Forty-eight hours later, they were asked to recall the photos again.

The group which performed the resistance exercise were better at recalling, particularly the pictures that were emotionally charged.

[6] Faster thinking

Your brain’s grey matter is where information is processed, muscles are controlled and sensory perception such as seeing and hearing, memory, emotions, speech, decision making, and self-control take place.

White matter connects the various grey matter areas together and carries nerve impulses between neurons, the brain’s nerve cells.

White matter is responsible for the transmission of data in and around your brain. If you have more white matter in your brain, information is relayed around your brain more efficiently. However white matter integrity, ie the volume of white matter in your brain, declines with age.

Can exercise help with this? The simple answer is ‘yes’.

A study, White Matter Integrity in Physically Fit Older Adults, published in 2013 in the US National Library of Medicine (National Institutes of Health) found that older adults with a history of aerobic exercise were observed to have better white matter integrity than their sedentary peers.

The value of aerobic exercise for the integrity of white matter cuts across all age groups. A study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience in 2014 found that aerobic fitness is associated with greater white matter integrity in children.

Another study, Aerobic Exercise and Neurocognitive Performance: a Meta-Analytic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials, mentioned above under [5], found that exercise gave people a modest improvement in their cognitive speed, ie how quickly their brains could process information.

[7] Reduced brain atrophy

Starting around the age of 30, our brains start to lose volume, most notably in the hippocampus. This natural loss can affect our cognitive abilities, memory and even spur the onset of dementia.

According to Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory, a study published in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Science) in the USA in February 2011, moderate exercise in healthy older adults helps them gain 1-2% volume in the hippocampus area, the equivalent of reversing brain aging by about 1-2 years. This reversal improved spatial memory.

Research published in Nature Research in November 2013, Physical Exercise Habits Correlate with Gray Matter Volume of the Hippocampus in Healthy Adult Humans, found a link between exercise habits and brain volume among persons 18 to 45 years of age.

After adjusting for factors such as age, gender, and brain volume, the researchers found that, person by person, the number of minutes of exercise performed each week correlated with the volume of the right hippocampus.

This research suggests that regular exercise may be able to protect against the brain’s natural shrinkage as it ages.

[8] Increased new brain cells

Neurogenesis is the process of growing new brain cells. A chemical call BDNF (Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor) promotes this process in our brains.

A review of 32 experiments and observational studies published in the US National Library of Medicine (National Institutes of Health) in February 2014, The effects of physical activity and exercise on brain-derived neurotrophic factor in healthy humans: A review, concluded that acute and chronic exercise elevated BDNF levels in humans.

But note that the exercise has to be intense… a stroll along a country lane is unlikely to generate addition BDNF for your brain. Future research is now needed to show how intense the exercise has to be in order to increase BDNF.

[9] Reduced risk of stroke

Exercise helps reduce the risk of stroke, ie an interruption or reduction in the supply of blood to your brain. This deprives your brain of oxygen and nutrients, which can cause your brain cells to die.

A study presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference in 2008, showed that men and women with healthy cardiovascular systems could reduce the risk of stroke by 40%.

But you don’t have to be running marathons to reduce your risk… regular ordinary exercise will suffice. The study also reported that persons who exercised only moderately had a significant chance of lowering their risk of stroke.

[10] Lowered risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

A study that followed 2,000 men for 35 years found several healthy behaviours that reduced the men’s chances of developing dementia by a massive 60%. These behaviours included not smoking, not being overweight, having a high intake of fruit and vegetables, drinking alcohol in moderation or just a little, and exercising regularly.

Regular exercise has been identified as being the largest contributing factor in reducing dementia. Healthy Lifestyles Reduce the Incidence of Chronic Diseases and Dementia: Evidence from the Caerphilly Cohort Study, was published in PLUS ONE, a peer-reviewed journal in December 2013.

Another study, Potential for primary prevention of Alzheimer’s disease: an analysis of population-based data, published in The Lancet in August 2014, examined the factors that can contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease… diabetes, midlife hypertension, midlife obesity, physical inactivity, depression, smoking, and low educational attainment.

The study concluded that your chances of developing Alzheimer’s are increased by 82% if you are physically inactive. In other words, your best hope of avoiding senility is to exercise regularly.

Here’s another take away from that study. The study claims that by exercising vigorously for just one hour a week, you can cut your chance of developing Alzheimer’s in half. But if you can’t manage that, or are unable to undertake vigorous exercise, moderate exercise (such as walking) for 30 minutes on 5 days a week will give you the same reduced chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

[11] Improved academic performance

A review of 59 studies from 1947 to 2009 called The effects of physical activity and physical fitness on children’s achievement and cognitive outcomes: a meta-analysis concluded that physical fitness and physical activity had a strong positive effect on academic achievement. The study noted that the strongest effects came from aerobic exercise.

The study was published in the US National Library of Medicine (National Institutes of Health) in September 2011.

