Exercise is part of our proactive approach with our Lean to Wellness program at Trilogy Medical Centers for Integrative Medicine as it will help you achieve your weight loss goals. We’ll show you ways you can become physically active so that you can live a healthy lifestyle.
Why Exercise is Important
Use it or lose it! You may have heard that expression before, and it’s very true when it comes to your body. If you don’t use it, you will surely lose it as your body depends on you moving it to stay healthy. Your muscles become weak, your joints become stiff, and your heart won’t function efficiently without physical activity which can be as dangerous as cigarette smoking!
Exercise Impacts Metabolism
Research shows that after the age of 25, the average decline in resting metabolic rate with each passing decade is two to four percent. Muscle loss occurs with this metabolic loss. On average, five pounds of lean muscle mass is lost per decade after the age of twenty five. Because muscle is so metabolically active, its loss is directly responsible for much of the metabolic loss. Therefore, it should be clear that age isn’t responsible for metabolic decline. Rather, inactivity is a huge factor. It’s important to protect muscle mass as you grow older as you’ll also preserve your resting metabolic rate.
Exercise Burns More Calories
As you probably know, exercise uses energy and therefore burns calories. This occurs with contracting skeletal muscles repeatedly during weight lifting, cycling, jump roping, and many other forms of exercise. The more intense the exercise, the more energy is used in a shorter period of time. For example, cycling at 20 miles per hour or greater (such as in a race) burns four times more energy per minute than cycling leisurely at 8 to 10 miles per hour. Likewise, sprinting at a 100-meter dash pace would burn more calories per minute than a comfortable jog. While physical activity burns calories during the exercise, intense exercise contributes to more calories burned after the exercise. Depending on the intensity level, exercise can help you burn more calories after exercise for up to 48 hours. What can be better than that?
Exercise Detoxifies the Body
Exercise is important for staying healthy as it keeps you strong, fit, and flexible. With it, your brain also releases the feel good hormones which deters depression and anxiety and makes you excited for life. You may not have thought of this before, but one added benefit of exercise is that it helps your body’s organs to function optimally for the elimination of toxins. It creates the conditions for your body to breathe, circulate, and sweat. Breathe When you exercise, you breathe more deeply. Your lungs also increase their capacity, and they exhale carbon dioxide as a waste product. Circulate When you move your body through exercise, you help it circulate oxygen. The oxygen you breathe in travels throughout your entire body – brain, muscles, organs, and more. Your heart grows stronger due to this circulation. More circulating oxygen also provides your liver and lymph nodes a better opportunity to purify and cleanse your body. This includes toxins and fatty tissue. Sweat Through perspiration, your skin is cleansed from the inside out. Vigorous exercise can help you sweat.
Exercise Promotes Better Sleep
Sleep is important for your body. Regular disturbances in the sleep-wake cycle and circadian rhythms cause cell damage and metabolic abnormalities which promote disease. Getting a good night’s rest is essential to overall good health. If affects your focus, decision making, reaction time, and mood. It even affects your energy levels and lifestyle choices such as diet, exercise, and more. With enough regular and quality sleep, your brain can also cleanse itself from toxins and rejuvenate the body. Regular physical activity promotes quicker and deeper sleep.
Exercise Reduces Stress
When you are under regular stress, your cortisol levels increase. Cortisol is a life sustaining hormone produced by your adrenal glands and is essential to maintaining homeostasis or a healthy, balanced metabolism. When the body is under regular stress, cortisol levels are constantly heightened which burn out your adrenal glands causing disruption to your metabolism. In turn, weight gain and disease occur. However, regular exercise reduces stress and increases your overall health and sense of well-being. By providing you with direct stress busting benefits, exercise pumps up your endorphins (your feel good hormones produced by the brain). Endorphins reduce fatigue, improve alertness and concentration, and enhance overall cognitive function. This is especially helpful as the body usually feels the impact of mental stress. Your mind also feels the impact of your body. By exercising, your body feels better which in turn makes your mind feel better. Your endorphins also act as natural painkillers and improve sleep. All these benefits help promote a healthy metabolism.
5 Key Components of Fitness
Numerous studies have explored the relationship between physical activity and the overall quality of life. The United States Surgeon General’s Office reports evidence relating physical activity to reduced risks for several health problems including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, back pain, osteoporosis, dementia, anxiety and depression, insomnia, and more. You can improve your quality of life by preventing or delaying the onset of disease and other health problems by exercising regularly. Following are the five key components of fitness.
