Activity simply refers to movement, like cleaning the house, walking the dog or throwing the Frisbee. Exercise is purposeful and planned activity designed to obtain health benefits. Exercise includes power-walking, running, aerobics and weight training.
Though you may run while playing Frisbee, or lift heavy objects while working in the yard, the difference between the two activities is the level of intensity. A short burst of running to catch a Frisbee is light effort compared to running at the same pace for three miles straight.
Unfortunately, many people spend a lot of time walking, and very little time exercising. If you want to make sure your walks are exercise, here are 5 Tips to make your workouts more powerful from my latest article, “Do Your Power Walks Lack Power“ at Answers.com
CLICK HERE for the whole article
One of the most popular excuses people come up with on why they don’t exercise is because they don’t have time, but what if I told you you could exercise during normal daily activities? Well, you can!
Here are 10 ways to incorporate exercise in your normal daily routine.
1. Bend: Stretch your hamstrings when you shave your legs (women) and put on your socks and shoes. Instead of bending your legs, bend at the hips, stretching your hamstring each time you need to reach your legs or feet. Do 3 sets of 30 second stretches when you are finished.
2. Move: Stand and walk around when you talk on the phone, instead of sitting in a chair.
3. Squat: Hover over the toilet, instead of sitting down, to strengthen your leg muscles (a great one to prepare you for dirty toilets!).
4. Squeeze: Hold your abs tight and do mini-crunches at every stop light. To make sure you are doing it right, place your hand over your stomach, fingers laying across your lower abdomen, thumb over your belly button. As you tighten your abs, you should feel your stomach tighten and flatten. Try to hold that position as for the entire light. Add pulses (mini-crunches) to boost intensity.
5. Flex: Hold groceries, or bags, like a dumbbell. Hold them in a static (isometric) bicep curl contraction, flexing your biceps, instead of holding them straight down by your side. This forces the weight onto your muscles instead of the weight of your bags just hanging off the bones. Muscles get stimulated (and pumped) and you get a boost of energy.
6. Fix: Correct your posture every time you get a text. Feet flat on the ground, pelvis tilted forward (so your bottom sticks out a bit), shoulders are rolled back, and head is aligned with your shoulders (no forward head). As often as we get texts, this should drastically help reduce neck, shoulder and back pain due to poor posture.
7. Stretch: Stretch your neck and chest every time you end a phone call. We all need a trigger to remind us to stretch through out the day. By choosing a regular occurance, like a phone call or email, you can get in the habit of stretching more often – and prevent neck injury or posture related neck pain.
8. Pump: Pump out a bunch of air squats while you are waiting for your food to heat up in the microwave. Most people stare at the microwave, or do nothing, while they wait. Boost your energy by boosting activity when you wait for mundane tasks like waiting to nuke your food.
9. Walk: Power walk from your parking space to your destination. Most people mosey across the lot. Don’t be THAT person. Walk with purpose and drive. You’ll not only get out of other drivers’ way, but you’ll get a boost of energy in the process.
10. Exercise: Do at least one exercise during each commercial break while you zip through commercials (yes, even you Ti-Vo people). Sit-sup, push-ups, plank, crunches, squats or lunges are all great exercises to tone your body during a time we are bored anyway. Why not get fit during the Jenny Craig commercial!
In today’s busy world, we have to get creative to get active! This is YOUR year!
In a Fitness Rut – and Don’t Even Know It
Many people go weeks, months, and even years doing the same exercise program with little to no change. Why is this dangerous? Well, in my opinion, it’s dangerous for many reasons. One, it leads you to believe you are making progress just because you are doing something – but that’s not always the case. Two, as your body adapts to the activity, it no longer challenges your body the way the activity originally did when you first started. Lastly, it gives you the false impression you can afford to eat more.
Think about this. We can’t expect weight loss results if we don’t pay attention to what we are eating. Everyone knows we must keep a close watch on the food we eat and avoid high-calorie food. So, we wouldn’t dare eat blindly, so why in the world would we workout blindly. Just like with food, there are things we must look for in an effective exercise routine.