What exercise is best for the brain?

There is no best… but different types of exercising affect the brain in differing ways.

Generally speaking, all types of exercise will have some beneficial effect on your brain.

But no matter what type of exercises you perform, the key is to do them regularly.

Aerobic exercise… is probably the best form of exercise for your brain. It improves your brain’s executive function, cognitive flexibility and long-term memory. It also enhances white matter integrity enabling you to think faster. In other words, aerobic exercise enhances all those attributes that enable us to function as human beings.

A popular form of aerobic activity is walking. It is easy to do, you don’t need special equipment, and it can be done almost anywhere. But to get the aerobic benefit, you must walk briskly… fast enough to increase your breathing and pulse, but not so fast that you become uncomfortable.

Fitness training … that is, getting as fit as you can, using a variety of exercises, helps enhance your executive control functions. It also improves your ability to focus your attention. In addition, it enhances academic performance. It is especially effective with older people.

Interval exercises … are exercises in which you alternate periods of high-intensity exercise with low-intensity recovery periods. These exercises burn more calories over a short period of time than steady-state cardio, ie doing the same thing at a steady pace for the same length of time.

Interval exercises using an exercise bike have been shown to strengthen long-term memory, delivering a significant benefit for older people.

Your ability to recall past events can also be enhanced by resistance exercises, such as weight lifting.

Short bouts of intense exercise … have significant effects in various areas of executive function across all age groups. This kind of exercising also elevates BDNF levels which promotes the growth of new brain cells.

In addition, exercising vigorously for just one hour a week can cut your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease in half.

But you can also lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia in general by undertaking moderate exercise, as long as you undertake it regularly, ie on a daily basis for at least half-an-hour per day. Regular moderate exercise can also reduce your risk of a stroke significantly.

Building regular exercise into your daily routine delivers a variety of benefits to your brain, enabling you to think better and faster. Doing so is just common sense.

Exercise for Weight Control

It is widely assumed that exercise is a key part of controlling one’s weight. However, there are many people who find that exercise alone has very little impact on their weight while others seem able to exercise and lose weight easily. What is going on? Well, people all respond slightly differently to exercise due to age, sex and their genetic inheritance. However, despite any difficulty in losing weight that you may have inherited, there are different forms of exercise that will definitely be able to help you lose weight. The different forms of exercise all have different effects on weight loss. Below I look at:

  1. Easy/medium intensity cardiovascular exercise – aerobic.
  2. Hard, high intensity cardiovascular exercise – anaerobic.
  3. Weight training and other resistance exercise.

1 Aerobic exercise

What is aerobic exercise? Aerobic exercise is exercise which most people can sustain for hours if properly conditioned. Heart rates are typically 55-85% of the maximum heart rate. You breathe in oxygen through your lungs at a rate which generally allows you to talk. Your heart then pumps blood containing the oxygen to your muscle fibres. As your muscle fibres contract to produce movement, they use up oxygen. The harder and faster you go, the more oxygen that you need, and as a consequence you breathe faster. As you increase your effort your muscle fibres burn up more sugars and fats to produce the energy required to make them contract. The result? You burn calories faster.

What is fat burning? Fat burning is a form of aerobic exercise that became popular in the nineties. It is basically lower intensity aerobic exercise. Heart rates are at typically 55-65% of the maximum heart rate. Unfortunately it is not the best way to remove excess fat. You actually burn more fat as you increase the effort. Although the fat burning zone burns a greater proportion of fat compared to sugar than high effort zones, the high effort zones burn both more fat and more sugar. The amount of sugar burnt increases faster than the amount of fats as you up the effort, and so you could say you enter a sugar burning zone as you go harder. However, along with the sugar you will also be burning more fat. There are many studies that have looked at the weight loss effects of aerobic exercise. Most show a small positive benefit, but one that is far less effective than modifying dietary intake. These studies have been mostly done on sedentary or obese people and involve amounts of exercise typically of between 2-4 hours per week. The truth is that if you are not intending to do more than 2-4 hours of aerobic exercise per week, then you are unlikely to lose much weight as a result, unless you also significantly modify your diet. However, that is not to say you shouldn’t do it. Most studies also show that physical and psychological health both benefit significantly from this small amount of exercise when compared to doing nothing. Larger amounts of more intensive aerobic exercise are generally more effective at achieving weight loss. The effects of larger amounts of exercise on people vary. Some are responders and others non-responders. Non-responders are thought to be people who reduce their levels of everyday activity when undertaking an exercise program, in order to compensate. In other words if you are going to treat yourself with extra food or slump in front of the TV after introducing a new exercise routine then it may well not have any effect on your weight. I have many clients who are responders, who eat more healthily when exercising a lot and who treat themselves when they are having a break from their hard exercise routines. Needless to say these clients are prone to developing a small paunch when taking it easy, but find it easy to lose the weight once they start up their exercise routines once again.

