Are You Choosing the Best Workout to Reach Your Fitness Goals?




All forms of exercise are great for both your mind and body, but different workouts will give you different results. Some workouts will be great for weight loss, while others will be great for posture, but rarely does one specific workout check all of the boxes for all fitness goals.

Ask yourself first, what do you aim to achieve with exercise? and then read below to learn which of the various workouts are best to help you to reach your goals.

Goal: Live a long life

Best Workout: Walking

Walking is one of the best, if not the best, form of low impact aerobic activity. It’s a great workout for many reasons, including that it works your entire body, it’s easy on your joints, you can do it anywhere, and it helps to keep your heart strong.

Put it into action: Go for a 30 minute walk or more most days of the week and aim to get 10,000 steps or more per day. To increase the burn, swing your arms to get your upper body even more engaged – you’ll burn more calories and get stronger arms in the process!



Goal: Lose weight

Best Workouts: Running, swimming, power-walking, dance

All of the above exercises are best in terms of weight loss because they use the entire body. The more muscles of the body you use, the more calories you will burn. To lose weight fast, you need to burn as many calories as you can, which is exactly what the above exercises do.

Put it into action: Aim to do one of the above exercises 3-5 times per week. Take it up a notch and burn even more calories by mixing up your workouts daily. Keeping your body guessing is what really challenges your body and causes you to burn more calories



Goal: Add muscle tone

Best workouts: Strength training, high intensity interval training (HIIT)

Starting in your 30s, you begin losing muscle and this decline continues as you age. This means that as you get older, it is even more important to have a strength training routine in place!

Both strength training and high intensity interval training will help you to build and preserve muscle and will give you those ideal rounded curves and defined shape. Another perk of doing these exercises is that they will cause you to burn more calories at rest and after your workout is done, so they will also help you lose weight and maintain weight.

Put it into action: Aim to do the above exercises on non-consecutive days, a couple of times a week. 

Goal: Build strong bones

Best workout: Weight bearing exercises (running, dancing, hiking, lifting weights)

To increase and preserve the integrity of your bones, do exercise that makes you move your body against gravity while staying upright.

It is never to early to start thinking about how to preserve the integrity of your bones. How many times have you heard about an elderly person falling and breaking their hip or arm and then never quite recovering after? Probably a lot because this type of scenario is very common. If you are on the younger side, bone strength may not be a top priority in your life, but it definitely should be! Frailty and fractures in older age are debilitating and can lead to detrimental injuries that can derail the quality of life. 

Put it into action: Aim to lift weights and strength train a couple of times a week, walk as much as you can daily, and maybe add in some higher impact activities such as running or hiking if you are physically able to do so.



Goal: Improve posture

Best workout: Pilates, yoga

Both exercises require good posture and form and are great for lengthening the spine. Pilates is all about the core, and the stronger your core, the better your posture. Yoga is all about lengthening and stretching, which helps with posture as well.

Put it into action: Do pilates or yoga 1-2 times per week for an hour.



Goal: Improve flexibility

Best workout: Yoga

Flexibility is often overlooked but is incredibly important for both feeling your best and being able to do the activities you enjoy. Being more flexible and having greater range of motion will make you a better runner, swimmer, biker, you name it! You will also have less aches and pains and will be less prone to injury when you are more flexible.

Put it into action: Aim to do yoga 1-2 times per week for an hour.

Main takeaways…

As you can see, there are many different reasons an individual might want to exercise. No exercise is necessarily better than the other, what matters is what you are aiming to achieve with that exercise.




3 Tips to Maximize Your Calorie Burn Daily




First of all, why do we want to burn calories? We want to burn calories because generally the more calories you burn on a daily basis, the easier it will be to maintain a healthy weight. There are many different ways that your body will burn calories, both involuntary (such as breathing) and voluntary (such as movement). In this article we are going  to focus on how to burn more calories with voluntary movement.

3 tips to burn more calories everyday:

1. Cardio intervals

Cardio is great for many things, one of them being that it is the easiest way to burn a ton of calories in a short amount of time. Cardio in any form is good for you, but the harder you go, the higher the calorie burn. Get the most bang for your buck with cardio by adding intervals to your routine.

