10 Reasons Why You Should Do More Strength Training and Cardio

300px-Diagram_of_the_human_heart_(cropped)_svgI have been looking back on some of my recent strength training sessions as well as the interval training I have been doing on the cardio side. We have a tendency, with exercise, to judge if it’s working by what the bathroom scale currently reads. But that should not be the case; weight loss does not always depict the full story. With each bout of exercise, we are improving various physiological and psychological aspects of our body that are not visible to the naked eye. For example:

Strength Training:

  • Building muscle mass can increase metabolism by 15% – so if you’re looking to rev up that slow metabolism and become or stay functional as you age – you need to be strength training at least a few times each week.
  • Prevents Sarcopenia – which is the loss of muscle mass as you age – you can lose up to 10% or more of your muscle per decade after age 50.
  • Plays a role in disease prevention – like type 2 diabetes for example.
  • Improves the way your body moves resulting in better balance and less falls as you age (you can reduce your risk for falling by 40%).
  • Preserves the loss of muscle during weight loss (Donnelly et al., 2003)
  • Will offset bone loss as you age – women can expect to lose 1% of their bone mass after age 35 (and this increases following menopause) – see Strong Women, Strong Bones

Cardiovascular Exercise:

  • Aerobic exercise will improve your mood by decreasing stress and anxiety levels – read The Inner Runner by Jason Karp, Phd and Exercise for Mood and Anxiety by Michael Otto, Phd and Jasper Smits, PhD
  • Regular cardio exercise like jogging, hiking, jump roping etc will “load” your bones in your lower extremity and make them stronger.
  • Makes your heart stronger, lowers your resting heart rate and enables your body to deliver oxygen more efficiently to your working muscles.
  • The American College of Sports Medicine states that higher levels of cardiovascular fitness are associated with approximately a 50% reduction in disease risk.

Reference:

Donnelly, J.E., Jakicic, J.M., Pronk, N., Smith, B.K., Kirk, E.P., Jacobsen, D.J., Washburn, R. “Is Resistance Training Effective for Weight Management?” Evidence-Based Preventive Medicine. 2003; 1(1): 21-29.

Creative Options to Stay Fit While You Travel

kayak 1 copy 2Traveling can pose a challenge to fitness-minded people who have busy schedules.  When you must travel outside of your home city for a few days for business meetings, you don’t have to leave your fitness activities at home.  More hotels, airports and inns are taking great measures to provide contemporary fitness options and amenities for guests who want to continue their workout regimens while they are on the road.  By doing some minor research before you travel, you can gain insight to which hotels and airports offer fitness-friendly amenities that will help you to stick to your health goals during times of traveling. On a recent trip to San Francisco I was able to book a hotel with a 24-hour gym because I did a little due diligence on a travel reviews site before booking. Here I was able to see a list of San Francisco hotels and could scroll through to see which ones had 24-hr gyms and which didn’t. This was invaluable for the overall experience of my trip.

What Type of Fitness Are Offered Away From Home?

A few airports have just begun to offer excellent options for travelers to stay active between flights.  This can be especially handy if you are at a layover between long flights.  Walking paths and yoga rooms are just a couple fit-friendly amenities that are springing up at select airports.  If you are at an airport that does not offer these options, you can always take a brisk or a calming walk from one end of the airport to another to improve your circulatory system.  This type of activity is also ideal for relieving cramped muscles and pinched nerves that can occur when a person travels and must sit for long periods of time while on a flight.

In an article provided by NBCNews.com, it is stated that specific hotel chains are taking great efforts to meet as many fitness demands of their guests as possible.  With more business travelers becoming increasingly health-conscious, hotels are stepping up to provide rooms and facilities to meet these needs.  In the NBC News article, it is listed that several hotels offer several variations of fitness-friendly rooms.  This eliminates the need for guests to wait in long lines for a treadmill at the hotel gym.

Creative Physical Activities

An intriguing online publication by ABC News Explore lists several ways people can get creative with their fitness activities.  Some of these exercises include aquatic yoga combinations, inn-to-inn hiking and baby boot camp.  If you are traveling with an infant when you go out of town for a business meeting, calling ahead to ask your hotel about fitness spas and centers nearby that cater to mothers will help you to continue your exercises in a fun and creative way.

This post is from guest blogger Mike Manning who is a healthy living and fitness enthusiast. You can find his new blog at http://mikemanningmusings.blogspot.com/