When your muscles require oxygen, your cardiovascular system must be able to deliver it to them efficiently. However, your heart and lungs will not be up for the task if your body is full of toxins (e.g., carbon dioxide and metabolic waste products). Therefore, your cardiovascular system is an important component of physical fitness.
A lack of adequate muscular strength, in conjunction with decreased bone density, leads to physical weakness. Resistance training helps to develop your musculoskeletal system so that you can walk, lift boxes, open jars, and more. It also helps prevent brittle bones and osteoporosis.
To remain healthy and active, it’s important to consume foods with all nutrients. This includes proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. A deficiency in any one of these nutrients can reduce your chances of reaching your weight loss, fitness, and health goals.
The ability to flex, extend, or circumduct the joints through their full range of motion is important for meeting the demands of your daily activities with ease. Flexibility helps you to easily bend, turn, and reach. Improving the range of motion of your joints should concur with muscular strength training toavoid injury.
While this component of fitness seems like a mental one, it is actually the most important physical component of fitness! Did you know that the points in the YMCA triangle stand for “mind, body, and spirit?” While this concept was adopted by Native Americans, all religions recognize the importance of the link between all three parts of the person. It is also necessary for you to focus on your overall happiness in life. You can do that by making healthy choices every day.
Exercising on Your Own
If you aren’t currently exercising, we encourage you to include regular physical activity. If it’s a structured program, make sure it is one that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine, and ease into that routine as you don’t want to burn out before you’ve really given yourself a chance to get started. Following are some great exercise regimens you may want to try. Find one that you enjoy and exercise regularly – at least two to three days per week if you’re a beginner.
Structured Exercise Programs
If you need help in starting an exercise program, you may want to consult with a local physical exercise trainer who can help you build a structured plan. (See Getting Started with a Trainer.) Your plan may help you with building strength, mobility, and flexibility. This may include weight training, as well as a form of exercise that includes aerobic conditioning.
Water Aerobics or Swimming
Some of the best exercises for your body include aquatic aerobics and swimming. However, many pools are filled with toxic chemicals that can enter your body through your skin. If these types of exercise interest you, try to find a pool that uses natural saltwater.
Recreational or Lifestyle Exercise
Physical activity does not need to be strenuous to achieve health benefits. According to the United States Surgeon General, moderate amounts of physical activity can be obtained in longer sessions or in accumulating shorter sessions. Lifestyle activities may include leisure, occupational, or household chores that are at least moderate in intensity. Examples include walking, washing the car, raking leaves, and gardening.
Poses in yoga are well regarded for their detoxifying properties, and a well-rounded program can aid in toxin removal as well as strengthen your muscles and provide flexibility. Yoga includes stretching and compressing every part of your body which helps to remove waste products deep within your muscles such as lactic acid, lymphatic fluid, and carbon dioxide. Many yoga classes also include meditation to help detox your mind from stress.
Getting Started with a Trainer
Let’s face it. Habits are difficult to break or to make. Sometimes, understanding that you need to adjust your habits is hard to contemplate. Therefore, we recommend a physical exercise trainer who can assess whether you are in fact ready to start an exercise program. Your psychological readiness is just as important as your physical readiness as it will help you stick with a program and succeed. Along with your physical exercise trainer, we can address your self-awareness and goals. If you are ready and willing to be more active, we will share your medical history and exam with your trainer (and with your permission). Before designing your individual plan, your trainer must perform a physical assessment to determine your physical readiness for exercise. Because much of the physical assessment has already been completed by us, your trainer may also skip some of the tests. If you pass the physical test to begin exercise, your trainer may then conduct a fitness assessment to customize a personal exercise plan for you based on your abilities.
- Blood Pressure
- Body Fat
- Body Mass Index (BMI)
- Step Test
- Walk Test
- Muscular Performance
- Non-Fatiguing Tests (i.e., height/weight measurement, skinfolds, vertical/broad jumps)
- Agility Test
- Maximal Strength & Power Tests
- Sprints Tests
- Muscular Endurance Tests
- Flexibility Tests
Working with a physical exercise trainer can help you stay accountable, and it can also be fun. Find one that you feel comfortable with that will work with your personal abilities and schedule.