Short but high intensity intervals increases your metabolic rate, burns more calories, and causes you to continue burning calories even after your workout is over. 

Examples of how to incorporate intervals into your next workout:

  • If you are a walker, increase your pace for 30 seconds or even jog for 30 seconds if possible, then walk at your normal pace for 2 minutes. 
  • If you are a runner, sprint for 30 seconds, then run at your normal pace for 1-2 minutes. 
  • If you are cycling, sprint on the bike for 30 seconds, then go at your normal cycling pace for 2 minutes

Add intervals to your next routine to start burning more calories today.



2. Strength training

The calorie burning effects of strength training comes from both building muscle and preventing muscle loss. Muscle is very calorie hungry tissue, meaning you burn more calories just at rest to maintain that muscle mass. 

Add at least 2 days of strength training to your routine. If you are pressed for time (which most individuals are!) try to go for strength training moves that use muscles of the upper and lower body at the same time, such as a lunge with an overhead press.



3. “NEAT”

“NEAT” means “non-exercise activity thermogenesis” which is a fancy way of saying the calories your body burns outside from exercise. This is one of the biggest factors determining how many calories you will burn on any given day because NEAT is 24 hours a day, while scheduled exercise is generally under an hour.

Ways to increase NEAT:

  • Standing rather than sitting
  • Cooking rather than ordering delivery
  • Shopping at the mall rather than shopping online

To increase NEAT, you want to move and use your body as much as possible because those seemingly small movements will actually add up to hundreds more calories burned by the end of the day.

Main takeaways…

Move your body more and you will increase your metabolism and burn more calories everyday 🙂




 

Why Exercise Needs to be Part of Your Weight Loss Program




Losing weight and maintaining weight loss is incredibly complex, so complex that we still haven’t fully figured out how to get lasting results for the population – hello obesity epidemic! That being said, we do know certain factors that do make an impact and can help with weight loss. One of those big factors is exercise.

Read below to learn the major ways exercise will help you to lose the pounds:

Burns calories

Ok, you probably knew this one, but burning calories is how you lose weight and there is no more efficient way to burn a ton of calories in a shorter amount of time than exercise! Exercise also gives you more wiggle room in your diet so that if you slightly overeat, it’s ok because you gave yourself that calorie buffer. 



Increases metabolism

Exercise is one of the best ways to boost your metabolism, meaning it causes you to burn more calories at rest. Any amount of exercise will help to increase metabolism, but to really kick it up a notch try adding in high intensity intervals (short bursts of getting your heart rate elevated) and strength training. 

Helps you sleep better

If you’re not sleeping well, it is going to be much more difficult to lose weight and to keep it off. This is because not getting enough sleep causes your body to increase hormones that make you hungrier and makes you crave sweets. 

Exercising and moving your body on a daily basis makes your body physically need rest and sleep. When you get good sleep, this helps to keep your hunger levels in check, your energy levels steady, and your cravings down. 



Makes you feel good

Exercise releases feel good hormones and gives you a sense of accomplishment after finishing your tough workout (especially if you didn’t particularly want to workout), both of which will make it easier for you to stick to your healthy lifestyle.

Having a hard time getting yourself out the door to exercise? Think about how good you will feel after the workout is over – that’s what works for me!



Decreases stress eating

One of the biggest reasons individuals pile on the pounds is unfortunately due to stress eating. Exercise helps to combat this need to stress binge because it releases certain hormones that will suppress the stress inducing hormones, making you less likely to grab the bag of chips.

Next time you are feeling stressed, get yourself dressed and head out for a walk or a class at the gym. Not only will this make you feel better from the exercise high, but it will also feel good knowing that you didn’t binge on the couch which would make you feel even worse!

Decreases appetite

Exercise burns calories and decreases appetite – it’s a win-win!

Exercise releases appetite-suppressing hormones, meaning you will be less likely to overeat and more likely to stick to a healthy diet. 



Decreases cravings for junk food

After a hard workout, generally the last thing you want to do is blow all of those calories you worked hard to burn on a measly donut at the office. Exercise typically makes you more picky with your food choices because you know how hard you had to work to burn those calories.



