Moderate Exercise Is Not As Hard As You Think

Working out doesn’t have to be as hard as you think. Moderate exercise specifically isn’t as hardcore as many have imagined, leaving them intimidated out of trying in some cases. A study from the University of Manitoba specifically looked at this and its effect on your likelihood to exercise. 80% of inactive adults tested couldn’t tell what was moderate exercise when asked.

Researchers recently brought together 51 regularly active adults from the university’s fitness facility. Each subject ran or walked on a treadmill at a level that they felt was a moderate intensity. The participants were able to adjust the treadmill’s incline and speed to fit their own needs, and they had to go steady for 5 minutes.

80% of the subjects tested were exercising at a vigorous level when asked to set their own intensity. Study author Danielle Bouchard PhD says, This is great news because people are doing more than what’s needed. And it’s also great because we know that vigorous intensity exercise has more health related benefits than working out at a moderate intensity.

When people overestimate what is moderate exercise, they end up avoiding what they think is too hard.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week for adults. You can combine the two of course. Vigorous activity has additional benefits. So it might be something to consider, strengthening your heart more efficiently.

Other research has shown just the opposite, that people actually overestimate how hard they work. A study by PLOS One asked people to walk or jog at light, moderate, and vigorous exercise levels. Subjects didn’t work hard enough in this study to achieve moderate or vigorous exercise. However, the differences seem to show up from person to person.

Exercise physiologist Tom Holland, author of Swim, Bike, Run, Eat says, I think people are all over the map is the short of it. People are just confused about what’s moderate and what’s hard. Weekend warrior types tend to train in that gray area, so it’s not really easy, it’s not really hard, and they could get much more out of it.

It depends on how fit you are of course as to what it takes to get your heart rate up, but many find that a brisk walk can get their heart rate up to a moderate rate.

If you want to find the right workout intensity, the easiest way to tell is by measuring your heart rate. You can easily buy a cheap heart rate monitor, and if you stay within 50 to 70% of your maximum heart rate, you are in moderate activity. If you go up to 70 to 80%, you will get the benefits of vigorous workouts.

If you want to find your maximum heart rate, go to a steep hill and warm up for 10 minutes. Then run up hill for 30 seconds and get your heart rate. Walk slowly down the hill. Then do that 3 times and record the highest number you get as your maximum heart rate. Unfortunately, the old one size fits all calculations generally don’t fit most.

Should You Drop Your Running Music?

I depend on music. It keeps me going, gives me a basic idea of how long I’ve gone, and it’s way more entertaining than a podcast even. I know, I’ve been told that some people like podcasts, because they like to be educated during their runs. I’m not one of those people. There are some dogs that are more motivating, because they have that beat or that jam. They may give you that extra push, and research actually backs it up. Research aha shown that music can directly influence our ability to perform. But if you can’t force yourself on your own, or if music is making you run further, could it actually be harmful?

Jonathan Cane, exercise physiologist and coach at City Coach and JackRabbit Sports says, I see on social media, ‘I couldn’t finish my workout because my iPhone died,’ and I’m thinking, ‘You can!’ So in effect, for these people, having that music to keep them going is actually holding them back in the event that our technology fails to holdup. Our muscles can function just as well with or without music, but we get this idea in our head that it’s different.

This seems pretty simple, but it’s not that simple. 78% of runners report enjoying listening to music for its motivational purposes, and music has become an integral part of what a lot of us depend on. It’s simple life. If your music can help you to push past that point where we normally want to give up or slow down, that can be good, and for many runners, a faster beat in our music can actually motivate us to run faster. Professor Costas Karageorghis of Brunel University in London is a leading expert on the psychology of workout music, and he calls music a legal performance-enhancing drug.

The truth is that you naturally want to keep up with the beat, and it becomes motivation also with cycling. A study of cycling specifically shows that those who timed their cycling to the music used 7% less oxygen than others who did not have music to synchronize to. Other research has suggested that music actually reduces your perception of your body’s pain or other indications of your body’s limits.

The problem is that you can dissociate yourself from the pain, and you can go too far. In addition, you have the problem of not being able to do the same thing when you don’t have music. The more complex your workout, the more focus you need to put on the workout too, and you will find that’s a lot harder to do when you are listening to and focusing on music.

