It seems fitness is eluding many of us. Talk about the benefits of eating healthy, becoming more active and reducing stress, inflated numbers for type1 and 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and obesity indicate we aren’t doing enough. There are many reasons for these shortfalls but we must intensify our efforts.

Whether running in the park or parking your car, weight lifting or lifting babies, shoveling snow or snow skiing; we’ll explore ways to enhance fitness. We’ll discuss energy replenishment and hydration and dove into the mental, emotional and energetic aspects of fitness as well.

I hope you find informative, enlightening and refreshing. Stop by for motivation and inspiration on your fitness journey. Exercise and Fitness Tips to Improve Your Health

Exercise and Fitness

Are you getting started with an exercise program? Hoping to improve your existing routines or find new workout options? Did you know that a complete plan consists of three basic elements: aerobic fitness, muscle strength/endurance and flexibility? How do you assess your current fitness level before you begin? How do you know how much exercise you should do, or whether you should see a doctor before you start?

Our Healthy Living channel provides in-depth answers to these questions, along with guidelines to help you develop a fitness program that’s right for you. With these exercise and fitness tips, you can learn to gauge how hard and how often you should exercise, and get yourself started on the road to better fitness today.

Q. Why do you use the BMI, and is it useful for weight lifters?

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is a simple way for men and women to estimate body fat based on their height and weight. From the BMI, it is possible to determine your healthy weight range.

One of the limitations of BMI is that it can overpredict overweight or obesity in people who are lean and muscular. For instance, someone who is 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs 220 pounds, with 12% body fat, would be considered obese based on BMI standards. Obviously, someone with 12% body fat is not obese.

The scientists who developed the BMI guidelines readily admit to this limitation. But their rationale is that most Americans are not lean and muscular and so for most people, the BMI is an accurate assessment of body fat and increased health risk.

It is important to know that people who are classified as overweight or obese can still be healthy as long as they are fit. In one well-known study, fit people with BMIs that classified them as overweight or obese were healthier and lived longer than unfit people who were at normal weight.

The BMI, for the majority of Americans, is the most up-to-date and scientifically sound method available for determining healthy weight.

Q. Does aerobic exercise interfere with muscle gains from weightlifting?

If you’re training for an endurance event like a marathon, when you might run 60 miles or more per week, you’ll almost always see a decrease in your muscle mass. For most of us, who do more moderate amounts of physical activity, there will be minimal, if any, loss in muscle mass — so there’s nothing to worry about.

If you do plan on lots of aerobic exercise and are concerned about losing muscle, try starting with 20-30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise (at 50% to 70% of your maximum heart rate) two to three days per week, and see how it goes

Fitness Testing

There are many tests that can be used to ascertain information to be used later for comparison and contrast purposes. Some tests are very simple to administer while other require expensive equipment and/or the assistance of others. Let’s take a look at some of the test that might be used to gauge progress in specific areas of physical fitness:

  • Skin fold test (body composition) – this test uses calipers to measure a pinch of skin at predetermined sites on the body to assess body fat content. Measurements are usually taken at between three and nine sites.
  • Push-up test (muscular strength and endurance) – this simple test uses either the number of push-ups completed in a specific amount of time or the amount time required to complete a specific number of push-ups. The same procedure can be utilized to establish baseline numbers for sit-ups or body weight squats.
  • Three-minute step test (cardiovascular endurance) – step up and down alternating right leg and left leg for three minutes on a 12 inch high step. At the three minute mark, measure heart rate to determine number of beats for one minute.
  • Basic walk/run test (cardiovascular endurance) – this test can be done for time or distance, either to determine how much distance is covered in a specific amount of time or how long it takes to cover a specific distance. Some popular tests of this nature are the Cooper 12 Minute Test, the Rockport Walk Test, the Six-Minute Run Test, and the Shuttle-Run Test. This timed principle can be applied to swimming, biking, or other forms of aerobic activity.
  • Hydrostatic weighting (body composition) – a method of obtaining body weight via weighting while submerged in a tank of water. This method of weighing is said to be the most accurate method for determining body fat percentages.
  • Sit and reach test (flexibility) – this test measures the flexibility of the lower back and hamstrings. While sitting on the floor with legs outstretched, lean forward as far as possible with arms and fingers extended, mark the furthest point reached.
  • Hip to waist ratio (body composition) – this test entails measuring the circumference of the waist and hips. The difference between the two numbers can be used as an indicator of health risk such as heart disease.

What are the benefits of daily exercise? It’s possible that they are too many to count! Physically, simple daily exercise tones and strengthens muscles, builds bone, moves blood, fluids and waste, stimulates the brain, encourages all the systems of the body to function optimally, and restores and maintains health – all the while keeping us young! On an emotional level, exercise releases endorphins that allow us to feel happier and maintain a more balanced outlook in the face of disappointment and hardship. And we’re much more prone to feel good if we know we look our best too. Mentally, we’re always more fit if our bodies are fit as well. Regular exercise keeps the mind strong and fluid…and also keeps us more open-minded. Spiritually, when we’ve kept the temple of our bodies healthy and clean, we experience a greater openness to the urges of our Soul, and to the inner voice of the Divine. Make a commitment today to begin a regular, daily regimen of exercise. Start with something as simple and quick as a 20 minute walk each morning or evening! Walking is one of the best ways we can spend our time, and the benefits are wonderful.

Read through the articles and watch the videos you find here for great information that will help you begin or maintain the best possible fitness program for you. You’ll also find plenty of inspiration and information to keep you motivated and informed. Bear in mind, that when you exercise and beome healthier on all these levels, you’ll be spending less in the doctors office and on the therapists couch! That translates to greater financial health…and frees up money to spend on things that bring you pleasure.