Gives your body shape

When you diet, your body doesn’t just magically cause you to lose weight from your fat stores. Nope. Unfortunately, your body is going to go after your metabolically active muscle tissue first, meaning if you diet alone there is a good chance you are going to look a little flabby.

Exercise helps to combat the muscle loss and helps to preserve muscle so that your body still looks fit instead of saggy.

Main takeaways…

Keep in mind that weight loss is anything but black and white and there are many factors that go into a lasting weight loss program, one of those main factors being exercise.




 

How to Make Time in the Morning to Exercise




Read below for the best tips about how to make more time in the morning to squeeze a workout in.

Keep your phone on airplane mode

Before you go to sleep, change the setting on your phone to airplane mode. Airplane mode will turn off wifi and disconnect your from the internet. This way you won’t be tempted to scroll through your social media feeds, check email, or waste another other valuable time surfing the internet.



Pack your work bag the night before

If you have a job where you need to go into an office, then get your bag together the night before so you aren’t wandering around your house in the morning trying to find your keys or laptop. Place your bag by the door so you are ready to go.

Prep your breakfast and lunch

Prep your breakfast and lunch as best you can the night before. I do this by making sure coffee is already ground and ready for me to brew, and I use leftovers from the night before often for my lunch.



Set out your work clothes

Think about how much time you waste in the morning trying to pick out an outfit. Save time here by setting out your work clothes the night before so you are ready to jump into them after you workout.

Set out your exercise clothes

This makes the barrier to entry much shorter because your workout clothes are there waiting for you to put on. Just having your workout clothes set out puts you into the mindset that you are going to workout and it cuts the time you take trying to pick out a workout outfit.



Use dry shampoo

You definitely want to shower after a workout, but washing and drying your hair can really add a ton of time to your morning! So if you are someone with long hair, dry shampoo is a huge time saver. Dry shampoo wicks up excess oils in your scalp to give your hair some volume after a sweaty workout.

Do high intensity interval training (HIIT)

HIIT means you are doing a short but very intense workout. It is my favorite form of exercise because it is super efficient and effective.

For example, most mornings I will do a 30 minute interval run where I switch off from doing sprints and a comfortable pace. You can do this with virtually any type of exercise, but the more muscle groups you use, the greater the strength gains and the calories burned.



Go to bed earlier

Count back 7 or 8 hours from when you need to wake up to workout, and make that your new bedtime. Just because you are starting to workout in the morning does not mean you should or need to skimp on sleep.

Eat breakfast after you workout

I am a big fan of eating after a workout for many reasons, one of them being that it saves time in the morning – plus you will enjoy your breakfast more because you already accomplished a goal for the morning.



Have a workout plan

Plan your workouts for the week or even just the night before so that you are not wandering around the gym. Have a plan and go straight into it.



Avoid socializing

There is a time and place to socialize, and it is definitely not at the gym first thing in the morning when you are trying to fit in a workout. Of course if you see a friend say hello, but keep it brief because every minute counts!

Main takeaways…

Just about everyone can fit in exercise in the morning, it’s all about having a plan and streamlining your morning to make it happen 🙂




How to Fit In Exercise While Traveling




Travel is something that we all do at some point in time, whether it be for work or for vacation, and so you probably know that traveling can make it hard to stick to your workout routine. The best way to stay in shape while traveling is to have a plan before you travel, and to schedule exercise into your daily activities. Read below the best ways to incorporate exercise into your travels.

Find a gym

The best case scenario is that your hotel will have a gym, but if not, find a gym nearby that offers a daily pass for you to use the facilities. If you are staying with family or friends then plan to go with them to the gym and use their guest pass – this is a great way to stay active and spend time with your family.



Find a fitness class

Many travel destinations will have local studios that offer fitness classes, such as yoga, spin, or bootcamp like classes. Look up what is available in your travel destination and even consider booking a class before you get there so that it is already built into your travel schedule.

Download an app

There are tons of fitness apps out there that will deliver a workout straight to your phone. This is a great tool if you are traveling to more of a rural area or an area with great scenery because you can bring this workout outside.