Is any activity good activity? Sure. It’s GREAT when someone stays active, but I’m talking about exercise – and often times people are under the impression they are doing much more than they really are. They confuse activity for exercise – and even the people who truly are exercising, many times, aren’t getting results. Unfortunately, many people don’t even realize they are doing anything wrong at all. The only way to check yourself is to test yourself.
QUIZ: Ask your self these questions.
1. Does your workout have a very specific purpose? You should have a specific goal for each workout. (See 4 ways to exercise with purpose at LoseIt.com)
2. Do your workouts change often? It’s important to constantly change your routine and exercises. Your body will eventually adjust to a workout. If you want your body to be as fit and healthy as possible, you have to change things up.
3. Do you track your progress? You should actively track and test your progress to make sure your workouts are continuing to produce improvement. (Get the Lose It Fit Test and progress tracking sheet, located right below the video at the bottom of the page)
4. Are your workouts boring? Boring workouts are tempting to quit. A stale workout is not a fun workout, so you are a lot more likely to quit it. As you change your workouts up, explore new exercises and meet new fit friends, you’ll increase your chances of sticking to your program and getting the results you’ve wanted.
5. Are your workouts working? Another reason people quit working out is because they aren’t getting the results they want. Workouts that have no purpose rarely produce desired results.You have to PLAN for success – not just hope it accidentally happens by chance because you mean well. Often times people will continue the same exercises, over and over, expecting different results. If you aren’t getting results, you HAVE to make a change.
Don’t stop here! CLICK HERE to learn how to ramp up your workouts and get the results you want.
Yesterday I was driving across the parking lot at our gym and I had to slam on the breaks to avoid an overweight man on a mobility scooter zipping across the parking lot. This was in an area that homeless guys tend to hang out, like the guy who uses a knee brace and crutches as props for his begging corner – but that guy can’t seem to remember which leg he keeps the brace on. Anywho! Back to the scooter guy. How many people do we see on scooters who can actually walk?
While I whole-heartedly believe there are people who need a mobility scooter, I can’t remember the last time I actually saw a handicapped person using one who actually was not able to walk. I know they exist, but I believe these aids are hurting people more than helping them.
Maybe they start off using them because of an injury, or to help them be a little more mobile. But, it encourages more laziness and dependance – which can lead to even more weight gain. I believe that’s why we end up seeing so many heavy young people on scooters. It just becomes easier to use the scooter – and the more they use it, the more muscle strength and stamina they lose.
Scooters are an electric crutch that someone can get stuck with if they aren’t purposefully working hard to get away from using them. Of course I’m not suggesting that it’s going to be easy for these people – it will take work, but in most cases it’s totally doable. Unfortunately, we live in a world full of conveniences that have taken away one of the best exercises known to man – walking.
It used to be, that if you had to go to your neighbors, you’d walk – not drive your golf cart 5 houses down. Our neighborhood is relatively small. Houses are built along a 1.4 mile road that circles a lake. It literally could take me 5-8 minutes to get to the opposite side of the neighborhood on foot. Yet, jumping in the car is the knee jerk response when I’m going to the tennis courts just a half a mile away.
We realized just how spoiled we are when Steve did Fat March, a walking show for weight loss reality TV on ABC. Even when they were off camera, we walked pretty much everywhere if we wanted to go out to eat or hit the mall. I remember looking for a gym while visiting and calling around to see what was close by. When I found a gym about 2 miles away, the reality that I had to walk there sunk in. Of course it’s not like I can’t walk 2 miles, but I already missed being able to jump in the car and get there quickly. Steve laughed because, by that time, he’d already walked several hundred miles – what was 2 more!?
Although increasing your activity shouldn’t replace a purposeful exercise routine, it sure as heck is an important part of maintaining a good quality of life. If you don’t want to be stuck in a scooter when you are 70, you need to stay on your feet as much as possible when you are 40.
Impatience Makes Us Fat
I think the major problem with Americans today is we are always in a hurry. We don’t want to spend 10 minutes walking somewhere when we can get their in 2 minutes if we drive. Our impatience makes us lazy and it reducing activity. If cars weren’t so darn easy to jump in and out of, it would be much different. Even in the horse and buggy days, it might have been just as much work, and take as much time, to saddle a horse than it was to walk. So even then, walking was probably a smart option. Now we’ve gotten so smart we are acting dumb. We aren’t as aware of how our convenient and fast lifestyle is affecting our health and activity.
