This age-old question has been answered many times in many different ways. We’ve been told everything from 30 minutes most days of the week, to 60 minutes daily. No matter how minimal the recommendations, Americans are still finding it a challenge to get in enough exercise to promote health benefits. In keeping with the “time” theme for 2009, we are here to give you up-to-date research on the current exercise recommendations to help you on your quest for better health.
To promote and maintain health, The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) along with the American Heart Association (AHA) currently recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity* aerobic physical activity five days a week or a minimum of 20 minutes of vigorous-intensity** aerobic physical activity three days a week. These guidelines apply to younger as well as older populations.
*Moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity would be equivalent to a brisk walk.
**Vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity is exercise that creates a substantial increase in your heartrate, for example, jogging/running.
Break it Down
With our incredibly busy schedules these days, it can be difficult to find 30 minutes in a day to exercise. But, never fear because good news is here! Recent research has shown that cardiovascular benefits can come from performing moderate-intensity aerobic activity for 10 minute bouts, counting toward the 30 minute recommended minimum. The health effects are similar with three 10-minute exercises sessions throughout the day as compared to 30 solid minutes. Just make sure that each exercise session is no less than 10 minutes and that you exercise at the same intensity for each 10 minute bout.
But wait, there’s more! It is important to point out that the minimum of 30 minutes of accumulated aerobic activity is in addition to our regular activities of daily living. These activities may include, self-care, cooking, casual walking, or shopping. However, moderate to vigorous intensity daily activities may be included in the 30 minute recommendation, as long as they are done for at least 10 minutes at a time. These activities may include, brisk walking or cycling to work, gardening with a shovel, or splitting wood (now let’s all get out there and split some wood)!
Old vs New
The old aerobic exercise recommendation was that adults should accumulate 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days of the week. Studies found that this recommendation was being misinterpreted by some who believed that their light activities of daily living were sufficient enough to improve health.
The new recommendations specifically point out that the aerobic activity recommendation is in addition to routine activities of daily living. Emphasis is also placed on the importance of vigorous activity. In fact, health benefits are similar if moderate-intensity and vigorous-intensity exercise are combined together in one week to achieve the five days per week goal. For example, one could go for a brisk walk for 30 minutes, three days a week, and jog for 20 minutes two times a week.
The above recommendations are important for the improvement of cardiovascular health in our country. They are also very general and were written for the average person who wishes to improve their fitness and decrease their risk for disease. That being said, we encourage you to use the above guidelines to establish a good foundation of cardiovascular fitness. Depending on specific goals, those who wish to further improve their fitness, decrease their risk for disease even more, or prevent unhealthy weight gain will benefit by exceeding the 30 minute minimum.
For these types of goals, there are more specific recommendations:
• To help protect against selected chronic diseases = performing 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity exercise on most days of the week
• To help prevent unhealthy weight gain = performing approximately 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity activity on most days of the week
• To sustain already achieved substantial weight loss = performing at least 60 – 90 minutes of moderate-intensity activity daily
Don’t Forget the Weights!
In addition to the above cardiovascular exercise recommendations, you will need to include a weight-training program at least two times a week. Studies have shown that less than two times a week, while it is better than nothing, it not sufficient enough for marked increase in lean body mass (muscle).
Feeling overwhelmed? An easy and fun way to incorporate cardiovascular fitness with weight training is to participate in a circuit training program like our Small Group Classes. Circuit training helps to keep your heart rate elevated throughout most of the exercise session, therefore improving your cardiovascular fitness and burning more calories!
Time to Move
As our lives become more and more hectic, there will always be countless excuses for why we cannot find the time to exercise. Just remember that our bodies have an inherent need to move. By failing to meet the minimum recommendation, we are in fact forcing our bodies not to move. Think about that each day you feel like you have to convince yourself to exercise. In reality, you are doing what your body needs – to move!
We encourage you that when you do find the time to move, make it count! Remind yourself that it was not easy to block off this time to exercise, and therefore, you are going to work hard and get the most out of your session, whether it’s 20 or 30 minutes, 60 minutes, or #2 out of the three 10-minute bouts of exercise you are getting that day! Be proud of yourself that you continue to make the time in 2009!
Please join us Saturday, May 23rd at 5:00 p.m. for a wonderful get together! Two of our wonderful clients, Marge and Richard, will be hosting a BBQ on this date at their house. We will be grilling chicken as well as beef burgers. You come with your favorite side dish. Directions will be available on the bulletin board inside the studio.
When it comes to making healthy change in your life, nutritional health is just as important as physical health. In fact, it is next to impossible to achieve ideal physical health without nutritional health. This is why we pay close attention to the nutritional habits of our clients.
When we first start working with our clients on nutritional changes, we ask them to log their food intake throughout the day. We have them keep track of what they eat, the approximate measurements of the food, and the time of day in which they eat. When our clients present their food log to us, the first thing we look at is the timing of the meals. More often than not, the time when the meals were eaten explains why the person made the food choices that he/she did as well as the amount that was eaten.
Step Aside Willpower
We hear so often from our clients that they just do not have enough willpower to avoid the fatty, sugary, yummy foods. We beg to differ. Having enough willpower to say “no” is a direct result of coming to the table prepared and able. If you have properly nourished your body throughout the day, you will be better equipped to say “no” to foods you otherwise may have devoured.
Just as our bodies have an inherent need to move (as stated in the above article on exercise) they also have a need to eat. We are such well-built machines, that if we do not fuel ourselves frequently enough, we will start to break down. When we look at the food logs our clients bring us, is it no wonder why their bodies are breaking down. We have seen anywhere from five, six, seven, sometimes even as much as 10 hours in-between meals. When that much time is allowed between eating, your body will become used to not being fed frequently, and therefore will slow down the breakdown of your food to conserve the calories that you do eat. The end result is an excess of calories by the end of the day, which will, in turn, be stored in your body as fat.
