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Exercise Solutions for Fibromyalgia

Approximately 4 million people in the United States live with fibromyalgia, an illness which manifests as severe muscle pain and chronic fatigue. Living with fibromyalgia — the cause of which is unknown, but seems to be connected to the nervous system — means coping on a daily basis with debilitating discomfort and a lack of energy, making exercise difficult. Indeed, a lot of different exercises can actually make the symptoms of fibromyalgia more acute, but there is a common misconception that exercise should be avoided completely by those with the condition.

Giving up exercise is not the answer. Some forms of physical exercise may exacerbate pain, but this is due to the unsuitability of the exercise itself, rather than just doing exercise. In fact, performing exercises that don’t trigger symptoms can actually help, not the least of which is relieving mental and psychological fatigue which is connected to living with the illness.

Start slowly

Throwing yourself into a workout with no gradual build-up is not recommended for anybody, but least of all if you live with fibromyalgia. Intense workouts need to be increased over time, whether you’re 18 or 80, in good shape or not. Unprepared muscles will not respond well and it could take days to undo the damage caused. As little as 5 minutes spent walking can be the best approach.

“After a while, start to increase the amount of time you spend exercising bit by bit, but do not increase the rigorousness of the exercise, which will have a detrimental effect,” warns Pamela Chase, a Fibromyalgia expert at SimpleGrad and Revieweal.

Keep it low intensity

And with the case of fibromyalgia, high-intensity workouts should never be the aim. Pain will only be exacerbated if you take on exercise that’s intense on the muscles, so again, walking is a great option, as is a gentle swim using breaststroke or backstroke. Other great options for fibromyalgia are yoga and tai chi, which include slow movements and little impact.

Take plenty of breaks

In addition to keeping exercise low intensity, take plenty of breaks. Not only will this allow you to recover energy levels, but you’ll actually be able to participate for longer, if you break your routine into smaller, bitesize chunks.

Listen to your body

Exercise can mean overcoming mental obstacles, no matter who you are, but when you suffer from fibromyalgia, it’s imperative you listen to your body. Don’t try to undertake exercise when the message coming from inside is ‘no’. There will simply be times when your energy levels are too low to participate in any form of exercise, so despite the mental frustration this will cause, listen to what your body is communicating.

Measure impact and recovery

Listen to what your body is telling you, and that means keeping tabs on it for two or three days after. As you start to build in exercise routines, do so gradually so the impact of each one can be measured independently. It will help you understand what is working for you, and what isn’t, and then you can develop routines that work for you.

“Although exercise tips are generic, and medical guidance is quite standard for fibromyalgia sufferers, the reality is that no two individuals will respond in exactly the same way to what could appear to be an identical workout, so continue to listen to your body, and continue with routines that work for you as an individual,” says Bruce Sorenson, a journalist at UKTopWriters and AustralianReviewer.

Additional tips

The nature of fibromyalgia means that there are related issues to look out for and manage with your workouts. One such issue is orthostatic intolerance — which means the blood rushes to the legs when sufferers stand up, and stays there. The solution to this is vastly increasing water and salt intake prior to and during exercise, and exercising in warm water. Using a recumbent bicycle can also greatly assist as a warm-up, or even as the exercise itself.

You should consult your physician or other health care professional before starting any exercise routine or program to determine if it’s suitable for your needs.


Aimee Laurence is a personal trainer and blogger at Paper Writing Service and Essay Service. She writes about Fibromyalgia and health. Also, Aimee tutors at Assignment Help Australia portal.

 

References

Pamela Chase, a Fibromyalgia expert, Simplegrad and Revieweal.

Bruce Sorenson, a journalist, UKTopWriters and AustralianReviewer.

Prescription for good health diet and exercise flat lay overhead with copyspace.

Medical & Fitness Integration… a HEALTH-E-FIT!

Year after year, the IHRSA Trend Report continues to state that there will be an increase of trillions of spending cost in healthcare spending, with aging Baby Boomers contributing heavily to the total over the next decade. At least 50% of adults between 50-64 years of age live with at least one chronic condition. More than 44% of US consumers take at least one prescription medication daily, and the 50+ age group accounts for nearly 3/4 of spending on prescription drugs. The most commonly prescribed drugs for 40- to 60-year-old adults are for high cholesterol, gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes and hypertension.

As more individuals who actively participate in the US healthcare system seek solutions, the more we need to do for positioning our programs and facilities to address their non-traditional needs. As with any other business, we must change, modify and refocus our service delivery system as our client profile and the associated service needs change.

In April 2017, I made the decision to solely focus on developing a Medical Fitness Service to champion the Exercise is Medicine® (EIM) initiative through HEALTHEFIT. Despite being created in 2007, EIM remains an untapped service that has not only been ignored by fitness professionals but also by healthcare as well. Exercise is Medicine®, a global health initiative managed by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), encourages primary care physicians and other health care providers to include physical activity when designing treatment plans and to refer patients to evidence-based exercise programs and qualified exercise professionals, especially those with the Exercise is Medicine credential.

