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SHAPE UP YOUR LIFE

By Luigi Gratton, M.D., M.P.H.

Anytime is the right time to get outdoors, get in shape and renew our commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Here are some helpful hints to keep in mind as you shape up.

1.  TAKE  TIME  TO  WARM  UP

Spending 5 to 10 minutes warming up prepares your body for exercise. Walk before jogging. Jog before running. Just warm up at a pace that gradually gets your heart beating at 50 to 60 percent of your maximum heart rate. And don’t forget to stretch. Moving from side to side warms your muscles and prepares them for exercise. Warm muscles allow for a greater range of motion for your joints and make injuries less likely as well.

2.  THINK  VARIETY

Have you ever started a fitness program and then let it fizzle out? The reason could have been boredom. A program that includes several fitness activities–for example, walking or biking on Mondays and Wednesdays and playing tennis or swimming on Fridays and Sundays–will help maintain your interest and keep you motivated. Need a change of scenery? Try varying the place you exercise with a new route for walking or biking. Having different options can allow you to pick the one that suits your mood and keeps your fitness program feeling fresh.

3.  GET  YOUR  ANTIOXIDANTS

Don’t forget about the important role that proper nutrition plays in achieving an active lifestyle. Since exercise can increase the formation of free radicals, it’s always good to have some extra protection. Antioxidants, such as Vitamin C and beta-carotene, may play a role in preventing cellular injury and delaying muscle fatigue. Try to get at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, as they are packed with powerful antioxidants. Our targeted nutrition products also provide key antioxidants that protect muscles and joints against exercise-induced oxidative stress. So, remember to add antioxidants to your diet and get the most out of your fitness program.

 

SEVEN WAYS TO LOOK GREAT

Target These Major Muscle Groups
By  Luigi  Gratton,  M.D.,  M.P.H.

What is the easiest way to work the whole body? Very simply, I developed what I call “The Simple 7”–the seven main muscle groups we work on throughout the week. The Simple 7 includes:

  • Chest
  • Biceps  (Front  of  arms)
  • Triceps  (Back  of  arms)
  • Abs  (can  be  worked  daily)
  • Back
  • Front  of  legs
  • Back  of  legs

Generally, I split a workout between alternating days: The first day I will work upper body, the next day lower body. Again, work abs every day to help strengthen the core. Doing some healthy cardio means a good 15 minutes of elevated heart rate. There is plenty of evidence to support the notion that 15 minutes of cardio daily has profound impact on heart health.

Don’t worry about trying to spend an hour on a treadmill; the added benefit is minimal and may actually work against you.

There are approximately 260 muscles in the body. So why just work on seven and why these seven? Well, it’s all about getting the most bang for your effort. When exercising, it’s best to work on large muscle groups. It’s as if you are fine-tuning a regular car engine as opposed to an engine in a toy boat. The larger the muscle, the more metabolic benefit, and the bigger the payoff when it comes to weight maintenance. The Simple 7 group consists of the fewest number of muscle groups one has to work on to achieve maximum benefit in an exercise routine. You can exercise with more or less, but if you attack these particular muscles, then you will achieve maximum benefit. Also, it’s important to realize that the body is a balanced machine, and you must work the lower with the upper, and the back with the front. The seven muscle groups provide total balance in an easy way.

 

HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU WORK OUT?
By  Luigi  Gratton,  M.D.,  M.P.H.

How much you work out depends on your schedule, but I recommend three to five times a week. I work out daily, but I incorporate tremendous variety into my routine for a number of reasons. One reason is to always keep it interesting. Another reason is to move the stress around the body. You don’t want to repeat the same exercise every day, because that will wear on the joints, bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments.

I generally recommend splitting up the week. For those of you who can only work out three days a week, which I consider the minimum, either rotate Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Or you can do Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. This allows one day in between for rest. This rest time gives the body an opportunity to grow and repair from the damage caused by exercise. Within those three days, you can rotate exercises, so Monday would be upper body and abs, Wednesday, lower body and abs, then Friday, upper body and abs again. The following Monday, you could rotate so that Monday is lower body and abs, Wednesday is upper body and abs, and then Friday is lower body and abs again.

This allows that necessary rest time between exercises for optimal muscle health. Three days a week is the basic minimum routine. On each day, the workouts should be split between cardio and resistance: 30 minutes of each is perfect. The cardio exercises should be rotated as well, so that Monday is the treadmill, Wednesday is the bike, and Friday is the elliptical. This again allows variety so that you’re not bored, and it spreads the stress around the body’s tissues so as to avoid overuse injuries that are so common.

