Some people consider fitness a physical activity that includes rigorous daily exercise regime, others consider it is being slim-trim or having muscular body or having stamina to do a marathon run. Fitness is a sign of having fit body and healthy mind.
Nowadays, the worldwide percentage of obese people is increasing and it became the centre stage of healthcare industry. Previously, obesity was considered a sign of overweight which means looking bad but now it is a disease which brings lot of medical complication that can become a life threat. This complication can be overcome by proper dieting, exercise and self-discipline.
There is a notion that obesity is only related to your weight. People consider themselves Obese by checking their body weight on scale; however, the scale does not calculate body mass (important factor for obesity) and height, which may lead to miscalculation of the obesity. Hence it is important to precisely calculate body mass, height and age to know whether you are obese or not. However, if you have excessive body fat then you would be tagged as obese. Generally, if a person weighs more than the average weight of other people of same height and age, then he or she is considered obese.
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The excessive body fat leads to overweight. To overcome obesity you need to lose weight. Weight loss is burning more calories than you eat. However, for the effective results it is necessary to know the basics of weight loss, which exercises need to be done and how it should be done? The most important aspect is to keep yourself motivated. The above explained criteria’s will provide you the tools you require to loose weight.
Exercise helps in reducing hunger:
According to a study funded by “National Institutes of Health” and conducted by the Obesity Researchers of University of Michigan, it was found that Physical exercise helps in reducing appetite.
The study was presented at “The Endocrine Society’s” 90th Annual Meeting in San Francisco. It focused on the relation among exercise, obesity and Leptin (hormone linked to appetite).
In the research, the researchers conducted the test on a group of post-menopausal women (Group that is prone to increased central adiposity (belly fat) because of the change in their hormones). In morning and afternoon, they put these women on a treadmill for workouts. The observation from this activity was that either woman under observation performed a high intensity workout or indulged in a traditional lower intensity cardio exercise.
Throughout the day, all the participants (each woman participant) were required to rank their level of hunger on a scale of 1 to 10. Moreover, blood samples were taken to measure the level of leptin in their blood. This study revealed that compared to a normal woman, there was a higher level of leptin in the blood sample of an obese woman. To add, the obese women did not report any appetite loss during exercise regime.
The overall outcome of the study is as follows:
The hormone leptin affects appetite. For the normal individuals, an increase in the level of leptin leads to lack of appetite. In obese individuals, increase in leptin has minimum affect on appetite. Hence, though the quantity of leptin produced is more, the obese individuals’ resistance to leptin does not make any difference to their appetite. This kind of pattern indicates the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes in obese men/women.
As per the study, both types of workout (high intensity workout or a lower intensity cardio workout) reduce level of leptin in the normal weight woman. That means there should be increase in the appetite. Interestingly, though the level of leptin is dipping during the exercise, the normal weight woman did not felt hungry. (The findings published by the Endocrine Society did not mention anything regarding the appetite of the normal weight woman post-workout.)
With respect to obese woman, the high intensity workout had no affect on the level of leptin. Though the moderate cardio type workout led to dip in the level of leptin, however there is minimal affect on the hunger. Overweight messes the appetite control system.
With regards to study, the researchers were trying to establish a direct link among leptin, exercise, appetite and obesity. However, they failed to make out complete relation. The appetite control and obesity is a complex issue and the more we try to find out, it gets more complicated and confusing. The one result we can draw from this research is overweight individuals cannot depend on their appetite if they want to lose their weight.
Few insights on weight loss are as follows:
Your daily activities may just be your key to weight loss.
Going for stroll
From the above insight we can conclude that increased physical activity can benefit everyone. Most people can begin gradual, moderate exercise on their own.
Other activity that can help you in losing calories is “Gardening”. If this is your hobby than you will never become obese. There are lot of moves involved in gardening like- raking and edging the lawn, moving around the mulch pile, digging holes, pulling weeds and planting seeds. Gardening utilise all the major muscle groups in the body. As per the statistics half an hour gardening can help a 185 – pound person to burn around 202 calories.