Use your feet

Walking is one of the very best ways to keep fit while traveling because it is low impact, it burns a lot of calories, and it will also save you money! Walking is also an activity that most healthy individuals of all ages will have no problem doing.

I always recommend walking at least 10,000 steps, which you should have no problem reaching when traveling.



Embrace the amenities

This means you should make an effort to use the active amenities your hotel offers. Depending on where you are traveling, this could mean going snow shoeing, going for a hike, surfing, etc. This is also a great way to spend time with your friends and/or family that you are traveling with.

Main takeaways…

There are many ways to incorporate fitness into your travels, you just have to have a plan beforehand 🙂 



 

8 Tips to Make Yourself a Morning Workout Person




If you’ve read through some of my articles, then you already know that I am a huge fan of exercising first thing in the morning. The morning is definitely the best time to exercise for many reasons, including how it will boost your energy, even your mood, decrease stress, and allow you to go about your day without worrying how you are going to fit in your workout. That being said, It is much easier said than done when it comes to getting yourself to exercise first thing in the morning.

Below lists the top 8 ways to become a morning workout person:




1. Set your clothes out the night before

The less you have to fiddle with in the morning, the better. Make it easier on yourself by setting out your workout clothes so that they are ready to go for you. You won’t have time to talk yourself out of it.

2. Plan your workout ahead of time

Planning your workout makes it more likely that you will be doing that workout. Know what your workout is going into it, so you know what to expect and you can look forward to it.



3. Tell yourself the downsides of not working out

It’s hard for everyone to just get up and go exercise and using some mind tricks on yourself is a great way to get yourself to do it! Think about the downside of not working out. Will you feel tired? Moody? More stressed? Probably all of the above! Tell yourself how bad you will feel if you don’t just get up and go, it will work!

4. Imagine how you will feel AFTER you exercise

This goes along with the above. Think about how great you will feel after your workout is done. Not only does it make you feel good both physically and mentally, but it also makes you feel a sense of accomplishment – which is what you want first thing in the morning!



5. Keep it short but effective

If you worry about having enough time in the morning, then make your workout intense and workout for a shorter amount of time. This is another way of saying high intensity interval training, or HIIT. This type of exercise is even more effective than long steady-state exercise anyway, plus it saves a ton of time!

6. Go to bed early

Count back 7-8 hours from when you need to wake-up and make this your new bedtime. You want to get enough sleep so that you will feel rested and your body will be ready to tackle a workout in the morning. Read more about why you should make a sleep a priority here. 



7. Consider a cup of coffee

If you have a little extra time in the morning and feel like you need a few minutes to wake up before you go straight into your workout, then consider having a cup of coffee in the morning. Drinking coffee before a workout has shown to boost fat burning – read more about the benefits of drinking coffee here.

8. Bring a friend

If you can get your friend or partner to workout with you in the morning, the better! This will keep you more accountable for your workout because you won’t want to let them down!

Main takeaways…

Anyone can become a morning workout person, it just takes some planning and determination to start making it a lasting habit.




 

Top 5 Ways To Make Exercise A Habit




Exercise is one of the very best things you can do for yourself. Exercise helps with mood, prevents cancer and disease, keeps you in shape – exercise literally does it all. That being said, exercise is also one of the hardest things to make a habit, especially if you are someone who didn’t grow up playing sports or its been a long time since you last worked out.

Below lists the top 5 ways to make exercise a habit:




1. Add it into your daily schedule

Schedule in a workout as if it were an appointment. Block out time that is fully dedicated to working out and stick to it. Many individuals will say that they don’t have time to exercise, which is a cop-out. You make time for important things in your life, and exercise should be one of them.



2. Do it first thing in the morning

Exercising first thing in the morning is the best time for everyone, especially for those who lack motivation to workout. This way you are making exercise a priority, and there is nothing that can get in the way of your workout.

For example, think of those times you have meant to workout after work or later in the day and you had to skip it because a meeting ran late, or something came up that prevented you from getting to your workout. Don’t let this happen and just workout first thing in the morning.

3. Set your clothes out, pack your bag

Streamline your morning by setting everything up the night before. This includes setting your clothes out, packing your bag for work, preparing your lunch and breakfast if possible for the next day. Make it as easy as possible for yourself in the morning to save time to allow you to get your workout in.



