Category Archives: Fitness

Okay, So You Have Decided to Get Fit: Where Is a Good Place to Start?

Okay, So You Have Decided to Get Fit: Where Is a Good Place to Start?
By Gordon Folka

How to Get Fit
Image courtesy of Pixabay

Cardiovascular fitness is sometimes referred to as “cardiovascular endurance” because a person who possesses this type of fitness can persist in physical exercise for long periods of time without undue fatigue. It has been referred to as “cardio-respiratory fitness” because it requires delivery and utilization of oxygen, which is only possible if the circulatory and respiratory systems are capable of these functions.

The term “aerobic fitness” has also been used as a synonym for cardiovascular fitness because “aerobic capacity” is considered to be the best indicator of cardiovascular fitness and aerobic physical activity or exercise is the preferred method for achieving it. Regardless of the words used to describe it, cardiovascular fitness is complex because it requires fitness of several body systems.

Good cardiovascular fitness requires a fit heart muscle. The heart is a muscle; to become stronger it must be exercised like any other muscle in the body. If the heart is exercised regularly, its strength increases; if not, it becomes weaker. Contrary to the belief that strenuous work harms the heart, research has found no evidence that regular progressive exercise is bad for the normal heart. In fact, the heart muscle will increase in size and power when called upon to extend itself. The increase in size and power allows the heart to pump a greater volume of blood with fewer strokes per minute. The average individual has a resting heart rate of between seventy (70) and eighty (80) beats per minute, whereas it is not uncommon for a trained athlete’s pulse to be in the low fifties or even in the forties.

The healthy heart is efficient in the work it does. It can convert about half of its fuel into energy. An automobile engine in good running condition converts about one-fourth of its fuel into energy. By comparison, the heart is an efficient engine. The heart of a normal individual beats reflexively about 40 million times a year. During this time, over 4,000 gallons, or 10 tons, of blood are circulated each day, and every night the heart’s workload is equivalent to a person carrying a thirty-pound pack to the top of the 102-story Empire State Building.

Good cardiovascular fitness requires a fit vascular system. Healthy arteries are elastic, free of obstruction and expand to permit the flow of blood. Muscle layers line the arteries and control the size of the arterial opening upon the impulse from nerve fibers. Unfit arteries may have a reduced internal diameter because of deposits on the anterior of their walls, or they may have hardened, nonelastic walls.

Fit coronary arteries are especially important to good health. The blood in the four chambers of the heart does not directly nourish the heart. Rather, numerous small arteries within the heart muscle provide for coronary circulation. Poor coronary circulation precipitated by unhealthy arteries can be the cause of a heart attack.

Veins have thinner, less elastic walls than arteries. Also, veins contain small valves to prevent the backward flow of blood to the heart. The veins are intertwined in the muscle; therefore, when the muscle is contracted the vein is squeezed, pushing the blood on its way back to the heart. A malfunction of the valves results in a failure to remove used blood at the proper rate. As a result, venous blood pools, especially in the legs, causing a condition known as varicose veins.

Good cardiovascular fitness requires a fit respiratory system and fit blood. The process of taking in oxygen (through the mouth and nose) and delivering it to the lungs, where the blood picks it up, is called external respiration. External respiration requires fit lungs as well as blood with adequate hemoglobin in the red blood cells. Insufficient oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood is called anemia.

Delivering oxygen to the tissues from the blood is called internal respiration. Internal respiration requires an adequate number of healthy capillaries. In addition to delivering oxygen to the tissues, these systems remove CO2. Good vascular fitness requires fitness of both the external and internal respiratory systems.

Cardiovascular fitness requires fit muscle tissue capable of using oxygen. Once the oxygen is delivered, the muscle tissues must be able to use oxygen to sustain physical performance. Cardiovascular fitness activities rely mostly on slow-twitch muscle fibers. These fibers, when trained, undergo changes that make them especially able to use oxygen. Outstanding distance runners often have high numbers of slow-twitch fibers and sprinters often have high numbers of fast-twitch fibers.

Regular physical activity reduces the risk of heart disease. There is considerable evidence that regular physical reduces the incidence of heart disease. Also, it reduces the chances of early death from heart disease. In fact, the benefits of exercise in preventing heart disease have been shown to be independent of other risk factors. Inactivity is now considered a primary risk factor for heart disease.