Monitoring Your Heart Rate
The health of your heart is indicated by your heart rate. As a heart grows larger and stronger, it becomes conditioned. A conditioned heart beats more slowly as it pumps more blood with each stroke. While the average person has a resting heart rate of about 75 or 80 beats per minutes, highly conditioned athletes – such as distance runners, sprinters, weightlifters, or football players – may have resting hearts rate as low as 32 beats per minute.
Physical Stimuli & Heart Rate
During strenuous activity, healthy hearts will peak at 190 or less beats per minute while poorly conditioned hearts may increase dangerously high at 220 or more beats per minute. Lower heart rates conserve energy and can save 15,000 beats per day which protect against strain or failure. Training reduces maximum heart rates for better conditioning.
Emotional Stimuli & Heart Rate
Not having anything to do with physical exercise, you have another heart rate called anticipatory rate or tension rate. You can think of it as your emotional heart rate. Your tension rate increases when the phone rings unexpectedly or when watching an intense or scary movie. Sometimes, your tension rate increases when you get stressed over children not behaving or when you get into a fight with your best friend. While these stressors affect the heart, negative physical responses can be reduced with training.
Your Target Heart Rate (THR)
When you exercise, you need to know if you are on target with your heart rate. After all, you want to make sure you’re working hard enough to benefit from training. On the other hand, you want to be sure you’re not dangerously overworking yourself. Your target heart rate (THR) helps you know if you’re hitting the bull’s eye so that you can reach your fitness goals. To know if you’re on target, you must first determine your resting heart rate. Check it in the morning after a good night’s sleep before getting out of bed. Directions are as follows:
- Place your first two fingers of your right hand on your throat just under your jaw. (Do not use your thumb as it has a pulse of its own.)
- Slide your two fingers toward your chin until you feel a pulse. This is the pulse of the carotid artery which supplies blood to your head and neck.
- Count the number of times the blood pulses through the artery for 10 seconds.
- Multiply that number by 6 to get your resting heart rate for beats per minute.
Now that you know your resting heart rate, you will need to figure your maximum heart rate (MaxHR) before determining your THR for training. Below is the formula for figuring your MaxHR:
Now that you have your maximum heart rate, you can figure the low end of your target heart rate by multiplying your heart rate reserve (HRR) by 50 percent:
HRR x 50% = Training Range %
Training Range % + Resting Heart Rate = Low End of the THR Zone
The following example shows the formula being used in finding the low end of the THR for a 35 year old person with a resting heart rate of 60 beats per minute:
183.45 MaxHR – 60 Resting Heart Rate = 123.45 HRR
123.45 HRR x 50% = 62 Training Range %
62 Training Range % + 60 Resting Heart Rate = 122 Low End of the THR Zone
As you can see, this 35 year old person’s THR begins at 122 beats per minute. This rate would qualify for a light, warm-up pace. To calculate the high end of the THR for this person, use the same formula but multiply your HRR by 85 percent instead of 50 percent.
105 Training Range % + Resting Heart Rate = 165 High End of the THR Zone
This person now has the low and high range of his or her THR. Now we’ll figure how to use these two numbers to determine if you’re working at the right intensity levels. The heart rate range calculates 50 to 85 percent of your HRR. To determine where you work within that range depends on the type of exercise you are doing. Following are the ranges categorized by intensity:
Moderate Intensity = 60 to 75 percent
High Intensity = 75 to 85 percent
Each level of intensity draws on different energy systems and focuses on different fitness goals. If you want to build endurance, you would work at moderate intensity. If your goal is to burn more calories, you would work at high intensity.
NOTE: You may have heard that working at low intensity will burn more body fat. While it is true that you may burn more fat as fuel, it doesn’t mean you actually burn more total fat. Therefore, your goal should be to work at higher intensity levels if you are focused on fat loss.
Tracking Your Heart Rate
While training, the best and easiest way to track your heart rate is to wear a heart rate monitor. Polar and Garmin are reputable brands and provide a variety of options depending on your needs. Some even test your resting heart rate, as well as set and track your goals.