2 High intensity – anaerobic exercise

Anaerobic threshold is defined as the point during a graded exercise test at which lactate in the blood begins to accumulate faster than it can be got rid of. A fit athlete can maintain an effort at the anaerobic threshold for about 1 hour as long as the blood lactate does not continue to rise. If the intensity of exercise continues to increase from this point, as it would in a graded exercise test, then acidification occurs. This is due to the accumulation of hydrogen ions formed when the lactic acid produced in muscle is converted to lactate. The acidification soon causes a severe muscle fatigue and the intensity of exercise can no longer be maintained.

What is anaerobic exercise?
Your muscle fibres, and most other cells in your body have two main routes of making energy. The first is aerobic respiration in which sugar or fat is burnt with oxygen in the mitochondria to produce the energy. Think of mitochondria as power stations. The second is anaerobic respiration, in which sugar is turned into lactic acid without a need for oxygen to produce energy. This happens in the sarcoplasm of the muscle cells. Anaerobic exercise occurs when you run low on oxygen. As you exercise harder your muscle fibres try to get more oxygen into the mitochondria to burn your fuel faster. As you pass through your anaerobic threshold (see panel to the left), your body is not providing enough oxygen for your mitochondria to produce all the energy you need. Your muscle then increasingly relies on the anaerobic respiration in the sarcoplasm. So at this point the mitochondrial power stations are working at close to full capacity and as a result you are breathing pretty hard. Anaerobic respiration is interesting in that it uses up sugar 15 times faster than the mitochondria. How could this affect weight loss? Well this form of respiration is now burning calories 15 times faster than the mitochondrial one. The fact is that as you push harder beyond the anaerobic threshold you make increasing use of anaerobic respiration and so burn calories at exponentially increasing rates. You reach a point at which your breathing is at a maximum. This is called the VO2max. A fit athlete may be able to maintain this rate of breathing for a maximum of 10 minutes. Your mitochondria are now working at full capacity and your anaerobic respiration in the sarcoplasm is working towards maximum. The anaerobic metabolism is building up lactic acid, which results in increasing acidosis in the muscles the longer and harder you go on. The fatigue becomes unbearable and you soon slow down.

Will I lose weight?
Clearly you can burn calories quickly with intense exercise. However, you can’t maintain high intensity for long and so the total amount of calories burnt may be less than during a long aerobic workout. However it is likely that your body will remain working long after the exercise finishes, as it will need to repair itself from the muscular trauma that normally accompanies high intensity efforts. Other bodily systems are stressed as well, and these all need energy to be fully repaired. Basically anaerobic exercise is a useful weight control tool, but because of its intense nature it should be used sensibly. It is easy to over exercise and end up injured, ill or disheartened. It is important to recover from intense sessions, ideally you become fit enough to use easier exercise sessions as a recovery between the harder sessions. This way the metabolism is kept high and calories continue to be burnt faster than before.

3 Resistance exercise
Resistance exercise leads to more muscle mass and an increased metabolic rate that burns more calories. This is because muscle tissue requires more calories at rest than fat containing adipose tissue.

Will I lose weight?
There are a number of studies that show resistance exercise to be effective at producing weight loss. These exercises also increase the tone of your body. If you select a good range of exercises including bodyweight exercises and exercises that challenge your balance and agility, you should find many benefits that go beyond mere weight loss and looking good. In particular a stronger more supple body is less injury prone. As a result, less time is spent injured, and exercise regimes can be kept up for longer without breaks. Breaks that can easily lead to unwanted weight gain from excess fat deposited around the body. Also it is worth remembering that the muscle strength and flexibility gained from resistance exercise can increase the efficiency of your movements and open up the possibility of new movements that can burn yet more calories.

Won’t I become too muscular?
If you are female and worried that resistance exercise or exercise with weights in particular will make you too muscular and male in appearance then think again. There are many different ways of doing weights and plenty which build strength, agility and balance without increasing muscle bulk. Most bodyweight exercises won’t bulk you up, nor will all the balance and agility exercises that you can do. Into the bargain you will find that weight training will build strength, which will help you avoid injury. It will also tone up your torso, arms and legs, reducing flabbiness, cellulite and bingo wings.

In summary
Exercise is highly beneficial to psychological health and physical health. The confidence and satisfaction gained from keeping an exercise programme going add to self esteem and very often have a positive impact on attempts to change diet. As explained above, the exercise itself is most likely to reduce your weight if you follow as many of the following points as possible:

  1. Keep the exercise programme going for at least 3 months or more.
  2. Build up your exercise programme to at least 5 hours per week.
  3. Try to incorporate all types of exercise, steady aerobic efforts, short and hard anaerobic efforts and resistance training.
  4. Don’t build up too quickly. If you are getting particularly sore or tired, ease off a bit with shorter sessions and/or less intense exercises.
  5. Keep it enjoyable. This exercise lark only really works when you enjoy it. So make it an exercise/sport that appeals. If not the chances of giving up and putting weight back on are high.

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