Set Yourself up for Success
Here are some steps to keeping yourself successful all day long:
1) ALWAYS eat breakfast! Aim for eating 30 minutes to one hour after waking.
2) Eat every three to four hours. It is time to break the habit of forgetting to eat or being so busy that you just could not find the time to eat. Plan your day and build in meal breaks so that you can keep yourself focused, energized, and fueled all day long.
3) Eat within one to two hours prior to exercise and within 90 minutes after exercise. For more details on exercise and eating, check out BodyBasics News, March/April 2009.
4) Eat a healthy combination of foods at each meal (see below for more info)
5) Drink enough water! We want you to re-train your mind and body to recognize the hunger signs to help you eat more regularly. Many of the signs of dehydration are similar to hunger, so it is important that you stay properly hydrated to be able to distinguish between the two. Drinking enough water is one of the most important things you can for your body.
Eat Combination of Food
You hear a lot of advertisements say that if you eat this bar or drink this shake you can fend off cravings and hunger for up to four hours. Simply put, the bar or the shake has a good combination of carbohydrates, protein, and fat that will help you stay satisfied longer.
We encourage you to eat a combination of foods every time you eat. In other words, having an apple is a good snack. But it may not keep you satisfied for very long since our bodies digest carbohydrates quickly. If you were to eat the apple with a piece of string cheese or some peanut butter, that snack would last you much longer. So each time you eat, look at the quality of the food. Ask yourself these questions:
1) Am I eating quality carbohydrates? That is, fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads, pastas, rice, crackers, etc.
2) Am I eating quality protein? That is lean meats like turkey, chicken, fish, egg, 1% or skim milk products, nuts?
3) Am I eating quality fats? That is nuts, avocado, and oils like olive, vegetable and flaxseed. (Remember that many times your fats and proteins may be in the same food, so it is wise to pick a healthy protein and oftentimes, your healthy fat need will be covered).
Now is the Time!
Since this year is all about making the time in 2009, we decided to focus on the importance of timing your meals when it comes to making healthy nutritional changes in your life. Start by following the five tips listed above and you will be well on your way to a happier, healthier, and more energized you throughout the day!
“Emerils Chicken Paillards with Chickpea Relish and Arugula”
(A paillard is just a thinly pounded piece of meat that is quickly sautéed or grilled).
Recipe from Everyday Food Magazine and written by Chef Emeril Lagasse
The below dish has been tested in our very own Body Basics “test kitchen” in Waco, Texas! One night, when Jenny, our newsletter editor, was not very excited about cooking, she came across this recipe. She knew she had all the ingredients in her fridge and pantry, so it was a no brainer! Dinner was ready in 15 minutes! She was amazed that this meal was so incredibly quick, easy, and flavorful! She just had to share it with all of you! Enjoy!
Jennys notes: If you have never tried arugula, I strongly suggest picking some up next time you are at the store. It is a spicy lettuce and has a wonderful, refreshing, peppery taste! It pairs very well with parmesan cheese in pasta, salads, or as an accent to a dish as the one below. If you do not like arugula, you may substitute baby spinach or other mixed baby greens.
Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (6 to 8 ounces each)
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for pan
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced crosswise
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1 bunch fresh arugula, tough stems removed
- Lay chicken flat; holding a sharp knife parallel to work surface, split chicken in half horizontally. Cover with plastic wrap; pound each cutlet with the flat side of a meat mallet or the bottom of a small pan until inch thick.
- In a shallow dish, combine 2 tablespoons oil and 1 tablespoon lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Add chicken; turn to coat. Heat a large skillet over medium-high; lightly brush with oil. Cook chicken until opaque throughout, 1 to 2 minutes per side.
- In a bowl, toss together chickpeas, onion, basil, 2 tablespoons oil, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice; season with salt and pepper.
- Top chicken with chickpea relish; serve with arugula and lemon wedges.
Elfriede Sheets – May
Elfriede first came to BodyBasics in November of 2006. Despite starting and stopping for various reasons between now and then, she has continued to make headway. Elfriede has come a long way physically as well as mentally when it comes to her health and fitness. Her outlook on how she feels about exercise has really made a change for the better and it is because of this shift in mindset that she is Client of the Month.
Elfriede, I hope you continue to recognize the improvements in your balance, coordination, and strength that we have been witness to. Maintain your mindset also. We want you to recognize how much your mental shift has been a catalyst for positive change physically.
Toni Broten – June
Since her start in July of 2008, Toni has been a shining example of what can be accomplished when desire and dedication are combined with the proper direction. Toni continues to improve her range of motion, functional strength, and overall stamina. She remains dedicated week after week to realizing her full potential. Under the watchful eye of her Fitness Coach, Mike Donelan, Toni has recognized that she is capable of improving despite suffering a major spinal cord trauma 18 years ago.
Toni, you are such an example of perseverance to us all. Thank you for your shining example. You are truly inspirational.
iPod Music at BodyBasics
Do you have a favorite workout song? What gets you pumped up? What songs make you want to move? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org any and all songs that you would like to hear at the studio during your workouts. Well put them on the Body Basics iPod song list! Thanks!
To empower people to realize their innate abilities by providing an environment that nurtures, educates, and inspires.
Keep Up the Great Work!
We are very proud of all of you!
Chris, Kathleen, Mike H., Katrina, Mike D., Jenny, John, Robin, and Terry