4. Remind yourself that something is better than nothing

For those days when you really don’t feel like getting out of bed, or you feel super tired, just tell yourself you’ll exercise for 10 minutes. Usually that 10 minutes will turn into a full workout, but it not, tell yourself that its ok! Some days will better than others, and know that you will have a better workout the next day.



5. Choose an exercise you enjoy

Enjoying the type of exercise you are doing is probably the most important part of making exercise a lasting habit. Remember, exercise is time for yourself – so you should like it! If you are hating the workout, that workout is not for you. Find something you enjoy, and stick with it.

Main takeaways..

It is never too late to start exercising. Exercising daily is one of the very best things you can do, so start making exercise a priority in your life today.




How to Get Motivated to Exercise




If you generally lack motivation to workout, you are definitely not alone! Motivation to exercise is definitely one of the most common questions I get from our community as well as in practice. Contrary to popular belief, it actually seems that the majority of individuals are not inherently motivated to exercise, and here is some other driving force that is the motivator.

Below are the top ways to get yourself motivated to exercise:




Think about how you feel after exercise

This is probably my personal greatest motivator to exercise. I think about how great I feel after the exercise is done. Exercising does many things to your body and brain, including:

  • Boosts energy
  • Increases focus
  • Boosts feel good hormones
  • Boosts calming hormones
  • Decreases stress hormones

Try to keep the above in mind before you exercise, it will help to get you motivated.



Think about how you feel if you don’t exercise

This is another great motivator to get yourself to exercise. How might you feel if you don’t exercise? Tired? Disappointed in yourself? Sad? All of the above? Tell yourself that you can avoid all of those bad feelings if you had just exercises for a few minutes. This is another personal motivator for me. I don’t want to look back at regret thinking about how much better I would have felt had I taken just 30 minutes out of the day to exercise.



Tell yourself you’ll do only 10 minutes

Often the hardest part about exercising is getting yourself to exercise. Instead of thinking about your long dreadful workout, tell yourself that you are only going to do 10 minutes, and after that you can stop. If you set the bar low, it will make you feel even better if you go longer.

Exercise first thing in the morning

I always recommend scheduling your workout first thing in the morning, and one big reason for this is that it decreases the time you can talk yourself out of exercising.

Lay your workout clothes out the night before, once your alarm goes off, just get up and go. The less time you have to think about talking yourself out of the workout, the less likely you are to talk yourself out of it!



Recruit a friend

If you know you have a friend to workout with, this can prevent you from canceling your workout session because then you would have to cancel on your friend. Find a class that you like to do and see if one of your friends or even your partner would like to start going to it with you. This is a great way to get motivated and stay on track.



Keep a record

Write down your workouts in your phone or a notebook, and keep track of your progress. Take this to the next level and share your workout activity with a friend or family member. Knowing that someone else is keeping track of your workouts is a great motivator to stay on track.

I use this motivator with my family members and we track each other using the “share” feature on the apple watch. If you know someone is watching, this can be the push you need to make working out a habit.



Set goals

This tip goes along with keeping a record or your exercise. Take note of your exercises, including duration, speed, intensity, incline, etc. You can do this for virtually any exercise. For example, say you just started running. Try to get faster and see how long you can go without giving yourself a break. If you are lifting weights, try to increase the weight and reps you can do. Sets goals for yourself, say you want to be able to run a full thirty minutes without stopping or you want to run a mile under 10 minutes, or you want to get the resistance up on the elliptical. No goal is too small, and small goals add up in the end to huge changes.

Make it fun

Make your fitness routine fun, do something that you enjoy doing. If you absolutely hate running, then this is not the workout for you. If you love doing yoga, then do yoga and try to incorporate more intense sessions such as with vinyasa and power yoga. It really doesn’t matter what exercise you do, but it does matter whether you enjoy it or not.

Main takeaways…

Try one or more of the above tips and I guarantee it will make you feel more motivated to make exercise a priority.