In reviewing the multiple areas that we could contribute positive health outcomes, we decided to focus on the following:

1. Orthopedic Pathology

  • Acute Low Back Pain, Low Back Pain and Sciatica, Shoulder Impingement Syndrome, Rotator Cuff Pathology, Hip Replacement, Full Knee Replacement, ACL, Meniscus Pathology, Patella-Femoral Syndrome, Osteoporosis

2. Cardiovascular Disease

  • Hypertension, Coronary Artery Disease, Peripheral Vascular Disease, Alular Heart Disease

3. Pulmonary Disease

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease [COPD], Asthma, Bronchitis, Emphysema

4. Metabolic Disease

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Obesity, Blood Lipid Disorders

HEALTHEFIT’s medical fitness services incorporate a Triangle Treatment Protocol® including: EIM, DNA based nutrition, and Behavioral Medicine. Depending on an individual’s employer benefits plans and/or health insurance, either all or part of these medically directed services can potentially be reimbursable. Creditability is very important to the medical industry therefore we had to ensure that we differentiate our staff from the everyday personal trainer.

While credentials are indeed important, the ability to translate this knowledge into patient specific program design and treatment progression processes is the real professional test. Our medical fitness providers are fitness professionals who have a comprehensive knowledge of special populations. I have been able to create a new professional that is gaining the trust of physicians and health insurance. Our recruiting, orientation, and onboarding process has been the difference in separating HEALTHEFIT from other programs and gaining acceptance with Virginia Premier as their exclusive in-network medical fitness provider and out-of-network
status with Anthem and Cigna.

Want to learn more? Join David for his upcoming MedFit webinar on this topic:


David Rachal III is the founder and CEO of HEALTH-E-FIT, a medical fitness based facility in Chester, VA, where he’s created a scalable system that engages, educates, and empowers physicians and medical fitness providers to work together. His facility uses exercise and nutrition as medicine making prevention, treatment, and long-term management accessible for all. David’s contributions to the fitness industry also include training hundreds of private clients to success and educating over 1,000 trainers in the past eight years as a Fitness Presenter and Certification Specialist with nationally recognized organizations. David holds an MBA with a focus in Healthcare Management. He holds many specialty training certifications, including the ACSM ‘Exercise is Medicine’ credential, the FMS Functional Movement Specialist, and NSCA Tactical Strength and Conditioning Facilitator.

ORTHOPEDICS CONSULTATION WOMAN

If You Can’t Beat It, Use It: An Exercise Guide to Post-Joint Replacement Wellness

It all started over 40 years ago, when I chose as my sport – some would say, my life – the Korean martial art of Tae Kwon Do. I was young, fit, pretty strong and, unbeknownst to me, very flexible – perfect for the art of kicking high and hard. Once I got hooked on it, I was in the gym a few hours a day, 6-7 days a week…for the next almost 20 years. That did not include the running I did to get my cardiovascular conditioning primed for the art and sport I was practicing at high levels of both skill and competition. I knew then, at age 19, that I was going to pay for the training and abuse I was putting my body through, but not until I was older, say, 40 or so.

apple-scale-weight-loss

To Weigh or Not to Weigh

Do you want to lose weight?

You might be asking should I weigh or not to weigh, that is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of knowing one’s outrageous weight, or to take arms against a sea of bulges by simply ignoring the scale and trying to eat less and exercise more. For some of us, the scale is a tool. For others, it’s the enemy.

So let’s say your plan is to lose 1lb a Week.

Some health and fitness professionals have made a compelling case for ignoring the scale, saying that measuring one’s percentage of body fat is the most accurate way to track one’s fitness level.

It indicates a healthy body composition, regardless of height and weight. I agree that you should know your body fat as a baseline for fitness.

Here are some body fat guidelines according to the American Council On Exercise

Body Fat Percentage for Women

  • Athlete: 14-20 percent
  • Fit: 21-24 percent
  • Average: 25-31 percent
  • Obese: > 32 percent

Body Fat Percentage for Men

  • Athlete: 6-13 percent
  • Fit: 14-17 percent
  • Average: 18-24 percent
  • Obese: > 25 percent

So why bother weighing yourself at all? When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s important to use any indication you can get that your efforts are paying off. It can take a couple of weeks before you see any difference in body fat. Your weight will change more quickly. Besides, there are relatively inexpensive scales that give you both your actual weight and your percentage of body fat.

My personal prejudice is to weigh yourself at least once every week or two. I do, and I find that facing my weight on a regular basis helps me stay motivated. Believe me, there have been times when I’ve dreaded getting on that scale. But I do it anyway because no matter what it says, I feel relief. I find it liberating. Why? Because now I know where I am and what I need to do next. It helps me maintain a healthy weight.

In my practice, I have helped hundreds of people lose weight. And many of them initially fight me about getting on the scale, and I understand this because I know that terror. Part of the process of losing weight is to prepare oneself to do it. If you are not psychologically ready to lose, stepping on the scale can be a real turnoff and actually deter you from losing weight. But once you’re ready, facing that number can jump-start your weight-loss program and keep you going.