This blog is NOT to dump on people who use scooters. It’s not to judge anyone for where they are in their life. It is to ENCOURAGE people to NEVER give up on doing everything you can to have the BEST quality of life possible. Whether you can walk, but can’t run – or you can only walk with a cane. I just never want anyone to give up on their dreams of staying mobile and healthy. Even if you are completely healthy, it’s my hope that I can make you more aware of ways to protect your health and mobility. Here are some tips. Pass it along if you think they may help others.
A Dozen Ways to Increase Activity Throughout the Day
2. If you are going out to a nearby place to eat – walk, don’t drive.
3. Walk to neighbors and save the golf cart for golf.
4. Take walking tours while traveling.
5. Avoid taking a cab when downtown in big cities.
6. Skip the elevator and take the stairs as often as you can.
7. Don’t take a grocery cart, just out of convenience. Use your muscles and carry a basket when you can.
8. Walk your dog instead of just letting out in the back yard.
9. Trade sitting and drinking coffee with a neighbor or friend for a nice walk. Walking is one of the best ways to get exercise and catch up with a friend.
10. Choose restaurants that are near fun places to walk, like the beach, parks, downtown shops and the mall, so you can take a walk after dinner with your date.
11. Don’t enable loved ones. Dealing with someone who is handicapped is touchy. Although you want to be sensitive, you also need to hold them accountable and encourage them to stay active.
12. Stay active when you get injured. One of the worst things you can do is allow an injury to get you down. A few months ago Steve tore his MCL, medial meniscus and IT band. Although he can’t walk without a limp, and he can’t run, do kickboxing or BCx Boot Camp, he can do the bike and elliptical. He even does legs – carefully. It’s scary, but you have to stay active to rehabilitate injuries.
ENCOURAGEMENT: A Man Who Didn’t Give Up
WALKING WORKS: Steve’s Memory Reel from ABC’s Fat March:
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
What’s your take on obesity and scooters? Do you know someone who beat the odds and lost the cane, chair or scooter wheels?
Some of the best experiences take a little work. Whether you are hiking through challenging terrain to see a beautiful waterfall or zipling across a mountain top to get a breathtaking view, it takes a certain level of physical activity, strength, stamina and balance to have fun sometimes.
We were reminded of this when Steve and the guys went white water rafting. Before the group hit the water, we noticed one group was very overweight. We were concerned they weren’t physically fit enough to do the grueling Class 5 trip. Then, while the group was in orientation, the head guide said “We encourage aggressive self-rescue”. That’s when we really got nervous!
Being Out of Shape Can be Dangerous
All of the wives drove down to a couple lookout points to shoot photos of our men going by, we noticed the guides in the other boat were struggling to get their heavier passengers safely around the falls. We were right! These people were really struggling.
One woman was completely laid out in the boat, while the others were so exhausted they weren’t even paddling. Since thy weren’t able to paddle, the raft wasn’t always going where the guides needed it to avoid trees and rock – resulting in the boat going over the falls backwards and sideways, spilling people out of the boat and putting everyone in danger.
Being Out of Shape Isn’t Fun
Not only did it make it scary for them, it spoiled the fun for others around them. The guides were working overtime to make up for their lack of paddling and other boaters had to stop and help save them every time they went off course or fell into the rushing water.
Being Out of Shape is Risky
Not only does being fit allow you to be more active and do more things, but it also helps you do them safely. Hiking through difficult terrain is challenging enough for the physically fit, but can be downright dangerous for someone who isn’t strong enough to save themselves if need be.
Being Out of Shape Puts Others at Risk
Not only do you risk injury if you aren’t able to perform certain tasks safely, but think of the others who will attempt to come to your rescue. Can they save you if you are too heavy for them or not strong enough to hold on? They may risk their own life trying to make up for your weaknesses.
