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The Importance of Exercise.

Exercise should form an important part of everybody's life. A good goal to aim for is 30-60 minutes four times per week.

There are so many advantages you gain from exercising:

* It's fun (It is really!!).

* Increases your energy levels.

* Burns body fat.

* Reduces insulin output (the hormone that makes you store fat and crave carbohydrates).

* Increases lean muscle.

* Reduces stress.

* Reduces the risk of many serious diseases (cancer, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes).

* Increases sense of well being.

* Your resting heart rate will decrease and more blood will circulate to the heart muscle.

* Fat is burned from all body stores. Not only the fat we see in the mirror but the dangerous fat that accumulates around our internal organs such as heart and liver.

Why we don’t exercise:

* Laziness

* Lack of time (poor time management)

* Poor organization or motivation skills

* Ill health or poor physical condition

Different types of exercise…aerobic and anaerobic.

Aerobic exercise

Types of aerobic exercise include aerobic classes, running, swimming, speed walking, rowing, cycling, and rebounding. The benefits are:

* Fat burning.

* Increases your heart rate and causes increased oxygen consumption.

* Every cell in your body requires a constant supply of oxygen. When we exercise aerobically, we increase this supply.

If you haven’t had a regular routine of aerobic exercise, you will begin to feel physically better than you did before.

Walking is not really aerobic as the level of exertion is generally lower. To classify walking as aerobic exercise, you really do need to pick up the pace.

When exercising aerobically, we need to do a test to measure our heart rate:

This can be done by placing the index and middle finger of one hand on the side of the neck just below the angle of the jaw. Beginning with zero, count the number of heartbeats for 6 seconds. Then simply add a zero to this number, and you have your pulse. For example, if you counted 14 beats, your heart rate was 140. Is this a good number? It depends on your training zone.

A quick and easy way to determine your maximum training heart rate is simply to subtract your age from 185. For example, if you are 40 years old, your maximum heart rate is 145. To determine the bottom of your training zone, simply subtract 20 from this number. In the case of a 40 year old this would be 125. So the training range would be at a heart rate of between 125 and 145 beats per minute. For maximum health benefits, you must stay within this range and never exceed it.

Anaerobic exercise

Other names for anaerobic exercise are weight training, strength exercise, and resistance training.

Consider these reasons to do strength training:

* Great to do anaerobic exercise as it builds lean muscle.

* By increasing your lean muscle mass you will find it easier to maintain your ideal weight.

* Adults who do not strength train lose between 250- 350g of muscle every year. Although aerobic exercise improves our cardiovascular fitness, it does not prevent the loss of muscle. Weight training maintains our muscle mass and strength throughout our mid-life years.

* Because muscle is very active tissue, muscle loss is accompanied by a reduction in our resting metabolism. An average adult experiences a 2% to 5% reduction in metabolic rate every decade of life. Because regular strength exercise prevents muscle loss, it also prevents the accompanying decrease in resting metabolic rate.

Because most adults do not perform strength exercise, they need to first replace the muscle tissue that has been lost through inactivity. Fortunately, a standard strength training program can increase muscle mass by about 1.4 kg over an eight week training period. This is the typical training response for men and women who do 25 minutes of strength exercise, three days per week.

Research reveals that adding 1.4 kg of muscle increases our resting metabolism by 7%. At rest, a kilogram of muscle requires 77 calories per day for tissue maintenance, and during exercise fat burning increases dramatically. Adults who replace muscle through sensible strength exercise use more calories all day long, thereby reducing the likelihood of fat accumulation.

The effects of resistance exercise are similar for muscle tissue and bone tissue. The same training stimulus that increases muscle strength also increases bone density and mineral content. A 1993 study demonstrated significant increases in the bone density after four months of strength exercise.

Researchers have reported a 23% increase in glucose uptake after four months of strength training. Because poor glucose metabolism is associated with adult onset diabetes, improved glucose metabolism is an important benefit of regular strength exercise.

Years of research on strength training and back pain conducted at the University of Florida Medical School have shown that strong low-back muscles are less likely to be injured than weaker low-back muscles. A recent study found that patients with low-back problems had significantly less pain after 10 weeks of specific strength exercise for the lumbar spine muscles.

Strength training has been shown to reduce resting blood pressure significantly. A 1995 study revealed that combining strength and aerobic exercise is an even more effective means of improving blood pressure readings.

Numerous studies have revealed improved cholesterol profiles after several weeks of strength exercise.

Talk to your local gym or a personal trainer about designing a strength training program for you.