If you use cardio equipment – like treadmills, stationary bikes, or ellipticals – you may see an electronic scale called an RPE Scale on the machine. RPE stands for “Rate of Perceived Exertion” which is a psychophysiological scale. The RPE Scale measures intensity levels of physical activity as you move pedals while holding your hands on the metal handles of the machine. Perceived exertion is how hard you feel your body is working and is based on the physical sensations you experience during activity including your heart rate, breathing rate, sweating, and muscle fatigue. While this is a subjective measure, your perceived exertion rate may provide a good estimate of your actual heart rate during exercise. The RPE scale runs from zero to 10. Depending on your fitness goals, working in between levels 3 to 9 is where you would should be.
The Importance of Planning
One of the keys to success for a healthy lifestyle is planning, whether it is planning your meals or physical activity. We often hear people say they have no time for exercise. But, if you incorporate four 45 minute sessions in per week – which is considered very active – you would spend less than two percent of your time training. Moreover, you’ll quickly find that exercising doesn’t take time but actually creates time as it enhances your energy. In turn, your newfound energy will enable you to fit more into your personal and professional life. Regular exercise can literally extend years to your life while making them more active and enjoyable.
Have you ever been to the gym and watched what people are doing? If you have, you’ll see several people walking around aimlessly. They walk around scratching their heads, obviously trying to figure out what they should be doing. Many times, they’ll watch other people and copy them. Unfortunately, they may be copying others who also don’t know what they’re doing. It’s like the blind leading the blind, and it’s a waste of time. You never want to go to the gym just to go workout.
Before each training session, you should know what exercises to perform. If you are weight training, you should know how many sets and reps you’ll be doing, as well as how much weight to use. If you’re kickboxing, you should know how many uppercuts and roundhouse kicks you will be performing. If you’re swimming, you should know how many laps you’ll be swimming and with what stroke. If you’re walking, you should know what distance you’ll be aiming for along with your target heart rate. A plan of attack will help you move swiftly with a clear sense of purpose. Most of all, it will help you succeed in your goals.
By planning, recording, and analyzing your training, you can measure your progress. Your recordings will allow you to clearly see the path you’re on. If you’re not making progress, you can go back to your records and troubleshoot with precision. Are you making it to all of your exercise sessions? Are you working at the right intensity levels? Are you doing enough or too much? A detailed journal can help you stay on track, and you can repeat the activities that are working.
In the coming pages, we will provide you with some sample exercise regimens to get you started. We’ll also provide you with a planning form that you may copy. The Google Play Store also provides several exercise journal apps for your mobile phone that you may want to download and check out. One that we like includes JEFIT PRO. This app will track your weight, your exercises, and your progress. It also provides you with exercise videos in case you don’t know how to perform a particular exercise.
Two Important Types of Exercise
Science proves that not all exercise is created equal. In fact, there are some approaches that yield better results than others. For instance, you need to know which exercise is best for burning fat if your goal is to lose weight. While the answer may not be simple, knowing how each type of exercise – aerobic versus anaerobic – works with your body.
Aerobic Exercise (Cardio Training)
Aerobic exercise – also termed cardio – increases your body’s functional capacity to transport and use oxygen. Aerobic exercise requires oxygen from the blood to fuel energy-producing mechanisms of your muscle fibers. This type of exercise is usually light activity than can sustain you for a long period of time such as running and cycling.
Anaerobic Exercise (Resistance Training)
Anaerobic exercise – also termed resistance training – greatly increases your body’s functional capacity for developing explosive strength. Anaerobic exercise usually includes short-term activity that is typically high intensity. Oxygen consumption is not sufficient to supply energy demands being placed on your muscles. This type of exercise requires bursts of activity for short periods of time like sprinting and weightlifting. Aerobic or Anaerobic for Fat Loss?
Both aerobic and anaerobic exercise boost metabolism and burn body fat. The key is to include both types of exercise into your workout. Aerobic exercise increases your endurance and cardio health while anaerobic exercise helps you to gain and maintain lean muscle mass. Lean muscle mass is needed to burn fat.
Including exercises that incorporate both aerobic and anaerobic segments are the perfect balance to your workout regimen and provide you with the benefit of maximum fat burn. You can include both types separately by alternating days for each, or you can incorporate training that utilizes both segments together such as swimming, kickboxing, or circuit weightlifting.
Quality Is Better Than Quantity
Have you ever watched people utilizing the treadmill or elliptical at your gym? If you haven’t, they are amazing to watch. If you consistently go the gym, you would see the same people at the gym every day orking out the exact same way and for long periods of time. Some would refer to these people as cardio bunnies. While they can go like the Energizer rabbit, the amazing thing is that they rarely make a transformation in their bodies. This is unfortunate. Unlike these cardio bunnies, we want you to exercise enough to be efficient yet effective. Training is not about how much you can do. Living at the gym is not the goal. Quality is what counts so that you can live your life with energy and vitality.
