The Trifecta of Physical Activity

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For the month of November we have decided to focus on physical activity!  Physical activity is a crucial part of weight loss and weight management.  A healthy physical activity regimen will always involve these three things: cardiovascular workout, strength training and stretching.  This blog is dedicated to educating you on how to fit all three areas into your weekly workout routine.

Cardiovascular Workout:

A cardiovascular workout is any activity that will increase your heart rate.  You can bring your heart rate up to a moderate or vigorous level during different exercises. It is recommended that you get 150 minutes per week of moderate cardio activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous cardio activity per week.

Cardio Activities:

  • Running/jogging
  • Biking
  • Swimming
  • HIIT exercises
  • Tennis
  • Hiking
  • Elliptical machine

 

Health benefits of Cardio activity:

  • Increased heart and lung function
  • Weight loss
  • Reduction in stress
  • Can reduce depression
  • Improve sleep
  • More energy
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Strength Training

Strength training is a vital component to overall physical health and weight management. It is important to keep a routine regimen in place to keep or improve your current muscle mass.  As we age our body naturally breaks down our muscle stores faster. Studies suggest adults can lose up to 8 percent of muscle mass each decade after age 40. Therefore as we get older we have to put more time and energy into preserving the muscles we have. The more muscle mass you have the more calories you burn at rest which helps with weight management in the long run.  Of course, I don’t mean that you have to power lift and become Mr. Olympia.  A simple cyclical routine of either weight machines, body weight exercises or free weights can be enough to remain strong.

Ways to strength train:

  • Weight machines: help you keep good form and help you hit all types of different muscle groups without having to learn anatomy
  • Free weights:  good for endurance strength training or building muscle by lifting to fatigue
  • Body weight exercises: low risk of injury and a great place to start as a beginner to gain muscle mass and learn the basics.

Bodyweight strength training exercises:

  • planks
  • push ups
  • squats
  • lunges
  • floor ab moves
  • tricep dips
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Stretching

Having a good and consistent stretching routine is essential to a healthy mind-body connection.  Stretching has numerous positive effects on the body.  I recommend to all of my clients that they take a step back from cardio and strength at least one day a week and focus on stretching and recovery.  Or you can incorporate stretching before and after your regular workouts.

Types of stretching:

  • Static: stretching a muscle (or group of muscles) to its farthest point and then maintaining or holding that position.
    • Active: Added force is applied by the individual for greater intensity
    • Passive: Added force is applied by an external force (e.g., partner or assistive device) to increase intensity
  • Dynamic: Involves fluid and controlled movement to expand range of motion.  Used mostly to improve flexibility Ex: arm circles
  • Isometric: involves the resistance of muscle groups through isometric contractions of the stretched muscles.  Using a yoga band to flex your foot while doing a leg stretch.
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