The Anatomy of Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercise has been one of the main methods of choice to "lose weight". It is believed that aerobic exercise bums fat. So, you see people walking, running, jogging, but, most of the time these people can walk for miles but still won't be seen in a bathing suit. It's clear there's something wrong with the equation, "aerobic exercise = fat loss." Aerobic exercise alone does not burn a significant amount body fat. Too much aerobics can cause muscle loss. The goal to lose weight should be to gain muscle and lose fat because the more muscle; the higher your metabolism, and the higher your metabolism, the more calories (and fat) are burned.

Excessive aerobic exercise is not a requirement for weight loss. Obviously, compared to a sedentary lifestyle, aerobic exercise is quite beneficial. But, what is the best approach to lose weight and improve your body? First, don't eliminate aerobic exercise; it is a good practice to do moderate aerobics (too much your body loses valuable muscle to adapt). What is best, is to add strength training and of course, nutritional modifications. The most helpful is to engage in resistance exercise, in other words, exercise using weights, or resistance bands, or even just use the weight of our own body, for example, doing pushups, pull-ups or squats.

Strength training does not mean you are going to get large and bulky. What it means is you will strengthen your muscles and build a strong body that will be able to move around and do all the things you need to do. Along with eating nutritionally, you will lose weight and have more energy. If you exercise your body 30 minutes a day, you'll get considerable results. Moderate exercise (and eating right) causes your body to burn fat for fuel. Thus, you burn fat for energy and maintain a healthy weight. For a healthy body, strength training, aerobic activity and proper nutrition are the way to go.

What amount of aerobic activity is right?

You would not get the same exercise benefit from walking 1 mile per hour for 15 minutes as you would walking 4 mph for 15 minutes. The energy output, and thus the caloric burn is greater walking faster. The key is to work the body at a modest level of intensity, but without tapping into muscle stores.

There's an even simpler way to determine whether you're at a sufficient yet not excessive intensity. If you're too out of breath to carry on a conversation, you're working too hard.

Regardless of why you exercise and what your exercise regime consists of, your success will largely depend upon the degree to which you enjoy exercising. You do the best at what you do most. And you do most what you enjoy doing. So, find a regime you find challenging and fun, that consists of strength training, aerobic activity, flexibility and proper nutrition. Look forward to exercising by doing what you enjoy. Try to be active every day and your body will thank you.

Look for my next article on the Six things you should do to be healthy.

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By Tim Ganley

Tim Ganley is owner of Ganley's Fitness Studio in St. Petersburg. Voted Best of the Bay Personal Trainer, Tim has developed a fitness program Strength & Movement that combines the best of the best in fitness. 664 Central Ave, Downtown St. Pete. 727-895-9593. www.Ganley'sFitness.com

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