You must perform exercises intensely to produce rapid results. By working intensely, you won’t have to train for hours upon hours to see results. By reaching for high points in your training, your body becomes more efficient. By high points, we mean reaching deep down within yourself to give it all you’ve got. It’s only then that you reach your goals. This is why planning is so important. By priming your mind and body, you can then focus on creating high points.
Cardio Exercise & Examples
If you’re like most Americans, you’ve probably done your fair share of aerobic or cardio exercise but haven’t noticed much of a difference in your body shape. And, the prospect of doing more just isn’t appealing. Wouldn’t it be great if you could do an alternative that is much more efficient? Well, you can. Remember the high points we discussed previously? Research indicates that high intensity training burns more body fat effectively than low intensity exercise – up to 50 percent more efficiently. In fact, it speeds up your metabolism and keeps it revved for hours – up to 48 hours – after your workout. By “giving it all you’ve got,” your body is burning calories long after your exercise session is over unlike long boring and unfocused steady state sessions. So, go ahead and give it your best effort. Start with Example #1 and work yourself up to Example #2 over the course of several months. Perform high intensity interval training (HIIT) three times per week with a day of rest in between sessions.
Cardio Example #1
3 minute warm-up (intensity levels 2-4/10)
1 minute (intensity level 5/10)
1 minute (intensity level 6/10)
1 minute (intensity level 7/10)
1 minute (intensity level 8/10)
1 minute (intensity level 9/10)
REPEAT CIRCUIT TWICE
1 minute (high intensity level 10/10)
2 minutes cool down (intensity level 2-3/10)
TOTAL 11-21 MINUTES
NOTE: Beginners may want to start with one circuit and work up to three circuits over the course of a few months.
Cardio Example #2
3 minute warm-up (intensity levels 2-4/10)
1 minute (high intensity level 8-9/10)
1 minute (low intensity level 3-4/10)
REPEAT CIRCUIT SEVERAL TIMES
5 minutes (low intensity level 3-4/10)
20 minutes (medium intensity level 5-6/10)
3 minutes cool down (intensity level 2-3/10)
TOTAL 33-45 MINUTES
NOTE: Choose circuit repetitions based on your exercise level: beginners do 2-3 rounds; intermediates do 4-5 rounds; and advanced do 6-7 rounds.
Resistance Training & Examples
Resistance training is also called strength training or weight training as it uses resistance to muscular contraction in order to build strength. It is based on the principle that muscles of the body work to overcome a resistance force when required. As you perform resistance training repeatedly and consistently, your muscles become stronger. By including strength training as part of your exercise program, you provide your body with a plethora of health benefits.
Health Benefits of Resistance Training
- improved muscle, joint, and bone function
- strengthened tendons and ligaments
- stronger hearts and lungs
- increased bone density and strength & reduced risk of osteoporosis
- better flexibility, mobility, balance, and posture
- better use of energy when body is resting
- greater stamina
- prevention of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and obesity
- increased muscle to fat ratio & better weight management
- pain management
- decreased risk of injury
- improved confidence, mood, and sense of wellbeing
- better sleep & deterrence of insomnia
- better libido
- enhanced performance of everyday tasks
Examples of Resistance Training
Many people think of bodybuilders when they hear the term resistance or strength training. However, resistance training is important for every human body. Though it may include lifting dumbbells and barbells, there are many different types of resistance training:
- weight machines using weights with hydraulics
- medicine or weighted balls
- resistance bands
- body weight
Safety with Resistance Training
Whether you are a beginner, or one who has been a pro for years, it’s important to pay attention to safety when performing resistance training. By paying attention to good form, you’ll reduce your risk for injury. If you’re not sure where to begin, ask your gym’s wellness coordinator or physical exercise trainer to help you get started.
Before beginning any resistance training exercises, you will need to warm your muscles so they are able to handle the upcoming stress from exercise. Start with a light cardio session such as walking, cycling, or rowing. Warmups should last five to 10 minutes.
To begin, a typical resistance training program for a beginner may include 8 to 10 exercises that work the major muscle groups of the body. Each exercise should comprise of 8 to 12 reps. Training sessions should be completed two to three times per week.