I give my clients a baseline of their body fat percentage and get them to use the scale. Then we set up a diet and exercise plan. You can lose weight by diet alone. But dieting can reduce muscle mass along with fat. This becomes ever more important as we age. We can lose as much as 6 pounds of muscle tissue per decade as we age. And metabolism can slow down as much as 3 percent per decade. You can see that if left unchecked, you’re on a slow boat to obesity. Adding an exercise program may be all you need to turn this process around. Cardio exercise burns calories, and strength training raises your metabolism and builds lean muscle mass while you are losing. Losing about 1 percent body fat a month and one to two pounds a week is considered safe and realistic. Here’s the winning combination. Reduce calorie intake with diet, do cardio most days to burn calories, and strength train at least a couple of days a week to build muscle mass and increase metabolism.

So, I’ve made my case for using the scale as a tool, and I hope you’ll try it when you are ready. Regardless, to be or not to be at a healthy weight should not be in question.


Mirabai Holland MFA, EP-C, CHC is one of the foremost authorities is the health and fitness industry. Her customer top rated exercise videos for Age-Onset health issues like Osteoporosis, Arthritis, Heart Disease, Diabetes & more are available at www.mirabaiholland.com. Mirabai also offers one-on-on Health Coaching on Skype or Phone. Contact her at askmirabai@movingfree.com.

Instructor And Elderly Patient Undergoing Water Therapy

5 Simple Exercises To Help Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis

When left unchecked, rheumatoid arthritis can be majorly debilitating and cause real and continued pain. However, if you’re willing to do the research and put in the work, you can do certain exercises which can majorly reduce the symptoms, improve your overall mood and actually make you that much physically healthier, generally speaking, which can only be a good thing. The real question then is, what sort of exercises ought you be doing to try and achieve this. Well, let’s take a look at five ways to help improve those symptoms.

Start Stretching

Stretching is actually something which we all ought to do and can be a great way to start anyone’s day. Daily stretching reinforces a healthy sense in which the muscles are able to become increasingly limber and flexible across time. Stretching is a personal thing, and it will depend a bit on where most of your arthritis pain is concentrated. When you stretch you want to go slowly and thoroughly. Warm up for a few minutes and then stretch each of the muscles you want slowly, pushing yourself further in tiny intervals. To guarantee success, track down a physical therapist with an understanding of rheumatoid arthritis.

A Focus On The Hands

“It’s all too common that rheumatoid arthritis has an adverse and painful effect on the hands, meaning this is an area which ought to be focused on in terms of exercises that can be done”, advises Charles Tevesham, health writer at LastMinuteWriting and Writinity. There are only a limited number of ways in which one can move one’s hands, so you ought to do your best to try and explore the full range of stretches available. Using a stress ball and a small roller can help to achieve this as well.

Go For Walks

Sometimes when you are in pain, having to get up and go on a walk can be the last thing that you want to do. But, it’s hugely beneficial. The act of walking involves so many of the different muscle groups and makes it so easy to do something that will be beneficial for your arthritis. It is also a great way to boost your mood, since it is exercise and involves being outdoors. Make sure you drink water and try to slowly increase your speed across the duration of your walk.

Water-Based Exercises

Completing exercises, stretches and other forms of aerobics in a pool is a wonderfully forgiving way of going about your pain reduction routine. Being in water helps to reduce the impact of your body weight so it makes it very easy to do exercises without fearing that you are going to injure yourself. Furthermore, the act of swimming is actually a really good exercise that involves using all o the muscle types in your body in a way which is actually deeply therapeutic and relaxing. If the water is warm, that’s an even better way to soothe pain.

Get On Your Bike

Cycling is another good exercise option. “Cycling is definitely one of the more strenuous options available to you, but it’s one that will really help ensure that the increase in the risk of cardiovascular problems that rheumatoid arthritis involves, doesn’t get the better of you”, says Mary Simmons, health blogger at DraftBeyond and ResearchPapersUK. You ought to make sure that you have stretched thoroughly before you get onto a bike as the intense locational nature of the workout, in other words the amount of pressure it puts your leg muscles under, can cause you an injury. That said, it’s an incredibly good way to exercise the muscles in the lower half of your body and has long term benefits to flexibility and pain reduction.

Conclusion

Overall, stretching and various other exercises are actually vitally important to giving yourself the best chance of avoiding unnecessary and difficult to deal with pain. Rheumatoid arthritis is never going to be pleasant, but if you really commit to a routine of exercise you can be sure that the way you feel, physically and mentally, is going to improve and that steps towards managing the symptoms will be moved through quickly.


Harry Conley is a content editor at LuckyAssignments and GumEssays. He develops training procedures and manages the workflow to give writers supplemental support instruction. A man of many interests, Harry also works in providing supplementary materials and instructional support for contributors.