If you prefer to exercise more, then five or even six days a week is recommended. With more days, you can split up your workouts more. For example, Monday, instead of just doing upper body, you do very specific upper body such as chest and biceps with abs. Remember, abs are done every day to strengthen your core. Then Tuesday you could do specific lower body such as quads, calves and abs. Going on to Wednesday, you’re back to upper body so that you’re doing upper back, triceps and abs; Thursday, hamstrings and abs. Then Friday you can repeat your Monday workout so that you’ve come full circle and have given your body ample time to rest. This is the best workout for the individual who does not have time to spend two hours in the gym every day.

The cardio exercise should be done after your strength workout. I prefer this for a couple of reasons. First, you will not be as tired for your strength training, for which it is important to be well rested. A second reason is sweat. After running on a treadmill or stair stepper for 30 minutes, your body’s sweat and salts are coming out of your pores, which makes for a more challenging weight workout. The bar may be slipping from your grasp; you’ll be sliding around in the machines, and so forth. So try to do weights first, then cardio. The only reason I recommend some people start with cardio is that those individuals are very tight and tell me that their muscles are cold in the morning. For these people, I think cardio beforehand may actually improve their workouts. It tends to make them more limber and gets the blood circulating around the body.

 

ACTIVITIES THAT TURN UP THE HEAT
By  Susan  Bowerman,  M.S.,  R.D.,  C.S.S.D.

When it comes to burning calories, most of us want to get as much mileage out of our exercise as possible. For many, the more calories we burn, the better we feel about our workout. While energy expenditure should not be the only measure of a good workout (remember: it’s good for you and it makes you feel better too!), it is helpful to know what a given activity might be costing you in terms of calories.

A word of caution, though, about counting calories: Simply burning more calories will take you only so far down the road to better health. A well-balanced, low-fat diet, plenty of rest and a healthy attitude are also essential. And, of course, all things in moderation–including exercise.

READING  THE  CHART:

The numbers of the chart on the next page correspond to how many calories individuals burn per hour during different activities. There are a few things you should keep in mind as you review this chart. With exercise, it really is true that you get out of it what you put into it. Simply showing up for class and going through the motions is not going to do you much good. To get the most out of your exercise session, give it your all, even if your all is less than what others might be doing. And don’t forget to look for little ways to increase the number of calories you burn each day. You might be surprised to learn that it is possible to burn more calories simply by becoming more active in your everyday life. Doing things like using the stairs, walking to the mailbox instead of driving, and doing active chores around the house are great ways to burn additional calories.

Calorie-Burning Activity Chart

As an example for how to use this chart, look up how many calories you’re burning by engaging in different activities. The more active the exercise, the more calories you burn.

MODERATE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

APPROXIMATE CALORIES/HOUR FOR

 

A 154-POUND PERSON*

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hiking

370

 

Light gardening/yard work

330

 

Dancing

330

 

Golf (walking and carrying  clubs)

330

 

Bicycling (<10 mph)

290

 

Walking (3.5 mph)

280

 

Weight lifting (general light workout)

220

 

Stretching

180

 

 

 

 

VIGOROUS  PHYSICAL  ACTIVITY

APPROXIMATE  CALORIES/HOUR  FOR

 

A  154-POUND  PERSON*

 

 

 

 

 

 

Running/jogging (5 mph)

590

 

Bicycling (>10 mph)

590

 

Swimming (slow freestyle laps)

510

 

Aerobics

480

 

Walking (4.5 mph)

460

 

Heavy yard work (chopping wood)

440

 

Weight lifting (vigorous effort)

440

 

Basketball (vigorous)

440

 

 

*Calories burned per hour will be higher for persons who weigh more than 154 pounds (70 kg), and lower for persons who weigh less. Adapted from: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005.

 

 

HOW MUCH DOES IT TAKE
TO BURN IT OFF?

Many people tend to overestimate the calories burned through exercise, and assume that a little exercise will burn off the calories in any indulgence. The chart below gives the calories in various foods, and the amount and type of exercise needed to burn off those calories.