After completing resistance training, you should always perform stretching exercises for about 10 to 15 minutes. Because resistance exercises can cause your muscles to shorten, stretching counteracts that shortening while promoting flexibility and allowing your muscles and joints to move through their full range of motion. This keeps your body limber by releasing muscle tension and tightness.
Allow Muscles to Recover
Your muscles need time to repair and grow after a workout. Allowing sufficient rest in between resistance training workouts is important. A 48 hour period is sufficient for recovery time. And, for you ladies – NO WORRIES! Your muscles cannot physically get big and bulky like those of men. You only have a fraction of the hormone testosterone which allows muscles to get really big. Therefore, your muscles will get toned and tighter allowing for a more slender body.
If you do the same activity all the time, your body is likely to plateau and you won’t see changes as quickly. After several weeks, your body adapts to the exercises you’re doing and won’t offer you the same benefits as they once did. Therefore, changing your routine every four to 8 weeks will keep your muscles challenged. Changing your exercises will keep your muscles guessing and your results coming!
Training Major Muscle Groups
Knowing the major muscle groups of the body is important when figuring what resistance training exercises to perform. After all, you don’t want to just do all upper body exercises. Have you ever seen a guy who has large chest and arm muscles with scrawny legs? Obviously, he neglected to work on his lower body. We don’t want you toppling over due to imbalance. Therefore, we encourage you to strengthen and improve your entire body and keep all your muscles in balance for best performance. By focusing on a balanced body, you’ll gain the following benefits:
- prevent injuries
- improve posture
- avoid aches and pains
- promote a proportionate body
Below, you’ll find the anatomy of your major muscle groups that should be exercised. You’ll also find a table of exercises you can perform for each of your 10 major muscles groups on the next page.
Resistance Training Plan Example
To lose body fat the quickest, do a full body circuit resistance training like the example below. Start with Circuit #1 until all sets are completed. Do one set for each exercise with the appropriate amount of reps, and do not rest between exercises until you’ve reached the end of the last exercise in thecircuit.Then rest two minutes, and repeat the circuit two more times. Once all sets for the circuit have been completed, move to Circuit #2 and then Circuit #3. You may want to schedule your training sessions for Monday-Wednesday-Friday or Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday. Beginners may want to start with one set.
Circuit #1 – Upper Body Exercises
Dumbbell Bench Presses – 3 sets x 8-12 reps
Wide-Grip Lat Pulldowns – 3 sets x 8-12 reps
Standing Shoulder Presses – 3 sets x 8-12 reps
Seated Dumbbell Curls – 3 sets x 8-12 reps
Bench Dips – 3 sets x 8-12 reps
Circuit #2 – Lower Body Exercises
Machine Squats – 3 sets x 8-12 reps
Romanian Deadlifts – 3 sets x 8-12 reps
Dumbbell Glute Kickbacks – 3 sets x 8-12 reps
Standing Calf Raises – 3 sets x 8-12 reps
Circuit #3 – Abdominal Exercises
Stability Ball Crunches – 3 sets x 8-12 reps
As mentioned previous, stretching for at least 10 to 15 minutes after cardio or resistance training is important to your body. Following are a few good stretches. Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds each. Repeat as desired.
Start off by standing up straight with your hands at your sides and feet shoulder width apart. Lace your fingers together and raise your hands up towards the ceiling with your palms facing up. Fully stretch your torso and hold for 1-3 seconds. Then return back to the starting position. Repeat for as many sets and reps as desired.
Chest and Front of Shoulder Stretch
Start off standing up straight with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold either a broom or body bar in between your hands. With a wide grip on the pole, hold it in front of you with your palms facing downward. Lift up slowly behind your head. Arch your shoulders back and continue extending your arms until you feel a stretch on your chest. Hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds. Return back to the starting position and repeat for as many sets, reps, and duration as desired.
Stand straight up with your arms at your sides and feet close together. Reach up with both hands and extend them up and behind your head. With one of your hands, reach over and pull on the elbow of the opposite arm towards your head, feeling an extension and stretch in your triceps. Hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds and return to start. Repeat for as many reps, sets, and duration as desired. Repeat on other side.