 

References

Charles Tevesham, health writer, LastMinuteWriting and Writinity.
Mary Simmons, health blogger,  DraftBeyond and ResearchPapersUK

couple biking

The Role of Exercise in the Treatment of Diabetes

Diabetes Word Cloud Concept

According to the American College of Sports Medicine’s flagship journal, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise (1), there are more than 21 million Americans with Type 2 Diabetes as of 2010 with an estimated 7 million undiagnosed. If these numbers don’t mean much, let’s give it some perspective: in 1958 there were only 1.5 million. (Granted, the US population has increased, but only from about 180 million to 310 million, not 15-fold as in the numbers of T2D.) Furthermore, due to the now-defined pre-diabetes – or sub-clinical diabetes where the precursors to diabetes are lurking if lifestyle does not change dramatically – it is estimated that 80 million Americans are at risk. Thus, some public health officials are predicting that 21-33% of Americans will have diabetes by the year 2050. The healthcare burden this portends will bankrupt the nation. To make matters worse, the preponderance of both pre-diabetes and T2D is increasing in children and adolescents as sedentary behavior, poor diet and obesity abounds.

While prevention is optimal and much is being done in the way of public health messaging, one of the best means by which to regulate blood sugar in either healthy, pre-diabetes or T2D patients is through physical exercise. Recall above where we discussed how muscles use the sugar in the blood for fuel. The more muscles you have and the more regularly they work at some critical level of effort, the easier it is to control blood sugar. In fact, one’s levels of physical activity (PA) may be a better predictor of risk for diabetes than one’s BMI (body mass index, a ratio of height to weight.)

For the sake of discussion, we should break down physical activity into three main types – activities of daily living (ADL), aerobic exercise (AE) and resistance (or strength) exercise (RE). The MSSE article reviewed the data on all these for their impact on blood sugar, insulin control and T2D risk. Not unremarkably, the evidence strongly suggests that the more active you are, the lower your post-meal and long-term blood sugar is, the better your muscles are able to use the sugar in the blood (glucose tolerance or insulin sensitivity), the lower or lesser your insulin response is to food intake, and the lower your risk for diabetes is. What is remarkable, however, is how little physical activity is required in order to affect many of these changes and benefits.

As far as ADLs is concerned, the general prescription is to ambulate (walk, run, bike, etc) for 30-60 minutes a day or close to 10,000 steps/day, or almost 4 miles/day. This does not mean you have to take walks that last that long; it means you should move around more often throughout the day and sit less often. In fact, some studies show that simply standing up for 2 minute bouts of walking every 20 minutes of sitting lowered post-meal blood sugar and insulin response to eating. (2) While walking is effective, new studies (3) demonstrate that high intensity interval training (HIIT), or sprinting, may be an even better regulator of blood sugar. Comparing training programs in two groups of sedentary women, one doing intervals of moderate intensity, the other at high intensity, the authors found that the HIIT group had slightly greater fat oxidation in the muscles, a roundabout indicator of improved glucose control. HIIT might also be more time efficient.

Between the two studies referenced here, and many more that have looked at HIIT programs compared to traditional long, slower/lower intensity programs, the general belief is that the more muscles that are contracting and the harder they contract, the better the short-term and long-term blood sugar control. The only caveat here is that large muscle groups or bigger body movements are necessary to see these effects; single joint/small muscle contractions will not elicit the disease-modifying effects one might be seeking. For these reasons, RT has been getting more looks when it comes to modifying risk factors for T2D. In fact, the preponderance of evidence shows that RT, at sufficiently high enough intensities to build muscle mass, improves blood sugar control both by using sugar to fuel contractions and by improving the insulin sensitivity of those muscles even after the workouts.

Overall, physical activity has been shown to be an effective, efficient and low-risk/low side-effects treatment and preventive for T2D. A single bout of exercise is sufficient to regulate blood sugar for the next 16-24 hours.

As such, it is recommended that exercise be partaken nearly every day for at least 30 minutes; if obesity is a factor in a patient’s disease, then 60-90 minutes of accumulated physical activity is strongly suggested. Furthermore, a combination exercise prescription of cardiovascular and RT exercise – either same or alternating days – is deemed optimal.

To conclude, physical activity of all sorts has been found to enhance blood sugar uptake by muscles during the session and for several hours thereafter. Thus, it is one of the best, least invasive means by which to prevent, regulate and, for early stage T2D, even reverse diabetes and its downstream effects on the heart, kidneys, nerves (especially of the lower extremities), and eyes. Besides its collateral benefits on the cardiovascular system, it may help reduce weight though it is essential in maintaining weight loss. And PA clearly improves quality of life, not just through its physical benefits but its effects on the brain and psyche, reducing the risk of depression which may be a factor in both the sequence of events leading to weight gain, the challenges of both weight loss and disease management, and the reduction in one’s ability to enjoy various aspects of life due to immobility, neuropathy, visual impairment, and dialysis.

For more information about diabetes, exercise, pharmaceutical management and research, please visit the American Diabetes Association site at diabetes.org


Dr. Irv Rubenstein graduated Vanderbilt-Peabody in 1988 with a PhD in exercise science, having already co-founded STEPS Fitness, Inc. two years earlier — Tennessee’s first personal fitness training center. One of his goals was to foster the evolution of the then-fledgling field of personal training into a viable and mature profession, and has done so over the past 3 decades, teaching trainers across through country. As a writer and speaker, Dr. Irv has earned a national reputation as one who can answer the hard questions about exercise and fitness – not just the “how” but the “why”. 

