An Intelligent Exercise Approach
Moving Beyond Mere Movement
Clickers and pedometers are small devices that attach to one's waistband or belt. They measure how many steps a person takes. A common goal is to take 10,000 steps a day, which is equivalent to walking about 4 to 5 miles.
Don't confuse exercise with movement. Movement is better than being sedentary, but isn't enough for burning fat and increasing muscle. Movement includes simple activities such as walking, climbing a few flights of stairs instead of taking the elevator, or parking at the far end of a parking lot and walking the extra steps to the grocery store. These kinds of activities are low intensity, however, and don't increase your pulse rate enough to release endorphins, nor to build muscle mass, nor to make a significant reduction in body fat.
Activities such as walking are sure better for you than sitting around. Often people measure movement with clickers or pedometers. These register how many steps you take—in other words, how much you're moving. Studies show that on average, 10,000 clicks or steps a day will reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol. Moving your body will make you stronger and will burn calories. Wearing a pedometer is like having a personal trainer on your hip, counting your results and silently urging you to move more.
Unfortunately, low-intensity movement exercises don't produce the same fat-burning benefits as a higher-intensity workout. Plus, a high-intensity workout boosts your metabolism and keeps it high for a while after your workout. To get the best shape, tone, and cardio benefits from exercise, you'll need to do more than move, but what a great way to start. As you progress, increase the cardio intensity and add in strength training and flexibility exercises regularly to have a complete workout.
Do Them Correctly
Correct posture makes a big difference. If you're going to exercise at all, you may as well do it correctly.
You'll be amazed at the extra benefits you'll get when you perform exercises correctly. It really does make a difference, and you don't want to waste one moment doing an exercise incorrectly. Learn the correct posture for using everything from your stationary exercise bike to weight-lifting equipment.
Do you have any idea how many times we've seen people spend hours on a stair-stepping machine, slumped over the hand rails as if they need them to keep from keeling over. They might be doing some good, but they sure aren't getting the full benefit of the exercise. You can learn proper techniques from a trainer, a video, or a book. Get your form down right!
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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Healthy Weight Loss © 2005 by Lucy Beale and Sandy G. Couvillon. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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