This month we will be keeping tabs on your New Years Resolutions, in
order to empower you, help you to stay on track and give you some
great tips for keeping your promise to yourself.
Empowering Resolutions: Are You Exercising Hard Enough?
With obesity becoming an epidemic in the United States, particularly
among children, we need exercise more than ever!
I get many emails a week about exercise and how and when to go about
it. For the most part, you can find the general answers here:
For heart health, cardiovascular and fat burning needs, aerobics is
essential. I am always telling patients that by simply moving (a
brisk walk, jogging, cycling, skating...) you will increase your
heart rate, increase energy levels, improve circulation, work the
heart and lungs, improve your mood, increase lean muscle mass,
decrease body fat and relieve stress, especially when done on a long
Frequency, duration, and intensity are the three determinants. How
many times per week are you working out? For what period of time? At
what level of intensity? These determinants will establish the
overall effectiveness of your exercise program.
Most experts recommend, that if you are a beginner, start with 3
times per week, 20-30 minutes per session. If 20 minutes is to
difficult to begin with, that's fine just keep at it until you reach
the 20 minute goal. (In order for your heart to benefit, you should
try to exercise aerobically for a minimum of 20 minutes.) By
beginning slowly, you can gradually work up to more exercise. Those
who start right into an exercise routine 5 or 6 times a week will
burnout and probably injure themselves as the go.
For those who are comfortable with aerobic activity for at least 20
minutes, 3 times per week, it is NOW TIME to increase the length of
your workouts to 30 minutes and to exercise 4 times a week (rather
than 3). If 20 minutes of exercise has been the goal you have reached
for two weeks now, try increasing the duration in small increments by
5 additional minutes. This will make the transition easier.
For those who are comfortable with aerobic activity for at least 30
minutes, 4 times per week, it is NOW TIME to increase the length of
your workouts to 40 minutes and to exercise 5 times a week (rather
A variation on this theme is to increase the resistance/intensity in
your aerobic activity. By doing so, you will increase your caloric
burn by a large percent! If you are using the stair master, steps or
elliptical machines, try increasing the "effort number" or height of
the incline on your machine and you will appreciate the additional
effort! If you are in a cardo class, jogging or fast walking, take a
small weight with you. 2-5 lbs. will make a world of difference.
To avoid overuse injuries such as tendonitis, shin splints... you
should cross train (one day try walking, the next day ride a bike,
the following day participate in an aerobics class...).
Remember, aerobic exercise is essential for weight loss,
cardiovascular fitness and body-shaping. Current research supports a
complete fitness program. A complete program should include aerobic
exercise, anaerobic exercise and stretching. To be successful, you
must incorporate it into your lifestyle, like eating well and getting
good quality sleep.
It's time to step it up!
Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac
Therapies for healing
mind, body, spirit
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