References

1. Roberts et al, Modification of Insulin Sensitivity and Glycemic Control by Activity and Exercise. MSSE, Vol. 2013: 45(10):1868-1877
2. Dunstan et al., Breaking up prolonged sitting reduces glucose and insulin responses. Diabetes Care, 2012:35(5): 976-983
3. Astorino et al., Effect of Two Doses of Interval Training on Maximal Fat Oxidation in Sedentary Women. MSSE, Vol. 45(10), pp.1878-1886, 2013

 

 

active adults walking

Can movement be therapy for emotional stress?

The more rhythmic and intense the movement, the greater this effect, since it elicits focus.

Emotional stress makes life overwhelming. Sometimes, we experience an extremely stressful or disturbing event, while at other times we accumulate the stress of upsetting interactions over time. In either case we are left feeling emotionally out of control and helpless. Our minds feel like a hamster spinning away on a wheel, leaving us drained, heavy, disconnected and incapable of making rational inferences and decisions. Our bodies feel like logs being lugged around, making daily chores onerous.

Irrespective of how it’s triggered, emotional and/or psychological disharmony has wide-ranging physical reactions and symptoms. While most of us know of the emotional impact (feelings of sadness, anger, fear, guilt, self-doubt and many more) the physical impact is not widely spoken about. This could include muscular tension, aches and pains, difficulty sleeping or insomnia, breathlessness among others.

Everyone’s triggers and responses are unique. Healing from emotional stress, hence, cannot be a one-size-fits-all solution. If symptoms persist for long or are severe, do seek professional help. That said, there are a few practices that can aid in self-healing.

Movement

Movement can be therapeutic for a number of reasons. As we know, stress impacts mental and physical equilibrium, turning the body into a repository of unpleasant side effects. A prolonged state of negative emotions like anger, fear and hyper responsiveness in daily life, adversely impacts the muscular and nervous system. Movement and exercise can help address this at a dual level. At a physical level, it helps by releasing endorphins (aka happy hormones) and calming adrenaline. The more rhythmic and intense the movement, the greater this effect, since it elicits focus. Target at least 30 minutes of exercise/movement on most days. It could be any activity that interests and engages you, be it dancing, yoga, sport, running, swimming, cycling. It might feel better to do it in company, to help break any self-imposed isolation. You could split it up over intervals during the day (though half an hour is not much of an ask to reset yourself and get your mind, body and life on track!).

Mindfulness

Try to pay full attention to the activity and how you perform it. Stay with the process. The mind will eventually tune into the rhythm of the body, making you more ‘mindful’ of the activity and yield a positive sensory outcome, including from deep within. For some, this may be attained with gentler workouts, and for some more intense activities could derive the response, depending on one’s personality as well as physical capacity. Remember, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way here. The beauty of movement is that it serves all, and it can be scaled up and down dynamically to make you feel most connected and generate positive inner vibes.

Deep breathing

Focus on the act of breathing and on how the breath goes in and out of the body (‘mindful’ breathing). It acts as another powerful therapeutic tool. This is true even during movement. Movement becomes more mindful when you focus on the breath while executing it, maximizing positive benefits physically (more oxygen, less physical stress) and mentally (greater connection with self, less mental stress). It aids in giving the mind a much-needed break while energizing the body.

Good sleep

Try maintaining sleeping and waking up time and hours even though it may seem silly or impossible. For those with sleeping difficulties or insomnia, the body clock needs resetting, requiring some repetitive reinforcements to break the negative cycle. It’s essential to retrain the body and mind to rejuvenate, rest and recuperate.

Changes won’t happen overnight, but all these practices together can go a long way to impart a greater sense of control, which propels us towards a happier state. It’s about reclaiming peace, being kind to ourselves and catalyzing inner healing.


Vani Pahwa is a Functional Fitness specialist with over fifteen years of experience, and cutting-edge certifications from leading internationally-accredited and globally recognized fitness institutes. She is also a Cancer Exercise Specialist (perhaps one of the first in the country). Sought after for her multi-disciplinary fitness modules and expertise, Vani has conducted fitness workshops for leading corporate houses, conditioning and training camps for various sports communities, training programs for coaches, personal training programs for CEOs of multi-nationals, athletes, junior and senior sports professionals among others. Her combination of specialties, client profile and range, and extensive work experience makes her unique in the country. She is the founder of Body in Motion.

Original article published in a leading national daily:  https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/movement-as-a-therapy-for-emotional-stress/article26566357.ece

Elder sporty female doing sport

What Exactly is Exercise?

What is Exercise?

It’s obvious isn’t it?

Seems like a dumb question right?

Professionals such as Personal Trainers, Physical Therapists, and Chiropractors prescribe it to their clients and patients for a wide variety of reasons; to heal from an injury, to increase your endurance, or make your muscles stronger.

But what is it – exactly – that is being prescribed?