People with low cardiovascular fitness have increase risk of heart disease. The best evidence indicates that cardiovascular fitness is associated with heart disease. Research has shown that low fit people are especially at risk. In addition it has now been demonstrated that improving your fitness (moving from low fitness to the good fitness zone) has a positive effect on health.

The frequency, intensity and time of your physical activity will vary depending on the benefits you hope to achieve. The term “threshold of training” suggests that there is one level of physical activity that all people must do to achieve cardiovascular fitness as well as the health benefits of activity. We now know that the threshold differs for people depending on their current fitness and activity levels and the benefits they hope to achieve. New studies show that health benefits can be achieved by doing less activity than previously thought. However, those who desire “performance benefits” as indicated by a high level cardiovascular fitness, in addition to the health benefits of physical activity, will need to do activity at a higher threshold level than those who are interested primarily in the basic health benefits.

The type of physical activity you select is important to the benefits you will receive. Lifestyle physical activities, such as walking, yard work, climbing stairs and normal daily tasks, can promote health benefits and make contributions to your cardiovascular fitness. Aerobic activities such as running, skiing, cycling, and active sports are considered to be the most beneficial in promoting health benefits and are effective in promoting performance increases needed for high-level performance. Though sports can be effective in contributing to the development of cardiovascular fitness, some are relatively ineffective and others can be very effective.

As a minimum, adults should participate in regular physical activity equal to 30 minutes of brisk walking most, preferably all, days of the week. Research shows that 30 minutes of physical activity equal to brisk walking most days of the week is an important contributor to personal cardiovascular health. To achieve health benefits, physical activity can be accumulated in several 10 to 15 minute bouts that total 30 minutes daily. However, when possible, bouts of 30 minutes duration are recommended. Near daily activity is recommended because each activity session actually has short-term benefits, which do not occur if activity is not relatively frequent. This is sometimes referred to as the “last bout effect”.

Calories can be counted to determine if you are doing enough to receive cardiovascular benefits of physical activity. The threshold of training for producing many of the health benefits can be determines using a weekly calorie count. Scientific evidence suggests that people who regularly expend calories each week in lifestyle activities such as walking, stair climbing and sports reduce death rates considerably compared to those who do not exercise. As few as 500 to 1,000 calories expended in exercise per week can reduce death rate, but most experts suggest that to insure a health benefit no less than 1.35 calories per pound of body weight each day. This amounts to 1,000 to 2,000 calories per week for most people if exercise is done daily.

For optimal health benefits an expenditure of 2,000 to 3,500 calories per week is recommended, because people doing this much physical activity have 48 to 64 percent less risk of heart disease when compared to sedentary people. As the calories expended per week increase the death rate decreases proportionately up to 3,500 calories. Because additional benefits do not occur for those expending more than 3,500 calories per week, the target zone is 1,000 to 3,500 calories per week. For health benefits to occur, calories must be expended on most days of the week and over long periods of time. In other words, moderate physical activity is described here must become regular lifetime physical activity if optimal health benefits are to be obtained. It should also be pointed out that some vigorous sports participation as part of the calories expended each week enhances the benefits of moderate regular calorie expenditure.

Heart rate can provide the basis for determining if a person is doing enough exercise to improve fitness. We know that expending a significant number of calories each week can result in reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and improved health. To achieve these benefits it is only necessary to do relatively low-level exercise for extended periods of time. Both cardiovascular health and performance benefits could be obtained in much shorter periods of time if exercise is done more intensely. For busy people this method is often preferred. To achieve fitness by using shorter duration exercise, your heart rate must be elevated to target zone intensity. In addition to producing cardiovascular health benefits, exercise that elevates the heart rate into the target zone has the added advantage of improved cardiovascular fitness test scores and improved performances in cardiovascular activities such as running, swimming and cycling.

Whether you are just trying to improve your cardiovascular health or wanting to improve your performance at a specific sport, it is important to apply these methods on a regular basis. Just remember these three principles; frequency, intensity and time. Apply these principles and you will enjoy good cardiovascular fitness and avoid risk of heart disease.

