Monday, July 20, 2009

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Physical activity and weight-loss

Physical activity can greatly speed up your weight-loss program and is essential for maintaining your desired weight and your general health. To get into great shape, exercise and good nutrition must become an integral part of your life. Can you lose weight without exercising? Of course it is possible to lose weight by dieting alone, but if your goal is to lose weight permanently and to look and feel healthy, physical activity is an essential ingredient.

For years exercise research focused on what happened during exercise and ignored the after effects. Now we know what goes on during exercise directly impacts whether the body burns or stores fuel. In fact, the after effects of exercise may be the most important aspects determining fitness and body composition (muscle tissue/body fat ratio).

Fat-burning exercises can be divided into 3 types : Brisk activity, Aerobic activity and Muscle-building activity

Brisk activity is the most effective activity for fat burning. In fact, intermittent activity, such as climbing stairs several times each day or walking a few blocks to and from your car, also helps. Walking, gardening, or housecleaning can be very effective. Brisk activity differs from aerobic activity in that it does not increase your heart rate to a training rate.

A study of 14 morbidly obese patients was designed to determine if brisk walking alone was sufficient to serve as an aerobic training stimulus, increasing heart rate to at least 70 percent of maximum. Patients were asked to determine their own brisk walking pace, and walked for one mile. All 14 achieved at least 70 percent of maximum heart rate.

The Korean study measured decreases in blood pressure in 23 hypertensive men following 40-minute brisk walking sessions and four, 10-minute brisk walking bouts. Blood pressure was lowered by similar amounts after each type of exercise session.

Aerobic activity increases your metabolic rate so you will burn more calories throughout the day. Metabolic rate is the speed at which you use up energy. This rate will remain increased for the entire day and into the next day, having a sustained effect for thirty-six hours. Aerobic activity helps your body use carbohydrates more efficiently.

Muscle-building activity increases the amount of muscle on your body. Having more muscle increases your metabolic rate. Muscle building activity involves exercises that use resistance in pulling, pushing, or lifting. It is best not to work the same muscles two days in a row because muscles need time to recover.

You must also realize that you can not try to do too much too soon and must not quit before you have a chance to experience the rewards. Patience and hard work is the key and the end result is worth the price.

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