Experts believe that there are good and bad things about using so much music. It’s not a matter of completely eliminating it and going cold turkey necessarily. It’s a matter of understanding your limits, understanding what music is doing for you, and pushing yourself even without it. It’s harder to do these things when you aren’t conscious of them. Don’t depend on your music to set the beat for you, and every once in a while, go without.

Never Do A Crunch Again

Crunches are bad for you. Yes, they’re the old go to when it comes to ab workouts, but they hurt your back, and they are extremely inefficient. You need a good ab workout though to stabilize the rest of your body believe it or not.

Brynn Jinnette, founder of the Refine Method explains it saying, It’s your center pillar, the powerhouse of your body. Strengthening it will enable you to work harder in your exercise classes and move more safely throughout your day. If you’ve ever dreaded those back breaking crunches every day, you will be relieved to find out there are other options, better options.

  1. Sliding Pike

    You can start in the plank position with your feet on sliding discs. You can use a dish towel, slippery socks, and various other things that you have in the comfort of your own home for this. Use your core to slowly slide your feet in and pull your gluts up to the ceiling. Then use your abs to let them slide back out.

  2. Plank With Open-and-Close Legs

    Start in the plank position and slide your feet out wide and back. Keep your back flat during this time and your core activated. Your legs should be the only things moving.

  3. Sliding Forearm Plank

    Put the sliding discs of your choice under your forearms and start with a forearm plank. Keep your back flat, and then slide each forearms out and back one at a time. Switch off between the two.

  4. Kettlebell Stand-and-Kneel

    Hold a kettlebell at home over your heard and stand with your feet hip width apart. Tighten your core and then lower one knee and then the other. Stand back up the same way.

  5. Resistance Band Raise

    Attach a resistance band between a door and a hook on a wall or another secure anchor of some kind. Keep your feet wider than your hips, with the band to one side. Hold onto the band with your hands together and then extend your arms straight in front of you. You activate your abs this whole time. Ben your elbows and move your firsts towards your chest. Then raise your firsts above your head. You can then lower yourself back to the starting position.

Should We Use Exercise Labels Instead of Nutrition Labels

Forget calories! When you’re deciding what to eat, wouldn’t it be more useful to know exactly how much exercise you’ll have to do to burn it off? Calories give us an objective number, after you take out the amount of calories your body would burn just digesting the food of course, but that doesn’t tell you how much effort it’s going to take to balance it out.

More people would rethink their snack choices according to some.

Scientists from John Hopkins University posted the exercise count on food, and they noticed a significant drop in the buying habits of their subjects. They purchased less junk food and instead purchased healthier options. Even those who didn’t remember the exercise counts still made healthier choices later on.

Obviously, it grabs your attention, in part because you’re not used to seeing it. If it can continue to do that though, we would see a lot more people making healthy decisions and ideally fighting obesity. Exercise shouldn’t be seen as a punishment by any means. But it can be a motivator to keep your food intake within a level where you can exercise and feel good.

You are not going to get the entire food industry to change their ways. They are not going to all suddenly start giving you that method. However, what you can do is look at the calorie count and plug it into an exercise calculator and balance it out. But if this would simply make you feel worse, starve yourself, and be more discouraged, obviously don’t do it.

In short, keep it positive. Stick to what’s effective. Consider what will actually work for you or make sense to you. Obviously, some things are harder than others, but you’re looking for what will actually motivate you to make better choices.

How Much Weight Could You Gain In One Day?

You try your best to be healthy. Eat healthy, exercise on a pretty regular basis, but sometimes, it just doesn’t happen the way we want it to. It’s okay, you’re only human. That’s why many successful dieters have what they call a cheat day. They give themselves the opportunity to eat what they want at one meal, or a full day every so often.

Regardless of the reason, nobody is disciplined all the time, and you shouldn’t let those falls take you off the wagon. Let it be a speed bump, and then you get going again.