According to one of the studies conducted on this subject gave some astonishing findings such as- gardening could reduce insulin resistance in human body. Increase in insulin resistance could lead to metabolic conditions or diabetes, both of those can significantly contribute to the risk of heart disease.
It has been suggested that urban gardens should not only be used to improve public health and provide fresh produce but also to provide exercise. Also, for better gardening, gadgets like electric weed-whackers can be used, which make gardening easy. In addition to gardening, avoiding convenience devices like garage-door openers and remote controls can help you to burn calories and help to increase your overall amount of physical activity.
The other activities that can help in reducing weight are as follows:
1. Sitting and reading or watching TV
Instead of considering this an exercise we term this an activity. Sitting and reading burn more calories than sitting quietly or sleeping. Brain activity increases when we consciously interpret what we see or read, and for this we need extra energy which is supplied by the body. Increased brain activity burns mostly carbohydrates and thus very little total calories are burned, in contrast other metabolic processes use fat to fuel the process. As per the estimate, this activity will burn 1-2 calories per minute which is very compared to muscle burning fat.
2. Light household work
Light housework can burn up to 2-3 calories per minute. For this activity higher percentage of fats are utilized which in turn can burn around 70% of calories. This activity is not usually considered for loosing weight, but if considered can help in speeding body metabolism. For example doing household activities such as washing, cleaning, sweeping, etc., require lot of energy outflow, as a result higher amount of fat are burned and hence it will lead to weight loss. Light household work can become a part of the exercise program and help to speed up metabolism. Once you start loosing weight, your opinion regarding household work will change. Now, for you household work will be as exciting as any other exercise regime.
Walking is considered to be one of the best exercises for weight loss. Walking can help to burn around 55% of fat; however, the amount of fat burned depends on the intensity of the walk. A brisk walking or long duration walk helps to burn larger amount of calories. The choice of exercise can be made based on the amount of calories it helps to burn. Walking can be the exercise for the people of any age who want to lose weight.
4. Aerobic exercise or light Jogging
Another option for weight loss is aerobics. Aerobics are physical exercises that enhance the heart rate and improve the oxygen intake in the body, which benefits the entire human body. Aerobics includes acts of walking, running, swimming and dancing. This exercise can burn a large amount of energy in the single go. However, for the obese, this exercise can be intense. Especially if obese tries to compete with other fit member. The side effect of intense aerobics on the obese is they may experience heavy breathing that will result in burning of carbohydrates and slowing the percentage of fat burn to as low as 30%. Hence, it is suggested to start the exercise regime with gentle walk. After some weeks you can move to brisk walking and when you become little fit you can then switch to aerobics exercise for better results.
5. Running – Average one mile in 7 minutes.
Running 7 minutes a mile can burn more than 10 calories per minute. And looking at runners on the street, you may infer that this is the best exercise to lose weight. Most of the runners are slim and thin and this pace of running are suitable for them because they are trained runners and their muscles have adopted to this level of intense running over years. They utilize more oxygen which accelerates fat burning mechanism even at higher levels of physical efforts. However, for loosing weight this may not be the right exercise because you will loose 80% carbohydrates and only 20% fat. Loosing higher percentage of carbohydrates will accelerate appetite rather than suppressing it.
6. Sprinting or weight training
Sprinting or weight training is few of the intense exercise you can perform for weight loss. This exercise burn lots of carbohydrates and the amount of calories burned is also very high. However, this exercise can be performed for small durations due to muscle exhaustion. This exercise requires lot of rest between the training sessions and hence can burn fewer amounts of calories. The other exercise like aerobics can be performed regularly because of low physical exhaustion and hence can burn more calories compare to sprinting. You can get positive results by working out lightly over a longer duration.
