Exercise

In my post titled “Cross Training, Health and Fat Loss“, I mentioned that cardio training will help you in both your fat loss and strength training programs. Your heart is made up of a group of muscles that work together to pump blood throughout your body. These muscles benefit from exercise in much the same way your arm and leg muscles benefit when they are exercised.

Cardio Training is designed to exercise your heart muscles, increase your lung capacity and reduce the causes of stress within your body.

Heart attacks often happen when arteries to the heart are either blocked or have restricted blood flow. Numerous studies have shown that cardio interval training helps the body create new blood vessels to the heart. These smaller blood vessels supply extra blood when you are exercising and your heart muscles need more blood flow and they can supply blood to your heart if your primary blood vessels become partially blocked. These extra blood vessels are effective in reducing your risk of a heart attack simply by being present as an alternative route for the blood to reach the heart if needed.

The best way to prevent a heart attack is to eat healthy and avoid other risk factors such as smoking but adding cardio training to your routine sure helps create a little extra insurance.

Some recent studies have shown that aggressive strength training can help your muscles stay young at the cellular level. I haven’t seen any studies that have shown that a good strong cardio training program will keep your heart young but I’m willing to bet it helps.

Cardio training is also a great way to reduce stress. Swimming, jogging, yoga and walking are just a few of the different types of exercises that give your cardiovascular system a workout.

Why wouldn’t you want to add cardio training to your healthy diet and strength training when stronger heart muscles, increased lung capacity, increased metabolism, increased blood flow and reduced body stress are possible benefits?

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Cross training is the integration of multiple disciplines or exercises into a single exercise routine. Many people know and accept the fact that exercise is needed for good health. Fat loss is maximized by your healthy diet, the exercise program you’ve chosen and the consistency of your actions in both your diet and exercise programs. The reasons for incorporating cross training into your exercise routine vary from person to person but two of them are to relieve boredom and another is to maximize the benefits of exercising.

Resistance (strength) training is important because strong and healthy muscles burn more calories when exercised properly. Strong and healthy muscles are also important in many of your daily activities. Some of the activities that require strength are carrying groceries, children, laundry, walking and good posture. Combine resistance training with a diet that provides fewer calories than you burn with your activities and your body will get the energy it needs by burning fat.

Adding cardio workouts to your exercise program lets you benefit in multiple ways.

1. You will be using different muscle groups than you do while doing your resistance training. Resting a muscle group for two days after exercising it gives the muscles time to both rest and grow. (Your muscles, rest, heal and grow during the downtime after you exercise them.)

2. Adding rowing, cycling, walking, jogging or some other discipline to your exercise program gives you variety so you will be more likely to stick with your exercise program to achieve your fat loss and health goals.

3. By using strength training every other day and focusing on different muscle groups, you are maximizing your efforts. When you add cardio training on the off days of your strength training, you are building up your heart muscle strength, lungs and increasing your blood flow which will help with your strength training.

Reserve the seventh day for rest so your body can return to its normal resting state. This gives your mind, body and nerves a chance to relax and heal or grow.

Make a lifelong commitment to cross training and eating healthy and you’ll be rewarded with a longer and healthier life

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Yes! People exercise for many reasons with a few being health, weight loss, weight management and pleasure. Whatever your reason is for exercise, you want to get the maximum benefit out of the time you spend exercising. You will not get the most out of your efforts without warming up and cooling down.

The Role of the Warm Up.

The stretching and warm up exercises you do before you start your full workout let you prepare your muscles and body for the changes that take place during strenuous activity. Exercising requires more fluids, more nutrients to the cells, more oxygen, a higher heart rate and an increase in respiration.

You should drink plenty of water about 20 minutes before you plan to exercise. You’ll lose water during your exercising so proper hydration before you start will help you prevent muscle cramps due to dehydration. Proper fluid levels before during and after exercising will let your body more efficiently deliver the oxygen and nutrients it needs.

Slowly stretching the muscles you’ll be using will loosen the muscles you’ll be using, loosen up the joints involved, prepares the nervous system for exercise and heightens your mental awareness and focus. Slowly stretch and hold your position for about 20 seconds before relaxing. Do not bounce or do a quick stretch and release because these resemble muscle contractions and you can actually cause damage to muscles or joints that aren’t naturally lubricated yet.

The kind of warm up you do should be influenced by the exercises you will be doing. Runners my do twists and extensions in place. Slow riding on a stationary bicycle may be another warm up method in addition to the twisting. Martial art participants may go through the movements used in slow motion to let the body remember and get acclimated to the moves. Weight lifters may start out doing the full number of reps they intend to do during their session but at half the weight that will be used during the peak. A second set of reps may be done at 80 percent of the full workout weight but only 2-3 reps. A third set at 90 percent with 2-3 reps will complete the warm up. Rest for about 30 seconds then do your full workout with the full weight load and your body will experience less stress and you’ll get the maximum benefit out of the workout.

Warming up before you exercise helps your body function at its best which means you burn the most calories and have a reduced risk of injury.

The Role of the Cool Down.

The cool down helps your body return to its normal blood flow, oxygen levels and heart rate to reduce the risk of muscle cramps or a heart attack.

Drink more water after you exercise. Water will help the body cool itself and help eliminate toxins.

Stretch your core muscles plus the muscle groups used during your exercise and hold each position for at least 60 seconds during your cool down. This stretching session while your muscles are heated helps cool them and increases your flexibility. Do not forget to stretch you neck while doing your warm up and cool down. You may not realize it but these muscles will be tensed during your exercise and they deserve the same stretching attention as every other muscle group.

Your cool down stretches also give your mind and body a chance to relax from their focused and stressed states to their normal working levels. You may find these cool down stretches as a way to relieve your tired mind and body so you can more fully enjoy the workout you just completed.

Getting the most that you can out of your exercise program you’ve chosen is your goal and warming up before exercising and cooling down after that exercise will help you get the most benefit for the time spent which should be the most rewarding and pleasurable.

If you really want to take control of your exercise program to burn fat and gain muscle, I recommend the book Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle written by Tom Venuto who is a natural body builder, certified personal trainer, certified strength and conditioning specialist and nutritionist.

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Ask Dr. Wayne Garland a specialist in natural remedies and natural products.



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