Tag Archives: exercise

Turn your steps into better stamina

You may have noticed the difference this past year had on your stamina. When you were no longer walking from your car to the office or walking around a grocery store, your body ‘forgot’ how to use the equipment it has to keep you moving.

Your activity monitor is a great tool for staying aware of how active or inactive you are throughout the day. The bells and buzzes are great reminders to get up and move. In our new world where you may be moving even less than you were before the pandemic, a step goal can be very useful.

Since most of our daily activities, like shopping, cleaning, yardwork, working are stop and go, our aerobic system does not get much practice for producing lasting energy.

Stamina is the ability to move for extended time without getting tired and needing to stop. It is more than your heart strength, its about your whole cardiovascular system’s ability to produce energy aerobically.

Short term activities where you move continuously for less than two minutes use the anaerobic energy system. This system is designed to get you started, like a match and kindling starting a campfire.

But for you to sustain that energy, your aerobic system needs enough equipment to use oxygen to turn glucose and fat into fuel for cells. That means your heart, lungs, blood vessels, blood cells and muscle cells all need to be reminded to keep the necessary equipment to keep that fire going once the short term system runs out.

Yes your heart needs to be a strong pump, your blood needs to be able to carry the oxygen, and your muscle cells need the equipment to use the oxygen.

When you don’t move for an extended period of time very often, this equipment starts to fade.

The good news is, you can get it back, and fairly quickly too. Here is how:

  • Start stringing those steps together so your body rebuilds the equipment to do more than short bouts of movement. Even if it is brief five-minute bouts to start, that is enough to get your aerobic system working again.
  • go at the pace that keeps your breathing at light to moderate to start. If you go to fast and get out of breath, you are now using the anaerobic system again. Moderate intensity breathing ensures you are telling your aerobic system to get stronger.
  • Repeat often, especially if you can only do short bouts to start. Listen to your body to know when it is ready to increase minutes.

Keep in mind, your body can adapt to only about a 10% increase per week. That means if you are doing a 10 minute walk, increase by 1 minute the following week! Gradually build up to 30 minutes three times a week as your body is ready.

No need to push to high intensity or through pain because this actually slows your progress to greater and sustainable stamina. Working with your body means it will take less time to turn those steps into more lasting energy for everyday life and the fun things you are looking forward to doing again.

Keep Moving, Be Well

Janet

Leave a comment

by | July 13, 2021 · 9:38 pm

Breathe. Go easy on yourself. Keep Moving.

Busy week! Have you had one too? A friend sent me this quote today. I thought I would share in case you needed the reminder to breathe, go easy on yourself and keep moving.

Be Well

Janet

Leave a comment

by | May 18, 2021 · 8:20 pm

Your weight is up! Now What?

Weight gain that has nothing to do with  calories

You get on the scale and UUGGHH!, Up five pounds!!! What? How?

Your mind quickly goes back in time to scan for possible slip ups. Could it have been that cookie? Was it that day I only took 2000 steps? Ugh, I’m so stupid! Why did I do that?!

Then your brain jumps to the future and formulates a plan. I’m going to eat only vegetables and protein today and get on that exercise bike for an hour, twice today. Time to get back on track!

But wait! Before you race off to burn more calories than you take in, stop for a minute and consider what else the scale might be telling you.

Remember the scale measures everything. It will never give you an accurate measure of your success with what you want from weight loss. It is a general guide, best used for a big picture look at if your body weight is trending upward or downward.

The day to day fluctuation in weight are more likely showing your levels of inflammation; the level of fluid in your body. This is still valuable information, but only if you can calm your brain long enough to consider what has been going on recently that could be causing inflammation.

  1. Pain: Are your muscles sore? Have you had an injury lately? Pain is inflammation. Keep in mind, there is no such thing as a ‘good sore‘ from exercise. Soreness simply means you have made more work than your body can handle right now, and it is letting you know. There is no gain from pain caused by over-exercising. (except weight gain that is!).
  2. Sleep: Sleep is when your body heals and repairs and clears inflammation. If you are low on quality sleep your body is not getting enough time for this important task.
  3. Stress: Whether it is from external stressors, such as a family illness or busy time at work or internal stress like self-criticism and self-doubt, your body responds to real or potential threats by getting ready for a possible injury, and that raises inflammation
  4. Illness: You could be fighting off an illness or are you just recovering from one. Consider your energy level and other symptoms that may be telling you your immune system is working overtime.