 

Amazing Benefits of Yoga




There are so many benefits of yoga for both the mind and body that everyone can benefit from. Yoga is definitely an exercise for all individuals, you do not have to be inherently flexible or athletic. You also do not need to go all the time to achieve the health benefits – albeit the more you go, the better you will feel, but just one session is beneficial for both your mind and body and you will feel the effects immediately. 

Below lists the top benefits of yoga:




1. Tones and strengthens your entire body

Yoga is a full body workout, meaning it works the upper body, lower body, and core. The more muscles you can work at the same time, the more efficient and effective the workout. Muscles are your metabolically active tissue meaning they burn calories for you – even at rest. The more muscle you have and the more muscles you engage during exercise, leads to greater strength gains and greater calorie burn. Constantly changing movement in different directions and alternating between holding positions and rapid movements keeps your body guessing – meaning greater strength gain and more calories burned.



2. Increase flexibility and range of motion

Yoga lengthens and stretches muscles so that overtime they become more elastic and their range of motion increases. We want to increase our range of motion and become more flexible because this decreases the chance of muscular injury and also allows us to use more muscle fibers – which again makes us get stronger and burn more calories. Studies have found that yoga is even better for increasing flexibility than static stretching – read more about this here.



3. Recover faster from a workout

Yoga stretches and lengthens muscles, which is what you want to do after a hard workout. Yoga enhances blood flow throughout the body which sends oxygen and other factors that help to repair and rebuild muscle tissue that was broken down during exercise. The quicker this can happen, the sooner you will build muscle and the sooner you can do another workout without further muscle breakdown. 




4. Increases mindfulness

Yoga has you place your attention on the present, and forces you to be mindful of your movements. Practicing mindfulness during yoga helps to train the mind to practice mindfulness outside of doing yoga. Mindfulness is all about the present, taking in the world around you and not thinking of the past or the future.



5. Stress reliever

Yoga is a great way to relieve stress because it incorporates deep breathing and emphasizes keeping your mind on the present – rather than worrying about yesterday or the future. This increases a state of calmness and mental clarity, which decreases stress in the brain as well as stress throughout the body.

6. Burns calories

Yoga is not always thought as being a calorie-torching workout, but it definitely can be! It’s all about the type of yoga you do, as well as the instructor that you have. Vinyasa Yoga and Power Yoga are common yoga classes that should definitely give you a cardio and strength training workout in one. 



7. Prevents aches and pains

Did you know that the number one way to treat and prevent back pain is a strong core? Yoga is all about keeping the core strong and just about all exercises in yoga incorporate the core. Think about when you’ve gone to reach for something or fell and you feel like you strained your back or shoulder. This is due to tight muscles, because tight muscles don’t want to move very far and when they are stretched too far this causes pain and maybe even a tear.

Real life example:

I always ask my older patients who are super fit and pain-free, what their secret it to staying healthy. The common theme that I always hear is that they stretch and practice yoga regularly.



8. Enhances physical performance

As discussed above, yoga increases range of motion, flexibility, strength, and recovery, which all together allow for you to perform other exercises with more ease. The greater you can bend and lengthen, the deeper into the exercise you can get.

Real life example:

When I was training for the New York City Marathon I did yoga at least once a week. Not once did I get hurt or feel like I pulled something. This was my first marathon, as well as my first race ever, and I ran completely pain-free as well as running the marathon under 4 hours!  I highly credit my performance by maintaining yoga as part of my training program.



9. Improves posture

Good posture is incredibly important for preventing pain in the back, shoulders, head, and neck. When your back and neck are rounded when you are slouching, this puts more pressure  and strain on those muscles, which overtime can lead to permanent changes to the spine. Yoga is all above lengthening the spine, and helps to promote good posture even outside of the class.



10. Keeps your weight in check

Yoga is a great practice to keep you in shape because it burns calories, builds muscle, and increases mindfulness and reduces stress. All of these factors go into weight management, and yoga is a great way to check all of the boxes necessary to keep you at a healthy weight.



Main takeaways…

If you have never tried yoga give it a try! And if you’ve tried yoga and you didn’t like it, try it again and try it with a different instructor. I’ve learned that the instructor is everything when it comes to yoga. A bad one can make you never want to do yoga again, and a good one can make you want to do it everyday.