The outcome of above explanation is intense exercise is not a good choice when you want to loose weight. However, it has recommended that intense training had affects on metabolism even though the workouts has stopped resulting in loosing many extra calories during the rest period. Building lean muscles by using weights can provide added advantage by increasing the metabolism and helping in burning the fat at the rest period. If your fitness level is ok then weight training exercise can provide excellent results.
For the healthy operation of body system parts, regular exercise is must. Mild exercise helps to maintain the size, tone, shape; muscles of the body and laborious exercise strengthen them. Exercise aids joint flexibility and scope of movement. Performing 5 minutes of each push ups and squat would aid in building muscle mass. The muscles help in higher metabolism and thus burn more calories a day. According to the fitness consultant Mr. Harley Pasternak, author of “The 5 Factor Diet”, the high heart rate would burn more calories post cardio. The intense the workout, the longer it would take for metabolism to return to its original state.
Regular exercise would help to lose weight. The key to lose weight is to exercise sufficiently longer and harder so that your body should burn more calories than it generated each week.
A moderate to intense aerobic exercise performed for 45 to 60 minutes at least 5 times a week would give you the best results.
5 reasons for exercise:
1. Additional energy
As per the study conducted by the scientist at the University of New Orleans, it was proved that exercise can make you more energetic. To prove this fact, scientist conducted a research by asking 42 participants to gauge their frame of mind before and after a 50 minutes aerobics. The result was the most of the participants felt less tense and tired after the exercise. As per the research conducted in the year 1997, brisk 10 minute walk can provide more energy than eating a candy bar. This is because exercise boosts a hormone that increases energy. Few workouts would strengthen the lungs capacity to pump more oxygen which will aid to improve muscles strength leading to increase in stamina. Hence after workouts you will feel more energetic.
2. Relieve from stress
A simple workout can help in reducing stress and anxiety. At Indianan University, researcher used psychological test to measure the anxiety levels in living beings. As per the test, 15 participants were asked to report how they felt before and after a 20 minute workout session. As per the participants, they felt considerably less anxious during an hour and two after the exercise session. Exercise not only enhance the flow of brain element like serotonin, that aid positive mood, but also increase the body temperature which is relaxing like taking bath in hot tub.
3. Creative Mind
Exercise can help in being creative. An experiment conducted on 63 participants at England’s Middlesex University, showed very impressive results. Participants were tested after they did aerobics and after they watched a video. The result was they felt more affirmative and also they scored higher on creativity after the workouts.
4. Healthier arteries
High-density lipoproteins or HDL (good cholesterol) helps clear the body of low-density lipoproteins (LDL), the one which add to artery-clogging. As per the studies HDL can carry cholesterol deposited in arteries to somewhere, where it is not harmful, safeguarding arteries. Hence HDL is very important for the body and exercise enhances the levels of HDL in the body. There is another fat particle in the blood called triglycerides which is related to heart. As per the studies, the lower the level of triglycerides, the lower the risk of heart disease. The intense workout lowers the level of triglycerides by more than 40%, hence lowering the risk of heart disease. Exercising converts triglycerides into fatty acids form which can be burned for energy. You burn calories when you workout which will lead to loss of weight.
5. Improved defences
As per the saying, when you exercise you have 40 to 50 % fewer sick days. When you exercise, your heart starts pounding faster and the blood pressure increases, driving disease-fighting immune cells into the blood. Theses cells detect the troublemakers like cold, flu viruses and other bacteria and fight them off the body.
Other alternatives to burn calories and Build Strength
Spice Up Your Workout
Exercise comes in varieties such as walking, jogging, aerobics, tai chi, tennis, gardening, swimming and many others. The important thing is to know which one is enjoyed by you. The more you enjoy the more you can workout. As the saying goes, “variety is the spice of life”.
Workout using exercise balls:
It is a well know fact that many people use exercise balls to workout. They are orthopaedic balls and a highly efficient exercise tool. They are handy and thus people can perform workout at any place such as office, home, in front of television using these balls. The above illustration is enough to prove the effectiveness of the balls. The additional reasons for the popularity of the balls are explored below.