Exercise (n.) A physical or mental exertion, or the removal thereof, most often for the purpose of physical training, to improve health and/or performance. A stimulus/stimuli applied, or removed, over some duration, and/or created from within, a neuromotor control system, resulting in a neuromotor solution/response, with the purpose of eliciting an intended and specific physiological change/state
Dunn K., Mack G, McMillin C., Motor Control; pathology, assessment and improvement philosophical basis, research, and methodology, Muscle System Consortia, 2018 pg. 9.

Now there are some ten-dollar words!

The key phrase in this definition is “with the purpose of eliciting an intended and specific physiological change/state”.

Exercise in our world is an intention to make a physiological change. We are trying to change the body in a certain direction. In other words, exercise is something that we do to intentionally change something about our bodies.

This differentiates exercise from activities of daily living.

Is taking your dog for a walk exercise? No

Is gardening exercise? No

How about playing a sport? No

What about an activity like skiing? No

This does not mean that doing these activities does not contribute to your health in some way. They are just not exercise.

Why is it important to make this distinction?

In order to improve your health and fitness in meaningful ways it must be done with intention. If we are not working toward intentional change then we probably won’t get the changes we want.

We fool ourselves into thinking that gardening, walking the dog, carrying the groceries, or shopping in the mall are enough to change or maintain our physical health. This justifies avoiding the regular and committed discipline of intentional activity to stimulate the body at levels high enough to drive the changes we need to enjoy a healthy and robust physical life.

Not too long ago I was on vacation in Florida with my parents and an uncle. We needed to go to the grocery store to get food. Being in a foreign store we did not know our way around. We had a long list. Since we had no idea where the items were, my uncle walked all around the store searching for the numerous things on the list. When he came back my mom jokingly apologized for having him cover practically the whole store to find what we were looking for.

His reply, “It’s ok! I can use the exercise!”

About a month after that I was with the same uncle at the Corning Glass Museum of Art. It had stadium-like seating in an area where they do demos of the glass making. This type of seating is very steep. Climbing up the steep stairs to exit the demonstration room was quite the effort for one woman.

“Well I got my exercise for the day!” was her statement as she made it to the top.

This past winter I snowboarded more than I had the past couple of years. But I didn’t consider it exercising. I went because I enjoy it. It helps winter go by easier. I didn’t do it with a goal in mind. I am not thinking about my heart rate, or what my legs are doing. I strictly go to have fun. My enjoyment of that activity is the byproduct of the work that I put in with intentional exercise to support my physical ability to snowboard.

I do strength training to try and improve – or at least maintain – my strength and muscle mass. I do the elliptical or ride the bike to challenge my cardiovascular system. All these things I do are so that I can maintain my ability to be active. One of those things of being able to be active is snowboarding.

What are some activities or things that are important to you?

Is it being active like running, skiing, or hiking?

Regular exercise, (given the previous definition) in order to stimulate your muscle system to improve and/or maintain itself, will directly contribute to your physical health and capabilities.

Exercise equals healthy muscles, which equals healthy life!


Co-Written by Greg Mack and Charlie Rowe.

Greg Mack is a gold-certified ACE Medical Exercise Specialist and an ACE Certified Personal Trainer. He is the founder and CEO of the corporation Fitness Opportunities. Inc. dba as Physicians Fitness and Exercise Professional Education. He is also a founding partner in the Muscle System Consortia. Greg has operated out of chiropractic clinics, outpatient physical therapy clinics, a community hospital, large gyms, and health clubs, as well operating private studios. His experience in working in such diverse venues enhanced his awareness of the wide gulf that exists between the medical community and fitness facilities, particularly for those individuals trying to recover from, and manage, a diagnosed disease. 

Charlie Rowe, CMSS joined Physicians Fitness in the fall of 2007 after spending 9 years as the Senior Personal Trainer at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York. He has also worked within an outpatient Physical Therapy Clinic coordinating care with the Physical Therapist since joining Physicians Fitness. Charlie has earned the Cooper Clinic’s Certified Personal Trainer, the NSCA’s Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, the American College of Sports Medicine Certified Health Fitness Specialist, Resistance Training Specialist Master Level, and American Council on Exercise Certified Orthopedic Exercise Specialist Certifications. 

tape-fork-diet-health-53416

Weight Loss Myths

Like Cicero coining the phrase “Ipse dixit” (“He, himself, said it”) in reference to the mathematician Pythagoras, we tend to appeal to the pronouncements of the master (in our society, celebrities and the media) rather than to reason or evidence. After all, if Jillian Michaels from TV’s The Biggest Loser or any other celebrity trainer says it’s so, it must be so, right? This has led to the proliferation of many myths in the weight-loss and fitness industry. Why do we think or claim we know things that we actually do not know? There are so many passionate people in the weight-loss and fitness industry, which is great, but oftentimes that passion gets in the way of science. And that can be dangerous. Do you know your weight-loss facts from fiction?

Myth: You have to exercise in your fat-burning zone to burn fat and lose weight.