I have been in the Health & Wellness industry for the last 5 years. I love helping people reach their health and fitness goals. My entire life has been centered on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This has enabled me to enjoy the things I love most about life. My favorite motto is: “If you do not have your health nothing else matters”. I look forward to sharing with others my experiences and the knowledge I have gained over the years.

If you enjoyed this article please visit my website for an opportunity that may change your life as it has changed mine.

Ultimate Fitness By Design [http://www.ultimatehealthbydesign.com]

Thanks for taking the time to read my article. I hope you got something of value and please tell others.

You may contact me at gordon.folka@me.com or by phone at 250.216.4595

Gordon Folka

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Gordon_Folka/604600
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Does Increasing Fitness Increase Self-Respect?

By: Laure Justice

Making an effort to increase your fitness level can boost your mood, give you a taste of success (especially if you don’t give up) and can help you boost your sense of self-respect.

Increasing Fitness to Increase Self-Respect
Image courtesy of Pixabay

“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” – John F. Kennedy

The Link Between Fitness and Self-Respect

Your sense of self-respect comes from within, and while self-respect and confidence are not technically linked to your physical characteristics, allowing your body to fall into an unhealthy state is a sign of low self-esteem and low self-respect.

“Confidence has nothing to do with what you look like. If you obsess over that, you’ll end up being disappointed in yourself all the time. Instead, high self-esteem comes from how you feel in any moment. So walk into a room acting like you’re in charge, and spend your energy on making the people around you happy.” – Marian Seldes

Increase Fitness Levels to Increase Self-Respect

You know yourself better than anyone else does, so take advantage of that self-knowledge when beginning a fitness program so you can make a success of it.

For example, if you know you won’t go to a gym to work out if it’s inconvenient or if you feel like trim athletic people are watching you, find a safe place to walk or jog, or lift weights in the privacy of your bedroom. 

Also, if you know you overeat or make poor food choices when you skip breakfast, make it easy on yourself by getting some granola bars or yogurt you can eat in a hurry  so you don’t go crazy and eat a couple of Big Macs and some mega-fries for dinner.

“Build your self-esteem by recalling all the ways you have succeeded, and your brain will be filled with images of you making your achievements happen again and again. Give yourself permission to toot your own horn, and don’t wait for anyone to praise you.” – Jack Canfield

Break your emotional connection between the things you view as negative in your physical state, like being unfit, by making it easy to succeed in becoming fit.  Each little success means you deserve to give yourself a pat on the back for doing something positive for yourself –

Each little success means you deserve to give yourself a pat on the back for doing something positive for yourself – so don’t wait for someone else to tell you that you’re doing great.

(Really – people can be jerks – so focus on what you think of yourself – and don’t be a jerk to yourself!)

KNOW you are making positive steps and let the positivity be something you embrace and your sense of self-respect will increase right along with your fitness level. 

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Can Visualization Really Help With Weight Loss?

While there is a lot more to weight loss than just visualization, visualization is a tool you can use to help you stay focused on your goals as you build healthy eating and fitness routines into your daily life.

Visualization and Weight Loss

Visualization and Weight Loss

“Changing the way you approach weight loss can help you be successful. Set goals and focus on lifestyle changes like being physically active instead of focusing on just weight loss itself.” – National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight can tell you how hard it can be; the challenge is that you still have to eat and you still have to deal with the same emotions and stressors that caused the weight gain in the first place.

I can’t even guess how many times I have latched on to one or two components of the weight loss process, like reducing calories or exercising a certain period of time, only to see initial success followed by disappointment – and I’m not alone – the $650.9 billion per year weight loss industry wouldn’t exist if I were the only person dealing with weight issues.

Visualization Helps You Change the Way You Think

One thing you can add to the mix to help you lose weight and gain a healthier lifestyle is visualization because it puts the unlimited power of your subconscious brain behind your weight loss efforts.

Alone, visualization won’t melt the pounds off your body, but it can help you build the confidence and self-esteem needed to make a physical change, and it can help you maintain your ongoing focus as you take the steps necessary for weight loss.

Weight Loss Visualization Tips

This is the easiest way to get started, but it costs a few dollars, and for many people the easy way is not always the most effective way – (you have to ‘know’ yourself) – you can buy or download weight loss meditation and visualization CDs or download them from the Internet, then listen to them several times throughout the day as you  relax or as a complementary part of meditation.