Start off kneeling down on the floor with your feet extended behind you and your hands flat on the floor at shoulder level. Slowly pull your belly in and round out your back, letting your head drop to the floor until you feel a stretch in your back muscles. Hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds and return to start. Repeat for as many reps, sets, and duration as desired.
On Your Side Quadricep Stretch
Start off by lying on your side with the leg on the floor bent at a 90 degree angle to help stabilize the body and the elevated leg being held by one hand. Slowly stretch the elevated leg behind you so that your heel is being pulled toward your glutes. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds and return to start. Repeat for as many reps, sets, and duration as desired. Repeat on other side.
Seated Hamstring and Calf Stretch
Start off lying with your back flat on the ground with one leg extended above you and the other bended at the knee with feet flat on the floor. Take your towel and loop it around the ball of your foot of the extended leg. Then pull on the towel to put tension on your calves and hamstrings. Hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds and return to start. Repeat for as many sets, reps, and however long you desire. Repeat on other side.
Exercise & Nutrition
Would it be difficult for you to believe that every single cell that makes up your body will be gone one year from now? While that doesn’t mean you’ll be vaporized, the fact of the matter is that your body is recreated each year. That’s right! Out with the old, and in with the new. Your body is in a constant cycle of recreating as your skin, muscles, organs, and other parts of you are degenerating. The pace of the recreating process of your body depends on your age. Up until the age of 25, your body builds itself up. But, like all living things, the degeneration process takes over and becomes faster than the regeneration process. For example: A flower grows until it stops growing and then it begins to die. This is the natural process of life.
However, we humans can actually take control of the degeneration process. We can adapt and evolve by recreating ourselves. We just have to decide to take charge and know how.
So, what do you think your body uses to recreate itself? Where does it get the raw materials to construct the cells of your body – muscles, bones, blood, skin, and organs? If you guessed food, then you are on target. By feeding yourself accidentally and with the wrong foods, your body to rapidly degenerates. However, feeding your body the right nutrition intentionally will recreate your body.
As you begin to exercise, you must also begin to feed your body what it needs to recreate itself. Quality nutrition is just as important as exercise techniques. Nutrition is your fuel. And, without both, there is no flame – no results. By recreating your body, you can succeed with healing your metabolism, weight loss, and a healthy body.
Check out our nutrition sections in this Patient Guide to jump-start your recreation process. As your metabolism begins to heal, you’ll also begin to achieve your weight loss goals and become healthier. Nutrition and exercise go hand in hand.
Tips for Success
- Get approval from your doctor. Before beginning an exercise regimen, make sure you discuss your plans to increase your activity level – especially if you have a medical condition or have any injuries.
- Plan, plan, and plan! Make appointments with yourself for training. Most people would never miss a doctor’s appointment. However, you won’t need to visit the doctor if you’re taking care of yourself. Consider an appointment with yourself as important as any with a doctor, dentist, or business colleague. Remember that four 45 minute appointments per week are taking less than two percent of your overall time.
- As a beginner, don’t rush things. Doing too much to begin can shock your body. Lactic acid buildup will make you want to scream, and you may end up quitting before you even get started. To be successful at consistent exercise, ease into a plan. Walking is a great start to prime your body for more activity.
- Always warm-up before intense exercise. An essential five to 10 minute pre-workout routine prepares your body for strenuous exercise. Warming up may consist of walking and light progressive movements that stimulate your heart, lungs, and muscles. Note that stretching is NEVER advised as a warmup strategy because of the damage that is easily caused by cold muscles.
- Stretch after your workout. While stretching increases blood flow to your muscles, it also decreases your risk for injuries by helping your joints move through a full range of motion allowing your muscles to work effectively. Stretching also helps your flexibility which can help your performance with physical activity.
- Hydrate before, during, and after your workout. Be sure to drink plenty of water when you exercise. Hydration will help your muscles recover faster and flush any toxins that have accumulated during exercise.
- Eat nutritious meals. If you’re exercising without eating nutritiously, you will see little results and may be training in vain. Including nutrient dense foods regularly will promote better success with exercise. After workouts is prime time for a nutritious meal that includes starchy carbs like rice, quinoa, amaranth, or sweet potatoes. This is the time when your body will utilize starches best.
- Keep a positive attitude. Sometimes, it’s difficult to be positive when you have challenges. Surround yourself with positive people with similar goals, and you can’t go wrong. Indulge in magazines and books that will promote a healthy mindset.