People often assume that low-intensity exercise is best for burning fat. Cardio equipment manufacturers contribute to this assumption by posting a “fat-burning” workout option on their front panels, which influences people to choose that option because, after all, people want to burn fat. During exercise at a very low intensity, such as walking, fat does account for most of the energy you use. At a moderate intensity, such as running at 80 percent of your maximum heart rate, fat accounts for only about half of the energy you use. While you use both fat and carbohydrate for energy during exercise, these two fuels provide that energy on a sliding scale—as you increase your intensity, the contribution from fat decreases while the contribution from carbohydrate increases. While you use only a minimal amount of fat at higher intensities, the number of calories you use per minute and the total number of calories you expend are much greater than when you exercise at a lower intensity, so the amount of fat you use is also greater. Research has shown that the highest rate of fat use occurs when you exercise at a hard aerobic intensity (Achten et al. 2002; Astorino, 2000; Knechtle et al. 2004). What matters is the rate of energy expenditure rather than simply the percentage of energy expenditure derived from fat. Since you use only carbohydrate when you exercise at a high intensity, does that mean that if you run fast, you won’t get rid of that flabby belly? Of course not.

Despite what most people think, you don’t have to use fat when you exercise to lose fat from your waistline. The little amount of fat that you use in combination with carbohydrate during moderate-intensity exercise is in the form of intramuscular triglycerides—tiny droplets of fat within your muscles. Adipose fat (the fat on your waistline and thighs) is burned during the hours before and after your workouts while you’re sitting at your desk. For fat and weight loss, what matters most is the difference between the number of calories you expend and the number of calories you consume. So don’t worry about exercising in your fat-burning zone, because there’s no such thing.

Myth: Working out first thing in the morning on an empty stomach burns more fat. 

Muscles will indeed use more fat if you exercise when your blood glucose is low, as it can be first thing in the morning after an overnight fast. But burning more fat during your workout doesn’t necessarily mean that you will lose more weight. Exercising when fasted before breakfast doesn’t reduce the total number of calories you consume throughout the day, and doesn’t allow you to cheat the laws of caloric balance; at the end of the day, you still have to have a caloric deficit to lose fat.

When you exercise first thing in the morning before breakfast, your muscles don’t just rely on fat immediately. When exercising at a low or moderate intensity, they’ll use some fat, just like they would when you exercise at any other time of the day. But they’ll also use whatever carbohydrate is available from blood glucose and stored glycogen because carbohydrate is the muscles’ preferred fuel. When you run out of glucose, your muscles will then start to rely more heavily on fat. But exercising on an empty stomach with low blood glucose decreases the intensity at which you can exercise, which results in a lower-quality workout and less total calories burned. For weight loss, it really doesn’t matter if the calories you burn when you exercise come from fat or carbohydrate; how many total calories you burn is what matters.

Myth: Resistance training increases resting metabolic rate.

Perhaps the biggest myth in the fitness industry is the issue of resistance training increasing resting metabolic rate by increasing muscle mass, which leads to greater weight loss. Although it is true that resting metabolic rate is influenced by the amount of muscle you have, you would have to add a lot of muscle to significantly impact your resting metabolic rate. It’s not like you can add 10 pounds of muscle (which is very difficult to do unless you train like a bodybuilder for many months) and all of a sudden your resting metabolic rate is double what it was before. There’s about a 10-calorie increase in metabolic rate for every pound of muscle. So, if your resting metabolic rate is 1,500 calories per day, you would need to add 15 pounds of muscle mass to increase it by 10 percent. Resistance training can make you look better because of the effect it has on your muscles, but it won’t really impact your resting metabolic rate much. As you lose weight, your resting metabolic rate actually decreases, even when you maintain muscle mass by resistance training. Exercise can prevent the decline in resting metabolic rate as you lose weight, but it certainly does not increase as you lose weight.

Humans’ resting metabolic rate—the amount of energy you need to stay alive—is pretty stable, having been set by millions of years of evolution. Lifting dumbbells in a gym or doing burpees in the park is not going to change that. Some studies have shown an increase in resting metabolic rate following many weeks or months of exercise, but the magnitude of change is relatively small (about 30 to 142 calories per day) compared to what is needed for weight loss (Dolezal & Potteiger 1998; Poehlman & Danforth 1991). And some of these studies have been done on seniors, who are more likely to show increases in resting metabolic rate due to the attenuating effect of exercise on age-associated losses in muscle mass. It’s much easier to impact muscle mass and thus resting metabolic rate in an older person than in a younger person.

Myth: Intense workouts contribute to weight loss by burning more calories after the workout is over.

Ever since the fitness industry found research showing that people burn calories after they work out while they recover from their workout, a whole new argument was born. Exercise stopped being about the exercise and became about what came after. “Do this workout,” trainers and gurus say, “because you’ll burn four times as many calories for up to 48 hours afterward.”

After some workouts, specifically those that are intense or long, you continue to use oxygen and burn calories because you must recover from the workout, and recovery is an aerobic, oxygen-using process. This increased oxygen consumption following the workout is called the EPOC (Excess Postexercise Oxygen Consumption).