Another way that takes a bit more effort is to write your own affirmations about weight loss, total fitness, and your health, then memorize them and add them to your meditation time, or if you don’t meditate, repeat them when you wake up, mid-day, and just before you go to sleep.

Visualization alone won’t change your body, but adding it to a healthy eating and exercise plan as part of a healthy lifestyle can help get you where you want to be.

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Meditation Music and Positivity During Workout Routines

The right music can help put you ‘in the zone’ for workouts, and if you’re trying to achieve a high level of total fitness, it’s helpful to add some meditation music that enhances your state of positivity to the stretching phases of your workout routines.

Meditation Music for Workout Routines

Meditation Music and Positivity During Workout Routines

Short Workout Routines

If you are planning a short fairly low-intensity workout, five minutes of stretching at the beginning and again at the end might be all you want to add to your fitness routine, and one easy and positive way to do that is to select five-minute tracks of meditation music for the stretching phases.

This applies to yoga stretches or basic stretches like you were taught in your high school gym class, the result is the same as long as you warm up and stretch out your muscles before and after your workout.

Longer Workout Routines

If you plan a longer, or high-intensity workout, increase the meditation music tracks to ten or fifteen minutes at the beginning and end to give you adequate time to warm up your muscles and then stretch and cool down to reduce soreness from an intense workout. (Running Times recommends twenty minutes for the cool down period after a hard run.)

For specifics on your ideal warm up time, you should always discuss your workout routines with your doctor or personal trainer before making changes – then choose positive, slow-paced meditation music to accommodate and enhance the beginning and end of your workout.

 

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Tips for Gaining Motivation From a Fitness Magazine

Every month it comes… the day your favorite fitness magazine comes out, and you get a fresh burst of motivation and some great new ideas on exercises to improve your fitness level and maybe even some great recipes for nutritious food that won’t pack on the pounds.

Men's Fitness MagaineThen you finish reading through the magazine and set it aside after maybe trying a couple of the exercises and thinking about the suggestions in the magazine, and the motivation you got from it is gone as soon as you put it down.

It doesn’t have to be like that, though – you can use some things you learned in elementary school or (if you’re a techy type) a computer program – like a slideshow – to make sure the tips from that magazine help you keep your motivation level up.

Tips for Gaining Motivation From a Fitness Magazine

Make a Fitness Motivation Poster

Fitness RX for Women MagazineIf you don’t mind cutting up your favorite magazine, hang up a poster board (you can get everything you need for this at the dollar store.)

  • Cut out pictures of the models doing exercises you want to try.
  • Glue or tape those pictures near the edges of the poster board.
  • Then, cut out tips you want to try and attach them in the center of the poster board.
  • If you don’t want to keep the entire magazine after cutting out your favorite motivational parts, make sure to cut out any articles that inspire you and recipes you want to try before recycling the remaining part of the magazine.
  • Make your motivational poster as eye-catching as possible by adding some glitter glue around the photos, or use poster paint or even a permanent marker in your favorite color.
  • Add new images and tips to the poster any time you want – and if you find some things don’t inspire you for very long – just attach new ones on top of them.

Make a Motivational Slideshow

Making a slideshow is a great option for people who prefer digital magazines or for people who don’t want to cut up a magazine.

  • You can use PowerPoint or any slideshow program you like using to do this.
  • Just like making a poster, choose images of exercises and things that inspire you from the magazine.
  • Copy and paste them into your slideshow, then set it to run like wallpaper on your computer or device.

These two methods put the things that inspire you to be more fit and healthy in front of you on a daily basis, so your favorite fitn

 

 

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4 Tips to Stay Motivated the Second Day of a New Fitness Plan

The first day of a new fitness routine is (usually) easy – you’re excited about the healthy new body and lifestyle you’re going to have and maybe even planning out the new clothes you’re going to get – but then the second day arrives…

Fitbook: Journaling for Motivation and Weight Loss
Click here to check this out on Amazon!

If you worked out hard the first day, you’re probably waking up with sore muscles. 

Then, you hop on the scale to see how much weight you lost from your amazing first day of a new diet and you find out you gained three pounds.