Positive aspects and benefits of orthopaedic balls:
Because of the balls ergonomic features, they provide support to your spine helping them to be straight and thus making your body well balanced. You can sit on this comfortably with the satisfaction that your sitting posture is correct and healthy. You can sit on these balls in the office comfortably.
While working for moderate hours, you have to sit continuously in the same position. This is bad for the back and unhealthy. The orthopaedic balls forces you to change position in order to balance your body on the ball thus providing motion and helping to keep your bones and joints flexible and in shape.
Now the question is how it can be an exercise ball. The answer for this question is when you are trying to balance your body on the ball it makes you stretch your muscles and joint without your knowledge. Also, the ball can be called as an excellent companion because numerous exercises can be performed with the ball and it helps you to stay fit and in shape.
Other benefits of orthopaedic balls are:
One of the benefits of performing workout using balls is exercise boosts your metabolism and blood flow helping to clean your organism, thus providing a healthy lifestyle.
Exercise balls are less costly compared to other exercise equipments such as treadmill, weighting devices, etc. Also, since it is toy like, you can have more fun while exercising and can burn calories, gain muscles, lose weight and stay fit.
There are lot more benefits of exercise balls additional to those mentioned above. These balls are cheaper and affordable. They can be kept any where in the house and you can enjoy performing on it when ever you want.
The other fun and inexpensive exercises are:
As discussed above, exercise balls are the recent trends. The brightly colour oversized plastic balls can be used to perform variety of exercises which helps to improve balance, move; provide Strength, flexibility, coordination, better posture. It also helps in strengthening your body core muscles such as abdomen, back and sides.
Another exercise which is in trend is Pilates. It helps in strengthening your muscles, making them flexible and improves posture. The origin of Pilates dated back to 20th century; it was developed by the German man named Joseph Pilates. Pilates concentrates on using body core muscles to support move through large range of motion. Pilates exercise is performed using mats. But, there are some Pilate exercises which require other large equipment involving pulleys. Pilates is very popular among celebrities and professional dancers, it help to integrate mind and body and helps to maintain slim and healthy shapes.
This is a common game played by the kids. A rubber band is stretched with the index finger and it flings across the room to the other person for fun. The same concept is applied in the resistance bands. However not only your index finger but the whole body muscles get workout. In resistance bands, you use your own body weight instead of the external weights like dumbbells for resistance.
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This is how the resistance bands work:
To use resistance band, you should slip the band around your arm or foot and extend or lift the limb against the band’s resistance. It can also be sheltered to the door or bar for doing exercise. This is also a cheap and portable exercise tool. They come in different sizes and with different degree of resistance. The utility of shorter bands is they help in strengthening hips, ankles, wrists and hands where as longer bands are used for legs and arms. There are implicit colours to identify the resistance. Yellow colour bands are identified as least resistance bands followed by green, red, blue and black.
Physical exhaustion (Exercise) is more beneficial than dieting to overcome obesity:
In the research conducted at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Centre, the researchers were trying to understand what aid in reducing the size of abdominal fat cells. These cells play a major role in developing diabetes and heart disease.
The study conducted for 20 weeks gave them the important fact such as burning calories is only one of the remedies for reducing abdominal fat cells the other things that are require is change in lifestyle.
Though it is a well established fact that exercise can help in reducing fat cell size, the intensity of exercise is matter or not is not proven. Since it is prevalent that more women suffer from obesity than men, the study usually involves women participants. The target was to lose 2800 calories per week. The participants were divided into three groups and each group had different set of instructions for loosing weight. The first group need to burn calories by dieting alone. The second group was required to walk at the speed of 1 to 2 miles per hour on a treadmill three times a week for around 50 minutes. The third group was required to walk at the speed of 3.5 to 4 miles per hour, three times a week for around 30 minutes.