Many studies have documented the EPOC and compared it and its associated post-workout calorie burn between exercise of different intensities and durations (Laforgia et al. 1997; Treuth et al. 1996; Tucker et al. 2016). However, the post-workout calorie burn caused by the EPOC is a highly overexaggerated issue among fitness trainers. The increase in metabolism is transient, perhaps lasting a few hours, depending on how intense the workout was. The unbridled optimism regarding the EPOC in weight loss is generally unfounded. Studies have shown that the EPOC comprises only 6 to 15 percent of the net total oxygen cost of the exercise, and only when the exercise is very intense (Laforgia et al. 2006). Since unfit individuals recover more slowly than fit individuals, the EPOC will be higher in unfit individuals. However, most unfit individuals simply can’t handle the intensity of exercise that is required to induce a high or prolonged EPOC.

The calories you burn when you exercise have a greater effect on your body weight than the calories you burn afterward. It is the workout itself that creates the demand for change.

Myth: Nutrition (diet) is more important than exercise for losing weight and looking good.

I hear a lot in the fitness industry about the importance of clean eating. Indeed, most fitness professionals quote that physical appearance is 80 percent due to nutrition and 20 percent due to your workouts. I don’t know where those numbers come from, but those percentages are unknowable.

If we are to assign a relative importance to each, it’s presumptuous to think that the specific foods we eat are more important to our health, fitness, and cosmetics than are genetics and training. People like to claim that abs are made in the kitchen, but the truth is that muscles are made by training them. I’m pretty sure I didn’t get my sculpted legs and ass from eating kale salads; I got them from running 6 days per week for 33 years.

This is not to say that a person’s diet doesn’t matter. Of course it does. But to place such a large emphasis on diet over exercise misses an important point—cutting calories and eating a more nutritious diet does not make you fitter. Although your nutrition is undoubtedly important, it doesn’t give your muscles a stimulus to adapt. Only exercise can do that and thus give you all of the fitness and health benefits. The sculpted legs of runners and upper bodies of fitness magazine models didn’t get that way just by eating fruits and vegetables.

Truth is, you need both diet and exercise. Diet gets your weight off, especially initially, and exercise keeps it off. To lose weight, you must consume fewer calories each day. To maintain weight, you must exercise on most, if not all, days of the week. Research has shown that body weight and body mass index are directly proportional to the amount of exercise people do (Williams & Satariano 2005; Williams & Thompson 2006).

If we take two people, and one eats perfectly clean with a nutrient-dense diet and no processed foods but doesn’t exercise much, and the other exercises a lot but has a mediocre diet with the occasional Twinkie or chocolate chip cookie, who is going to look better and be fitter? I hope you said the latter. Truth is, exercise and genetics exert a greater influence on how you look (and on your physical performance) than your diet does.

Join Dr. Karp for his upcoming webinar on this topic:


Jason Karp is the creator of the REVO2LUTION RUNNING certification, 2011 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, and recipient of the 2014 President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition Community Leadership Award. A PhD in exercise physiology, he has more than 200 publications, mentors fitness professionals, and speaks around the world. His sixth book, “The Inner Runner”, is available in bookstores and Amazon. Visit his website, Run-Fit.com

Article reprinted with permission from Jason Karp. Originally published on Personal Training on the Net (PTontheNet.com). 

 

References

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Astorino, T.A. 2000. Is the ventilatory threshold coincident with maximal fat oxidation during submaximal exercise in women? Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. 40(3), 209-216.

Dolezal, B.A. and Potteiger, J.A. 1998. Concurrent resistance and endurance training influence basal metabolic rate in nondieting individuals. Journal of Applied Physiology. 85(2), 695-700.

Knechtle, B., Müller, G., Willmann, F., Kotteck, K., Eser, P., and Knecht, H. 2004. Fat oxidation in men and women endurance athletes in running and cycling. International Journal of Sports Medicine. 25(1), 38-44.

Laforgia, J., Withers, R.T., Shipp, N.J., and Gore, C.J. 1997. Comparison of energy expenditure elevations after submaximal and supramaximal running. Journal of Applied Physiology. 82(2), 661-666.

LaForgia, J., Withers, R.T., and Gore, C.J. 2006. Effects of exercise intensity and duration on the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. Journal of Sports Sciences. 24(12), 1247-1264.

Poehlman, E.T. and Danforth, E. 1991. Endurance training increases metabolic rate and norepinephrine appearance rate in older individuals. American Journal of Physiology Endocrinology and Metabolism. 261: E233-E239.

Treuth, M.S., Hunter, G.R., and Williams, M. 1996. Effects of exercise intensity on 24-h energy expenditure and substrate oxidation. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 28(9), 1138-1143.

Tucker W.J., Angadi, S.S., and Gaesser, G.A. 2016. Excess postexercise oxygen consumption after high-intensity and sprint interval exercise, and continuous steady-state exercise. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 30(11), 3090-3097.

Williams, P.T. and Satariano, W.A. 2005. Relationships of age and weekly running distance to BMI and circumferences in 41,582 physically active women. Obesity Research. 13(8), 1370-1380.

Williams, P.T. and Thompson, P.D. 2006. Dose-dependent effects of training and detraining on weight in 6406 runners during 7.4 years. Obesity. 14(11), 1975-1984.