There goes the motivation, but this is the wrong time to give up if you really want to be fit and healthy, so you need to find some ways to stay motivated through the second day and through any future days that are rough.

4 Tips to Maintain Motivation for a New Fitness Regimen

Have a backup plan (a simple one) that you can easily push through when you aren’t feeling motivated – or when you’re sore.

  • For exercise, this can be as simple as taking a short walk or choosing a few of your favorite songs to listen to while you dance around the house – not every workout has to be intense.

Plan for healthy eating and snacking ahead of time.

  • For your diet plan, have on hand (or get) some healthy foods you can eat without a lot of preparation time, so you aren’t so tempted to grab a bag of chips or cookies when you’re hungry or tired – but if you do nosh on a bit too much ice cream – so what – it’s just one snack – so go ahead and enjoy it, then get back on track afterwards.

Feed your spirit while you are changing your physical state.

  • Add some positivity exercises, such as affirmations,  meditation, or meditative yoga to your plan to make a holistic fitness plan – increasing your positivity is only going to help you in the long run.

Have realistic expectations because change can be rapid but it doesn’t happen overnight.

  • This is where you need to give yourself a break — if you have fitness problems, they didn’t develop overnight and it’s going to take some time to put them behind you – plus most weight problems have some emotional baggage behind them that you need to address for successful weight loss and to have a healthier lifestyle.

Stay Motivated! You Can Do It!

Life changes can be hard, especially when you’re talking about something like weight or a fitness issue because they often are so intrinsically linked to emotional pain, so it’s really important to build success into your new fitness regimen if you want to succeed,

Stay motivated through the second day of your new fitness plan, and through every day, and you will find it much easier to reach your fitness goals.

 

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What Is Total Fitness?

When we think of fitness, we often only think of physical fitness, however, to be really fit for life we need to be fit in mind, body, and spirit. Life presents us with many challenges and to meet these challenges well we need to be in tip top condition, be able to cope with stress, in control of our minds and have a connection to our inner wisdom.

What Is Total Fitness?

By Ali Wylie

How can we explain total fitness? Well to summarise it is a combination of being fit and well in mind, body and spirit. All three areas are of importance and interconnected.

When we think of exercise we often only think of physical exercise but what good is it if you are physically fit but you don’t use your brain. Use it or lose it so the expression goes. The diseases on the increase in our society are dementia related illnesses. Why is that? Do we stop using our brain as we get older? It would seem so. We have to look at the brain like a muscle, if we don’t use a muscle it shrinks and gets weaker, and so does the brain.

At the same time what is the point in having a fit mind if our physical body is too weak to do what we enjoy doing. As we get older we need to keep exercising as there are so many benefits. More energy, more oxygen circulating in the body, better immune system, our health is generally better.

We don’t have to be fitness freaks but we do need to exercise at least 3 times a week, and exercise well. It’s no good going to the swimming pool and spending most of the time hanging on the side chatting, the talking can happen after over a coffee but when you’re exercising stay focused on the job in hand.

The benefits of a regular exercise routine will soon start to show, firmer muscles, more energy, walking faster up those hills plus a general sense of well-being. Consistency is the key as with anything we want to achieve in life.

What about the spiritual side? A strong connection to the inner you gives you a lot more confidence in life as well as the ability to cope with stress and most of us have a lot of that in our lives. As we get older so do our family members and sooner or later we all have to deal with losing a loved one, a strong spiritual connection will help you deal with loss. Life after all goes on and we must learn how to adapt and remain strong and productive.

We should still be able to enjoy our own lives and a connection to the inner you will make this more possible. The inner you is wise and knows the next step you should be taking in life, often the signs we get from this font of wisdom are missed due to the busy nature of our lives. We must learn to listen to the whispers from our soul.

Life will always present us with problems the important thing is how we deal with them, being totally fit will give you all the tools you need to meet and overcome whatever challenges come your way.

Total fitness is a lifestyle, it is about taking control of your life and living it to the full. We are not just a body but a mind too and of course we have spiritual connections. We need to get all of who we are in order. Pop over and visit us at http://www.totalfitnessunited.com and let us help you get fit for life.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Ali_Wylie

 

 

 

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