The food was planned by the registered dieticians. The body size, weight, total fat and abdominal fat cell size were measured before the experiment. After the experiment the results were: All the participants from the three groups were able to reduce body weight, fat mass, percent weight, waist and hip girths. However, the second and the third group were additionally able to reduce around 18% in the size of abdominal fat cells because the first group was only on dieting were as the second and the third group was performing exercise. Both the second and the third group were able to burned 400 calories per week through walking.
The one of the main reason behind the obesity related diseases is the abdominal fat. It is suggested that the exercise should be prescribed as the prescription for treating health complication related to the abdominal fat.
Gym can be part of your home
Cardio exercises are considered to be the best regime for maintaining proper health and body fitness. However, pursuing gym is difficult because of the cost and time factor. Nevertheless, it is not required to go to gym for exercising; it can be done at the privacy of your house if you have will and perseverance for the continual workout. If once you are prepared for an hour exercise daily, you can have fit and healthy body and can be a part of exciting world of home cardio workout.
Performing cardio exercise at home:
Step aerobics is one of the best cardio exercises available at present. Intense step exercise performed for a period of half an hour will help you to burn around 400 calories. Therefore, though it is mostly performed by the women, this can be a good option for men too. This is an excellent exercise that can help all without of any sex bias.
Jumping rope can be a valuable additional exercise tool to the home gym. It helps to improve body parts such as limb coordination, speed and eye movements, thus improving endurance and stamina.
By cycling regularly you can burn around 500 calories in a single go. This is not a new exercise. People who are in cardio and fitness would have known the benefits of cycling. Therefore, stationary bicycles can be an addition t your gym for easier weight loss and fitness.
The other highly productive physical exercises are jumping jacks and swimming. Addition to this, regular walking can work wonders for cardiovascular health. Hence, all the exercises that are mentioned above combined with some other can become your personal exercise regime and you will be benefited without ever leaving the peace of your home.
Water Aerobics and its benefits:
Though some people have different view regarding water aerobics because of certain discrimination, it can be a lot of fun and excitement for kids and adults.
Aerobics is a physical exercise discussed earlier in the article. The latest addition to aerobics is water aerobics and has many advantages. There is no age restriction for this exercise. Its all depends on individual need and capabilities. Water aerobics involves movement of each and every muscle and joints of the body. It is very fun because it calm the heat that generate from exercises.
Water allows floating and thus puts less strain on the joints and enough pressure on muscles to work. Obese, who are for a while unable to do exercise can opt for water aerobics. It is sure water aerobics would kindle their spirit.
For water aerobics classes certain things need to keep in mind. The exercise regime should be formulated with the help of physicians. Person having diabetes should have medical indication. The water temperature should be controlled to provide optimal conditions for burning of calories. Warming before the exercise is essential and taking shower after the exercise is must because water might be chlorinated. Drinking plenty of water helps to keep you hydrated. It is always advisable to have instructor while swimming and to follow all safety rules for your well being. If necessary you can use floating devices which can help you to be focused on exercise routine.
Water strengthens the muscles, hence walking, running, jogging in the water helps to develop cardio respiratory fitness. Different games involve different movement thus provide flexibility. As the classes progress, you can go to deep water depending upon the workout.
Maximum of 20 to 40 minutes of jogging and walking per session should be enough for the body. You can burn more calories through water aerobics. You can burn around 340 calories while jogging in chest deep water for 30- minute compared to 240 calories you burn when jogging on land. A well qualified instructor is a must who not only can instruct on water aerobics but also can understand health concerns.
Children and exercise:
The percentage of obese children has increased drastically in past 30 years. The cause of this is the inactive lifestyle, less involvement in extra curricular activities and sitting and ideally watching the television or playing video games.