References

  1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/yoga-benefits-beyond-the-mat
  2. https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/comparison-of-yoga-versus-static-stretching-for-increasing-hip-and-shoulder-range-of-motion-2329-9096.1000208.php?aid=28562
  3. http://www.osteopathic.org/osteopathic-health/about-your-health/health-conditions-library/general-health/Pages/yoga.aspx




Do I have to exercise to be healthy?




 

This is a very common question I get in practice as well as from our online community. Exercising is one of the very best things you can do for your mind and body, and is extremely important for your overall health. 

Below lists the top 10 reasons to exercise daily:




1. Increases insulin sensitivity

The less insulin you need the better your health will be, period. Exercise makes your insulin work better, meaning less insulin is needed to get sugar out of your blood – because too much sugar in your blood is toxic). Insulin acts as the driving force behind weight gain – which is why it is referred to as the fat storage hormone – as well Type II Diabetes. Read more about this here.



2. Mood boosting

Exercise is the number one natural way to relieve stress and boost feelings of happiness. Exercising the body causes chemical reactions in your cells that will stimulate the feel good hormones and at the same time suppress the stress hormones.



3. Prevents muscle and joint pain

According to the Mayo Clinic, “exercise is crucial for people with arthritis” aka joint pain. This is because exercise increases range of motion, strengthens the muscles around joints, increases flexibility, and helps to maintain bone strength.



4. Boosts metabolism

The best exercises to boost metabolism include high intensity interval training and strength training, but all forms of exercise will boost metabolism to some degree. As we get older our metabolism starts to decline, meaning we need less food to keep us at our present weight. Hormones also change as we age that can make us more likely to gain weight and hold onto fat. For this reason, having an exercise regimen in place is key and sooner rather than later because it gets harder to change habits as time goes on.



5. Keeps your bones strong

Putting pressure on your bones makes them stronger and decreases chance of bone fractures as you age. Weight bearing activities are the best ways to strengthen your bones, where you are using gravity as resistance to the exercise. These types of exercises include strength training, walking, running, and circuit training. Fractures are extremely common with age, so protect yourself as much as you can now. 



6. Lowers blood sugar naturally

Exercising causes your muscles to burn through strings of sugar called glycogen to be used for energy. When glycogen gets depleted from exercise, the body will restore the glycogen by taking in glucose from the blood. The more muscle you have, the greater amount of glucose you can store as glycogen – and the more muscle you have, the more glycogen you are going to burn through. This is why having more muscle will help to keep your blood sugar normal. Read more about this here.



7. Increases energy

Exercise increases hormones in your body that wake you up, help with concentration, and keep you focused to tackle your daily activities. This is why I recommend individuals exercise in the morning or earlier in the day when possible to reap all of energy-boosting benefits. 



8. Improves sleep

Exercising daily is one of the best ways to get your body ready for sleep. Ideally you should exercise in the morning or afternoon, and avoid vigorous exercise right before bed because that can make you revved up and make it harder for you to fall asleep.



9. Decreases constipation and bloating

Use gravity to help get things moving. Exercise that is best for this includes anything upright, such as jump rope or running. In this way gravity is helping to pull things down your digestive tract for elimination.



10. Increases good cholesterol

Exercise is one of the very best ways to increase your HDL cholesterol, aka “good” cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is closely linked to heart health, and the higher the HDL, the greater the protective benefit. The other main ways to boost HDL cholesterol involve maintaining a health weight and eating a healthy diet.



Main takeaways…

To answer the above question, yes, you do have to exercise for health. The key is to make exercise fun and do exercise that you like doing. Exercise can be anything that gets you moving, whether it be dancing or rock climbing, all forms of exercise are great!




References

  1. https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/managing-diabetes/treatment-approaches/increasing-insulin-sensitivity/
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/arthritis/in-depth/arthritis/art-20047971
  3. https://www.nof.org/patients/fracturesfall-prevention/exercisesafe-movement/osteoporosis-exercise-for-strong-bones/
  4. https://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/HDLLDLTriglycerides/HDL-Good-LDL-Bad-Cholesterol-and-Triglycerides_UCM_305561_Article.jsp
  5. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/hdl-cholesterol/art-20046388?pg=2




 

4 Steps To Losing Fat and Keeping It Off




There is so much diet advice out there it can be very hard to understand what you should actually do to stay healthy. The best thing to understand is that diets do not work. You have to change your lifestyle in a way that you can continue for the rest of your life. This doesn’t mean you can’t adapt your lifestyle over time, but understand that a diet you follow for a couple of months that you can’t see yourself following forever is not going to work.