Inflammation plays an essential role in healing and injury repair. It is there to keep your body safe and healthy. When it goes up, it is a sign your body needs more attention. Exercise is a great anti-inflammatory, in the right dose. Excessive exercise could actually make matters worse by giving your body more to recover from rather than helping it with healing and repair. Listen to your body to know how much is enough to reduce inflammation. Several short bouts of exercise at a light intensity spread out throughout your day, done in a way that lowers stress and helps you sleep can be a great tool for helping your body heal and repair.

When your weight is up, pause and consider all the possible reasons and then give your body what it needs to be healthy and well.

Keep Moving, Be Well

Janet

Leave a comment

by | February 16, 2021 · 6:50 pm

How to shovel snow and does it count as exercise?

It’s snowing again! Two of the most common questions I get on days like this are “How do I shovel snow safely” and “Does it count as exercise?”. Before I went out to shovel, I thought I’d answer them directly in this video. Happy Shoveling!!!

Keep Moving, Be Well

Janet

Leave a comment

by | February 9, 2021 · 7:18 pm

Does exercise really need to be painful to see results?

Despite our ingrained belief that exercise needs to be painful, sweaty and uncomfortable to get results, there is no evidence that pain is needed to improve fitness. Yet, the belief lives on through media images and tough exercise programs all based on the four word mantra “no pain no gain”. Interestingly, there is plenty of evidence from neuroscience that pain will most certainly keep you from staying motivated. Do we really need to be in pain, exhausted and sweaty to get results from exercise? Lets take a look.

What results do you want from exercise?

The first question to ask yourself is “what results do I want from exercise?”. If you want to be an athlete and gain a competitive edge, yes, you will need to endure some pain. If you just want “aesthetic fitness”; to look better in a bathing suit or body building stage, ye,s pain and fatigue are likely going to be side effects of your training routine. If you are exercising to feel better mentally and physically, be healthy and well, both now and in the future, pain will actually take you in the opposite direction, leading you away from the results you really want.

“No Pain No Gain” Is Not Meant for You

The saying “No Pain No Gain” was invented for athletes to remind them that if you want to gain a competitive edge, pain is going to be part of the process. It was NOT invented to mean that you have to be in pain to get gain. If you are not exercising to be an athlete, this saying is simply not meant for you.

But What About a Good Sore?

The term a ‘good sore’ was born out of the misuse of the saying “no pain no gain”. It comes from the belief that muscle soreness means you are burning more calories and fat, getting more muscle tone and making progress toward losing weight and getting ‘in shape’. Yet, there is not one published study that shows muscle soreness is necessary for improving strength, burning calories or fat, or improving muscle tone.

Not a single study!

The term ‘good sore’ is really an oxymoron. There is no good reason to be sore.

Isn’t Soreness Part of Getting Back in Shape?

I often hear from patients, “yes it’s painful but its because I am overweight and out of shape”. When we take a step back from that statement, and see that there is no benefit to pain, we realize that it is not your body that is the problem, it is the exercise you are doing to get back into shape. When you adapt exercise for your body, rather than thinking your body just has to get used to an exercise you think you need to do, the pain goes away, enjoyment goes up and so does consistency.

Science Says: No pain, More Gain

So the body scientists agree, there is no gain in pain. The brain scientists also agree that pain is a sure sign motivation will fade. Your brain is hardwired to avoid what makes you feel worse, and repeat what makes you feel better. When exercise is painful, your body is telling your brain this is something to avoid. No matter how much you tell yourself it’s a good sore, your brain is going to believe what your body is feeling and eventually your will make excuses why you cannot exercise.

When you know how to adapt exercise so it does not cause pain, and instead leaves you feeling better, you gain something much more valuable for results – the ease of staying motivated! Consistency is how we get results that last.

Bottom Line About Pain and Exercise

If the ‘No Pain No Gain” mantra rattles around in your head when you are exercising (or thinking of exercising), trade it for a way of thinking about exercise that is meant for you. There is no gain in pain. Pain is simply a sign something needs to change.

  1. Learn how to move the way your body is designed to move so exercises feels good
  2. Notice when your brain is telling your body what it should be able to do and instead let your body tell your brain what it can do now.
  3. Notice when exercise makes you feel better physically (less pain, more energy, less anxious, not sore, etc). That will help your brain want to choose to do it again.
  4. Use a slow gradual progression when increasing exercise. Your body can adapt to only 10% more each week. Slow and steady gets you results.

Whew! Isn’t it great to know you don’t have to endure pain to get results!

Keep Moving, Be Well

Janet

Leave a comment

by | October 6, 2020 · 8:51 pm