The parents and the caretakers should plan the schedule in a way that it should accommodate all activities necessary for child. There should be time limit for watching television and the rest of the time should be planned for productive outcome. Child should be encouraged for physical activities such as walking rather than bus, using stairs instead of elevators. As the saying goes children learn from adults. Hence parents should set example for children
For child, the routine is full of physical activities. They enjoy playing indoor and outdoor games. These games provide lot of movement and thus provide flexibility and stamina to children. Adults who thing exercising as lifting weights and sweating in gym, can learn from children’s play.
Fitness comprises of the three elements – stamina, strength and flexibility and all these things can be found in children’s play. All the above three mentioned elements can be seen when children are chasing each other, crossing monkey bars and when they bend to tie shoe laces.
It is a duty of parents and teachers to make sure children participate in various activities which have all the elements of fitness. Endurance (stamina) would build when children practices aerobics. Aerobics increase heart rate and speed up breathing. If done regularly, it enables the body to provide oxygen to all the cells and it helps in strengthening the heart. Running, skating, walking, cycling, playing basketball, soccer, swimming, tennis are the aerobics activities and if carried out regularly can benefit the body immensely. Beside useful, these activities provide fun and excitement.
Weight lifting is not the only tool for gaining strength and the children who want to do weight lifting should perform it under adult supervision. However, children can gain strength while playing such as climbing or wrestling. Additional to this, children can perform sit-ups, crunches, and push ups for toning their muscles.
Stretching of arms and legs helps to improve flexibility and is the activity children perform from early age. Small children start stretching when they reach for things they want or when they do cartwheel. It is not necessary that all children should do the same exercise or spend same amount of time on exercising.
For infants, there is no much requirement for exercise. However, children of age 2 and above should spend hour an hour performing planned activities and one hour playing freely. Pre-school children should spend more than an hour for planned activities and the school children should spend more time.
Exercise is not only beneficial for adults but it is also has many benefits for children. Children who perform physical activities are less prone to obesity and type 2 diabetes. Physical exhaustion leads to strong muscles and bone structure and has slim body. Also, exercise helps in controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels in blood. And thus young children have better chance to be healthy adults. Physical exercise not only keeps good health but also aid in better sleep and helps to cope with stress. With respect to food, parents and teachers are responsible for incorporating the healthy food habits among children because junk food reduces the positive effects of exercise.
The role of exercise in preventing childhood obesity:
The increasing threat of childhood obesity is visible in the United States as well as around the word in developed and developing countries. Obese children are at a greater risk of severe medical complexity. The chronic disease such as osteoarthritis, diabetes mellitus, and cardiovascular disease can cause severe health complications. This will lead to poor quality of life, shortened lifespan, increased personal and financial burden. All the above occurred due to the physical inactivity. Thus, it is important to consider exercise and physical exhaustion as a resource to combat childhood obesity. To understand the literature of childhood obesity, familiarity of weight status in children and metabolic syndrome is important. Exercise plays a vital role in managing weight from prenatal to adolescent stage. Children family and community impact the accessibility of physical activity.
Resistance Training Vs. Aerobic Training
Resistance training and aerobic training are best in the routine for any population unless there are some underlying circumstances. Both the workouts have their benefits. However, the benefits you get from these workouts are different. No one is better than other. Which one to select depends on the requirements?
Resistance and aerobics exercise should be incorporated for childhood obesity. The two exercises go one after the other. Resistance training builds muscles, which in turn helps in burning more calories during aerobics. It is proven that aerobics burn more calories; resistance training has higher position for burning calories.
Resistance training increases muscular strength. It is the ability of muscle to produce force against a resistance. Muscular strength is “the ability of a person to exert force on physical objects using muscles”. Muscular strength enhancement can be improved by introducing muscles to a stimulus which is greater in resistance than they are familiarized to. The above mentioned resistance is heavier than aerobics resistance. It should be noted that, older children get more benefits from the resistance training than the younger ones. This happens because due to the release of hormones after puberty. For the same reasons, men will have greater training effects than females. Resistance training not only increase bon
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