Physical Activity Best Practices
Benefits of regular physical activity
One of the biggest benefits of increasing your rates of physical activity is gaining more muscle. After the age of 30, most people lose an average of three to five percent of muscle tissue each decade. Muscle is your most metabolically active tissue, burning three times the amount of calories even while at rest. No wonder weight gain is so common in middle age! Luckily, this age related muscle loss, also known as sarcopenia, is easily preventable. While many accept the uptick in numbers on the scale as a natural part of aging, it often has more to do with a decrease in physical activity than any other factor. Finding ways to move your body is instrumental to your health and weight loss goals.
Using that Gym Membership
Yes, going to the gym two to three times a week is an excellent way to increase your physical activity. It also pays to take advantage of the personal fitness trainers who are an integral part of most gym settings. If you are unsure of where to start, these trained professionals will show you how to safely use equipment to avoid injury and help you plan your training sessions to ensure you make progress on your fitness goals. A big part of the role of a trainer is as a built in support system and accountability partner after your enthusiasm lags.
Physical Activity Outside of the Gym
Not everyone gets amped up by the idea of sweaty locker rooms. While a gym setting is an excellent way to focus on increasing your strength and cardiovascular health, the absolute most important factor in selecting a physical activity is finding something you enjoy and will continue doing. For an exercise to be effective, you must engage in it on a regular basis.
Add A Morning Walk
Simply adding in a 15-20 minute walk in the morning decreases mortality rates, enhances long term cognitive function, increase quality of sleep, and decreases incidents of cancer and heart disease, among many other benefits. Walk your dog to gain an enthusiastic cheerleader or go with a friend to add a social element.
Begin a New Hobby
Find a hobby that you can be passionate about. Whether it is water aerobics or salsa dancing, engaging in physical activity that gets your heart beating with excitement will make it far more likely that you incorporate your new fitness behaviors into your lifestyle in the long run.
Make sure you are properly fueling your new fitness habits. There is no need to purchase expensive pre and post workout supplements, though some do find it easier to ensure refueling with easy to grab protein bars and powders.
Most people find it helpful to begin by eating 20 grams of healthy carbs and protein about 30 minutes ahead of your workout. This can be as easy as a banana and a low-sugar yogurt or cottage cheese. Exercise can be highly demanding of your muscles glycogen stores, which can be quickly resupplied with easily digested carbohydrates that are already in your system. Eating beforehand will help you keep fatigue at bay. However, some may want to avoid eating directly before engaging in strenuous activity, as this can lead to nausea. After your workout, make sure you have access to a high-quality protein source such as milk or eggs. This will help your muscles repair themselves and all you to strengthen your body more effectively.
From Alzheimer’s to arthritis, there is almost no condition that does not report improvement from strategic increases in physical activity. Getting up on your feet and moving, whether you are walking around the block or headed to your local gym has a nearly endless list of long-term benefits, including increasing your bone density, enhancing your cognitive abilities and helping you with your weight loss goals.