Should you stretch?
Years ago, in gym class, stretching served as an introduction to the activity du jour. These days, people are discouraged from stretching cold muscles. Doing a light warm-up such as jogging in place for a few minutes before stretching increases blood flow to the muscles so that they're more easily extended.
Stretching, which keeps the muscles and connective tissues supple, should be an integral part of a fitness routine. Dutto recommends that people do light stretching following their warm-up and save deep stretching for after the main activity.
How much water should you drink?
Athletes and people who work out intensely should be concerned about hydration. But the average American who gets light to moderate exercise doesn't need to obsess about it, says Bettye Nowlin, a registered dietitian and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.
For people who participate in vigorous physical activity, the goal is to replace the amount of fluid lost through sweat. These people should consume two to three cups of fluid up to three hours before the workout. During the activity, they should drink 4 to 8 ounces every 15 to 20 minutes. After the workout, they should drink three cups of fluid for every pound of body weight lost, Nowlin says.
Should you exercise when you're sick?
There's nothing more disruptive to a fitness routine than getting sick. Still, show your fellow gym rats some holiday spirit and spare them from your germs.
During the first few days when you're most contagious, stick to solitary activities. Take the dog for a walk. Or stay home and do an exercise tape.
Once you're past the infectious stage, listen to your body. If you have a cold, sometimes light exercise can make you feel better. lf you have a fever or feel lethargic, exercise isn't a good idea and could prolong the recovery, Samaniego says.
How much exercise is enough?
As if it wasn't hard enough to get in 30 minutes of exercise, the Institute of Medicine upped the ante and triggered a collective groan in 2002 with guidelines calling for one hour of daily physical activity. Thirty minutes is enough to gain cardiovascular health benefits. But to lose weight or maintain weight loss, people need to aim for one hour, he says.
Workouts for Fat Loss
To maximize your fat loss, try these workouts. For assistance in designing effective, safe workouts, consult with a certified personal trainer.
A great way to perform high-intensity exercise and decrease your body fat percentage is through interval training, which breaks up the work with periods of rest. Not only does interval training allow you to improve your fitness quickly; it is also more effective than continuous exercise for burning lots of calories during exercise and increasing your postworkout metabolic rate. Try one or two of these workouts each week:
- 5–6 x 3 minutes at 95%–100% maximum (max) heart rate (HR) with 2-minute active recovery periods
- 4 x 4 minutes at 95%–100% max HR with 3-minute active recovery periods
- 8–12 x 30 seconds fast with 1-minute active recovery periods
Each of these interval workouts should include a warm-up and a cool-down.
Go Very Long
Long runs or bike rides (≥ 1.5–2 hours at 65%–70% max HR) that stimulate mitochondrial synthesis and promote the depletion of glycogen threaten the muscles’ survival, since carbohydrates are muscles’ preferred fuel. In response to this threat, muscles “learn” how to use fat more effectively and over time become better fat-burning machines.
We all have them, that "friend" or "follower" who feels the need to update us of their every move via twitter or foursquare. This lead me to question what affect, if any, does social networking have on one's personal Fitness goals.
Social support from family and friends is an important predictor of physical-activity behavior and has been consistently related to activity. It is very difficult for an individual to adhere to an exercise program when there is a lack of support at home.
Imagine trying to adapt to a new healthier lifestyle. You've made it through the day without folding only to go home and be tempted once again by your families not so healthy eating habits. It goes without saying, it is much easier to adapt and maintain a new lifestyle change when others around you not only support you but actively take part in it.
So just how does a networking site like twitter play into this idea of social support. Twitter functions almost as your absentee personal trainer/workout buddy/nutritionist. Tweet that you don't really feel like working out today, you'll probably receive responses from friends encouraging you that hard work pays off (followed by #nodaysoff of course). Tweet about that healthier choice grilled sandwich you just had for lunch, accompanied by the not so healthy waffle fries and milkshake (word to @_rockwithme) I'll probably respond with "smh... a hot mess".
The behavioral change doesn't necessarily come about because of the response but more so how they make us feel. When we don't feel like working out but we're encouraged to do it anyway 7 times out of 10 we'll actually suck it up and make the trip to the gym (statistics by no means scientific) These small actions usually have a much bigger ripple effect causing us to adapt and maintain a healthier lifestyle.. So the next time you're struggling with your weight-loss/fitness goals Tweet Away.