Depending on the degree of the binging though, this could lead to weight gain, and the question is how much? After all, if you’re only losing 1 1/2 pounds per week, there’s a problem if you gain 2 pounds on your cheat day. If you have it scheduled, it’s small in the grand scheme of things.

Samantha Cassetty, RD, MS, nutrition director at Luvo, looks at the worst of the worst. How much weight could you gain if you really went all out on a cheat day and seriously misbehaved? You may see the scale move temporarily yes, but according to Cassetty, you would have to eat a lot to gain even a pound in one day.

Cassetty explains, It’s virtually impossible to gain weight overnight. even if you really blew it on the bar food. The reason comes down to calorie math. Though it’s not 100% precise, the basic principle stands true: In order to gain weight, you’d have to eat 3,500 more calories than you typically eat and burn off to maintain your figure. So if you’re eating 2000 calories, you would have to eat 5,500 calories to gain 1 pound, which could be adjusted for any extra exercise you do.

3500 calories seems like a lot, but we have some trouble measuring that, as you may have noticed. In terms of bar food, you would have to eat 3 glasses of wine (370 calories), two chicken wings (110 calories), some onion rings (340 calories), a portion of chips and queso (290 calories), one burger with the works (860 calories), and a slice of chocolate cake (795 calories). And that doesn’t even make the 3500 calorie mark yet.

There’s more that may surprise you about weight gain though. I’m not encouraging overeating by any means, but when they did a study of holiday weight gain (people like to talk about gaining 5 to 10 pounds), Fewer than 10% of the study participants actually gained more than 5 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. In fact, most people gained a mere 1 pound.

Eating too much junk is obviously going to make you feel pretty crappy the next day. But as long as you correct course the next day-i.e., you eat responsibly and get back to your fitness routine-you’ll keep the real pounds from piling on.

BCAA’s And Your Muscles

What’s the big deal about BCAA’s (branched-chain amino acids)? Why are we always hearing about them and seeing them in all of those muscle supplements.

Amino acids are in short, the building blocks of protein and your muscles. They stack together to feed and build your muscles. Your body can make its own amino acids, but many come from the foods you eat such as meat, eggs, and other proteins. BCAA’s in particular are in limited supply in your body, and they are the limiting factor in your body’s ability to build more muscle.

Regardless of what your fitness goals are, more muscle is key to your success. Muscle tones your body, burns fat, helps you to improve your athletic performance, and more. Muscle building is typically slow, and it can easily accelerate fat loss, but unlike fat loss, it cannot be accelerated in the same way.

Benefits of BCAA’s

So what’s so special about BCAA’s above other amino acids? BCAA’s include leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They have a chemical makeup that looks like a tree branch, giving them greater details. BCAA’s in particular help to prevent muscle breakdown, building proteins so that you are getting more faster than you break them down. Leucine is the key BCAA here.

From there, BCAA’s give you fuel for exercise. When you are working out particularly hard, BCAA’s are able to act as fuel for your muscles, helping you to burn more fat and slim down. Various studies have shown that BCAA intake can improve leanness, generally being more associated with a leaner body.

BCAA’s can be found in virtually every protein supplement, drink, powder, as well as fish, eggs, lean beef, chicken, and turkey. However, if you don’t want your entire diet to center around BCAA’s, supplements can be extremely useful and easy to supplement into your day.

Fighting the Flu With Exercise

If you have had trouble getting yourself motivated to get up and exercise, we can talk about all of the benefits, but this season, there may be one in particular that might come with a certain extra appeal. When you exercise for at least 2 1/2 hours a week, you can reduce your chances of catching the cold by 10%. That’s just 20 minutes a day according to a study from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

It’s not just about running though, or taking a jog around the block. According to research, you need to put your back into it, really run it out, get vigorous and hard. You should be feeling it, out of breath even to get these kinds of benefits.

Of course, as always, more research is needed to confirm the results. However, there are plenty of other studies that have shown that exercise improves your immune function. The question is just are these researchers right that it has to be higher intensity exercise? There are numerous theories about exactly how this works, but we’re not entirely sure.

If you work out in a gym or otherwise indoors, you may want to practice some extra precautions. Gyms can be filled with more bacteria than you might know, and this can cause a cold more often than not.


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