Below lists the 4 steps to lose fat and to stay fit for life:




1. First start with diet

Cut out the sugar, processed foods, cut back on your refined carbohydrate servings. Instead eat as many vegetables as you can, add a serving or two of fat and protein at each meal, and aim to get at least 5 grams of fiber at each meal. If you are hungry within 3 hours of eating, make your meals larger by adding a serving of fiber, fat, or protein. Think “FFP” at every meal: fiber, fat, and protein. This combination is what is going to keep you full, maintain your muscle mass, and help you burn more calories all day.



2. Move as much as you can

Stand rather than sit, take the stairs rather than escalator, and aim to get at least 10,000 steps per day. All of these small movements add up over time and have a great effect on your total metabolic rate. This is more important than exercising at the gym for an hour a couple days a week. It is way more important to be active everyday all day.



3. Add in smart exercise

This means strength training and interval training. Both of these exercise types help to build and maintain muscle mass. Again, the first two steps are more important than structured exercise. Added exercise will help to lose fat faster only when the two above steps are met.



4. Sleep

You must absolutely get adequate sleep to be fit. Sleep is when your body builds itself up after exercise, keeps hormones in check that control hunger and fullness, and controls your stress hormones. If you are not sleeping enough, it is going to be very VERY hard to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. How much sleep you need is very individualized. You may need only 6 hours while another individual may need 9 hours. It is very important to learn how much sleep your body needs, and is essential for your health.

Main takeaways…

Diet is king in terms of getting to a healthy weight and maintaining a healthy weight, then comes movement, then exercise. Sleep is essential for a healthy mind and body as well and is another key to optimal fitness and overall health.




Top 5 Exercise Equipment For A Full-Body Workout




Full-body exercise provides you with the most efficient and effective type of workout because it incorporates both the upper and lower body muscles. The more muscles you work, the greater amount of energy you use, meaning more calories burned in a shorter amount of time compared to workouts that only focus on upper or lower body muscles. When you engage your upper and lower body muscles at the same time, this also requires you to engage your core without even realizing it. 

Below lists the best full-body exercise equipment for the greatest calorie burn:

1. Elliptical

The elliptical is one of the best ways to get a full-body workout. Make sure you choose a resistance where you are really pushing and pulling on the handles as well as the pedals. To get the greatest calorie burn be sure to choose the elliptical that allows for the greatest range of motion for your arms and legs, such as with the Arc Trainer. The Arc trainer has been proven to burn 16% more calories compared to other ellipticals, and is a great way to burn calories and boost metabolism. 



2. Treadmill

A treadmill is a great way to work your entire body and it is great for both beginners and for experienced exercisers. To increase the calorie burn make sure to pump your arms when walking or running – this will also help to tone the muscles of your arms. To increase the calorie burn even more, increase the incline on the treadmill or try intervals of fast walking or sprinting followed by short periods of jogging or walking.



3. Pool

If your gym has a pool then try a water aerobics class or do some laps. Swimming is an amazing workout because it is zero impact and you use every part of your body to proper yourself forward. It is also incredibly versatile in that there are so many different swimming styles that will place more emphasis on different muscles.



4. Row machine

The row machine definitely does not get enough attention. It works out your arms, legs, and core – what else could you ask for! It is also very low impact so it is good for those who can’t run or have a hard time in the vertical position.



5. Versaclimber

This is a newer and often over-looked pice of gym equipment. It’s similar to an elliptical but it is vertical and it almost feels like you are climbing up a ladder. It’s definitely a killer workout, try it next time! If you are not sure what a Versaclimber is, check it out here.



Main takeaways…

If you have been doing the same exercise over and over again and you want to switch it up but still get an awesome workout, then try one of the above pieces of gym equipment that you haven’t tried before.