FOOD

AMOUNT

CALORIES

TO BURN IT OFF…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate drop

1 drop

25

6 minutes of walking

 

Microwave popcorn

4 cups

140

20 minutes of biking

 

Potato skins with cheese

1 average serving

1,100

187 minutes of dancing

 

and bacon

 

 

 

 

 

Candy bar

1 bar

280

30 minutes of singles tennis

 

Chocolate fudge brownie

1½ cups

780

90 minutes of playing

 

ice cream

racquetball

 

 

 

 

Potato chips

30g

160

90 minutes of playing Frisbee

 

Stuffed crust pizza

2 slices

1,000

2h 40m  of hiking

 

Chocolate frosted donut

1 donut

360

1 hour of playing baseball

 

Mocha frappuccino with

500ml

380

130 minutes of playing billiards

 

whipped cream

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin pie with whipped

1 slice

350

30 minutes jumping rope

 

cream

 

 

 

 

 

Stuffing with gravy

1 cup stuffing, ½ cup gravy

425

100 minutes golfing (no cart)

 

Chocolate chip cookies

4 small

400

120 minutes of bowling

 

Mixed nuts

½ cups

435

165 minutes of dusting

 

Macaroni and cheese

1 cup

430

45 minutes of stair-climbing

 

Pecan pie

1 slice

500

60 minutes of swimming

 

Eggnog

1 cup

350

52 minutes of playing half-

 

court basketball

 

 

 

 

 

Double burger with fries

1 burger & large fries

1,100

2 hours of jogging

 

Ranch dressing

2 tablespoons

150

30 minutes of doing aerobics

 

Mayonnaise

1 tablespoon

100

22 minutes of brisk walking

 

EXERCISE FOR BODY AND MIND
By  Luigi  Gratton,  M.D.,  M.P.H.

There are so many benefits to exercise, and every day, we are discovering new ones.

A recent Newsweek article discussed how exercise can boost brain power and fight off diseases like Alzheimer’s–more incredible information in an already long list of benefits. New research in animal models has shown that exercise stimulates a hormone called IGF-I or insulin such as growth factor-I, which, in turn, goes to the brain to stimulate another brain-derived-neutrotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF is believed to facilitate a process in which an animal’s brain nerve cells branch out and communicate with each other. In fact, research has supported that theory that a brain with lower levels of BDNF is challenged with retaining new information. How amazing is exercise–not only does it build the body, but the mind as well! Exercise not only slows the aging process in the brain, but reverses it. Research has also shown that active adults have less inflammation in the brain and fewer transient ischemic attacks, or mini strokes, which can impair cognition. People who exercise regularly tend to have higher levels of neurotransmitters that regulate mood, such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinepherine. With so many people on psychotropic medication, exercise is proving to be an inexpensive method of maintaining mental health. As with the body’s muscle mass, the same holds true for the brain: Use it or lose it. Within just a short month of stopping physical activity, the new brain tissue connections that were formed basically shrink down back to normal.

Many parents of children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) already know the benefits of physical activity on their children. It tends to help regulate their moods. An exercise prescription can often be given in conjunction with medication for these ADHD children/or may even replace a medication regimen.

This has broad-ranging implications for children in school and their curriculum. With so many schools having downsized the number of physical education classes with a focus on more class time, this could be detrimental. That extra time on the playground may actually boost test scores in all children. The great thing about introducing physical education at an early age in school is that it sets the tone for future exercise. Once a healthy habit like exercise is established, it tends to carry on. When people understand the importance, it becomes even more of a regular routine.

So, we know the benefits of exercise for all types of health. Not only does exercise help with chronic conditions, it also promotes wellness.

FITTING IN FITNESS

•           Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, for at least a few floors. If  you have to
take the escalator, make it a point to walk it.

•           Walk or bike to nearby destinations instead of always driving.

•           When at the mall doing  your holiday shopping, park  your car farthest from  where  you intend
to shop.

•           Get off the bus a few blocks early, or park a few blocks from  work.

•           Exercise while watching television, especially during commercials.

•           Hide  your remote control and get up to change TV channels or adjust the volume.

•           Busy yourself  with housework, such as vacuuming, washing the floors, polishing furniture,
washing the windows or gift-wrapping.

•           In the evenings, take your family for a walk around neighborhoods that have great holiday
lights on the houses.

•           Take the dog for a walk.

•           Work in the garden or yard–raking the leaves or sweeping the patio.

•           Go for a short walk before breakfast and after dinner.

•           Spend half  your lunch hour eating and the other half walking around the building or parking
lot. Get your coworkers to join  you.

•           Walk up and down the stairs on your breaks at work.

•           Several times a day, take a few moments to move around and stretch your legs, regardless of
what  you’re doing.

•           When on your cell phone or cordless home phone, walk around while  you talk.

•           Clean up the garage or organize  your closets or kitchen cupboards.

•           Go shopping. You don’t have to buy anything, just walk the aisles and look at the items.

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