Any exercise or physical activity is better than nothing at all. Unfortunately, many people’s lifestyles do not provide enough opportunities to burn calories and fat, exercise muscles or get the heart rate going. Without enough body movement, one not only tends to gain weight but physical abilities begin to decline. Muscle mass shrinks. Heart and lung capacity are reduced. Flexibility suffers. There’s no need to let this happen.
No Matter What Physical Exercise You Choose
Make Sure You Do Something for Your Health Every Day
Physical fitness has nothing to do with competitiveness or athletic achievement. Set your own goals and limit your activities to a healthy level. Age-appropriateness is also a factor worth considering. Whatever your desired fitness level may be, it matters most that you optimize your health status. Regular exercise is not only good for the body, it also clears the mind and provides a great tool to manage stress. And let’s not forget, there is no successful weight management without a regular exercise regimen.
How are calories burned during exercise?
Through exercising you can burn 3 types of calories: Carbohydrate, protein and fat. This is also called “fuel utilization,” which occurs in stages throughout the exercise process. The duration (time) and intensity (challenge) of an exercise program determines your fuel (calorie) utilization. Especially what you had for your last meal affects what fuel mix is circulates in your blood stream while you’re physically active.
Stage 1: 10 minutes of exercise
Carbohydrate (sugar) is the main fuel for working muscles. Since carbohydrate is stored directly in the muscles, the demand to mobilize fat or sugar from storage located in other parts of the body is not yet required.
Stage 2: After 10 minutes of exercise
Carbohydrate (sugar) in the exercising muscles begins to run low. Fat and carbohydrate from storage areas in the body begin to be released into the blood. The exercising muscles will increasingly draw from these circulating fuels as supplements. Breathing and heart rate start to increase in order to supply the muscles with more oxygen.
Stage 3: About 20 minutes of exercise
Fat mobilization from storage increases. Carbohydrate stores from the liver become mobilized. Blood gets enriched with circulating fat, sugar and oxygen. Exercising muscles switch to an aerobic fuel system, which is required for fat burn.
Stage 4: Beyond 20 minutes of exercise
Exercising muscles are now primarily running on the aerobic fuel system. As long as the oxygen supply is adequate, the primary fuel supply will come from fat. Carbohydrate will be the preferred fuel source if the exercise effort increases. Thereafter, protein will be used to supply carbohydrate if the exercise continues for more than 2 hours or becomes more difficult (at a heart rate of above 85% of maximum training heart rate).
What does resistance or weight training do?
Weight training does not burn a lot of fat as a fuel source, but it does stimulate muscle growth. More muscle mass will increase calorie demand, which continues after exercising and even in your sleep. This also helps to increase metabolism.
Weight training can be beneficial for bone mass maintenance and reduce the risk of osteoporosis for both men and women as they get older. This is especially important for the spinal bones, which don’t get as easily stimulated even with regular exercise. Unfortunately, these bones are also the most susceptible to osteoporosis.
Do I have to exercise until I sweat?
Sweating during exercise is a good indicator that you are working hard enough to get some benefits out of your efforts. But sweating is not directly related to the effectiveness of your workout.
The ability to sweat is the body’s cooling system. When sweat evaporates, it allows the body to cool off. Some people heat up more quickly than others. Body surface area (skin) relative to internal mass (both muscle mass and fat stores) also plays a role. The more skin to body mass, the more cooling takes place.
Other factors that can influence sweating include work intensity (strenuousness), environmental conditions (heat, wind, humidity), body water content (hydration) and clothing.
Remember that dehydration takes place as you sweat. The more water you lose during exercise, the less cooling your body can do. Overheating is a common reason for feeling fatigued from strenuous exercise. Therefore, always drink plenty of water during and after your physical activities. Some small amount of salt may also be helpful to replace salt loss that comes with profuse sweating.