Being Out of Shape Can Make You Miss Out
You don’t have to be an extreme vacationer to benefit from being fit. Even something as simple as sightseeing can be a complete bomb if you get tired easily from the endless walking. That’s when cardio pays off big time. The more fit your heart and lungs are, the longer you can last on excursions.
Being Fit is Just More Fun!
It’s easy to think of working out as actual work, but think of it as an investment on a more fun future. You don’t have to go kneeboarding or take adventurous excursions to put your fitness to the test, but I guarantee your vacations will be the most fun vacations you’ve ever had when you are fit enough to enjoy every second of them.
Being fit is not just about looking better, or living longer. Being fit is about living better.
Thank you Steve for such a GREAT anniversary weekend in the mountains! Thank you for holding me accountable and helping me stay fit enough to experience life to the fullest! What a FUN vacation! What a FUN 18 years!!!
Are you choosing the right cardio for your goals? Many times I see people who need to lose weight leisurely peddling along on the recumbent bike, thinking they are doing some really great fat-burning cardio. However, unless they are rehabilitating an injury, they could burn up to 200 calories more per hour if they moved to an elliptical or treadmill.
Look at the following list of most common exercises and see how they compare to each other. Each exercise is listed from lowest calories burned to highest calories burned.
Calories burned per HOUR for a 155lb person
232: Walking, 3.0
281: Water Aerobics
281: Yoga (not cardio, but thought it was cool to compare)
352: Walking, 4.0 brisk pace
352: Low Impact Aerobics
422: Dance Aerobics
443: Walking, 4.5 very brisk pace
472: Running 5mph/12-Minute Mile
480: Elliptical (Moderate)
493: High Impact Aerobics
493: Stationary Bike (moderate intensity)
563: Calisthenics (push-ups, sit-ups…)
563: Circuit Training (minimal rest)
568: Elliptical (vigorous)
633: Stair Machine
633: Running 5.2mph/11.5-Minute Mile
704: Running 6mph/10-Minute Mile
744: Running 6.5mph/9-Minute Mile
760: Plyometrics (Burpees, Jumping Jacks, Box Jumps)
Time vs Work
Now, let’s also look at the type of cardio compared to the amount of time you are likely to do that activity. I know in my heart I will not run on the treadmill for an hour, but I’d do kickboxing for an hour. So, in reality, when looking at the numbers above, I can’t compare them as apples to apples.
The reality: Walking for 30 minutes (176 calories) vs an hour of low-impact aerobics (352 calories) is 176 calorie difference. Running 3 miles/30-min (352 calories) vs 1 hour of kickboxing (704 calories) is 352 calories! Now THAT’S even a bigger difference.
Workout with Purpose
In a nutshell, if you have a specific goal you want to achieve from fitness, you may need to do what your body needs – not necessarily what you like the most. Sure, it’s great to choose activity you like, and will stick to, but are you going to be OK with the results you get from that activity? Many times people keep doing what they like without ever achieving their goals – and they quit working out eventually because what they liked didn’t give them the results they wanted.
If you are exercising for your health, and not for calorie burn, that’s one thing – but if you are wanting to do cardio for fat-melting results, then maybe it’s time to choose a workout based on the results you want to get. Once you choose your workout, make those workouts priority and the fun workouts extras – until you reach your goal. Once you reach your goal, you can rearrange your training schedule, reduce intensity and increase your fun activities.
Top 5 Calorie Scorchers
If you are like me, you want the most bang for your buck. Here are my personal favorite workouts that burn a serious amount of calories while sculpting muscle too.
2. Circuit Training
4. Kickboxing Class
5. High Impact Aerobics
Top 5 Exercise Tips:
1. Do weights before cardio
2. If you need to lose weight, make calorie burn your top priority
3. Do moderate cardio on a mostly empty stomach, when possible, when doing cardio alone.
4. Plyometrics, circuit training and calisthenics require food to fuel you through your workout.
5. None of your calorie burning workouts will pay off if you are just replacing the calories burned with calories you eat. Limit calories consumed for maximum weight loss results.
NOTE: Cardio was a term originally was used to describe exercising your heart and lungs. Now people refer to cardio when doing fat-burning workouts, from a power-walk to an aerobics class.
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