Thursday, December 8, 2011

Exercise, How Much is Enough?

Let's talk about exercise. How much is enough? Well, that depends what your goals are.
Getting up and getting moving is very important for your total body and mental health, and any amount is better than none.  The National campaign "Let's Move" encourages everyone to do at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day.  I agree, this is a great starting number for everyone to strive for.  But let's talk about why.

If weight-loss is your goal:

We have all seen those commercials on TV for workout programs promising to burn fat in only 10-15 minutes a day.  WOW! I am a busy person, that sounds fantastic! ...
While any movement is good movement, serious fat loss is not really possible here.  Here is why (warning, some science mumbo-jumbo about to start):

Our bodies have 3 main energy systems that they use.  these are your creatine phosphate system, anaerobic glycolysis system, and your aerobic system.  All 3 of these systems are active all the time, but to different degrees based on what type of activity you are doing and for how long. 
For fat loss, the system we want to focus on is the aerobic system which can use fatty acids (and thus break down fat) as an energy source.  The system becomes our dominant energy provider after about 3-5 minutes of continuous exercise.  However, fatty acids do not become a major contributor to the system until about 20 minutes of continuous exercise.  This means that if you are trying to burn fat, you have to maintain continuous exercise for at least 20 minutes before your body can even start that.  Sorry to the 10 minute workout DVD owner.  Good news is that if you love your 10minute DVD, just hit play again!

If you are looking to improve performance:
Winning the race is going to take a little more than just desire.  The key, your VO2max.  That is the amount of oxygen your body can take in and use.  The higher your VO2max, the higher your performance capabilities.  Elite athletes like Lance Armstrong are famous for having outrageously high numbers.  In fact, Armstrong's max is subhuman (genetically higher than almost any human's), but it is still something to strive towards.  Great thing is, your VO2max is easily increased just with training! And for those looking to just get into a more active lifestyle, within 7 days of consistently working out (even for just 30 minutes), your VO2max will improve.

well i think that's enough to get yall started today! plus i have to get back to studying for my Metabolic final (tomorrow)!  look out for more on the topic though, coming soon: (fuel topics)

  • refueling on the run (are you someone who needs goo?)
  • eating before and after
want to read about something in particular? suggest it!  write a comment and I'll try to hit it asap

~Babs  :0 )

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