Benefits of Regular Physical Activity and Exercise – Non Scale Victories

Ok so first let’s define the difference between Exercise and Physical activity.

Physical activity is a broad terms that involves any movement produced by contracting muscles that results in increased energy expenditure (burning calories)

Examples of physical activity :

  • Pressing against a wall (static, isometric) ; why would you randomly be pressing against a wall ? I don’t know…
  • Holding something
  • Standing (instead of sitting)
  • Walking to and from the bus station, biking to work, getting up from a chair
  • Household physical activity : gardening, home repairs, cleaning

Exercise is more specific and quantifiable ; it’s planned, structured, repetitive and done for the purpose to improve or maintiain a component of fitness. When you’re going to the gym, you’re planning on exercising.

So you see, exercise is a form of physical activity but physcical activity isnt always an exercise. Confused yet ? it’s okay.

All you have to know is this : There’s a relationship between Physical activity and chronic conditions (diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity ect)

The more you move  the less chance you have of a heart attack or stroke. You don’t believe me, here are some studies to back me up :

Changes in Physical Fitness and All-Cause MortalityA Prospective Study of Healthy and Unhealthy Men

Steven N. Blair, PEDHarold W. Kohl III, PhDCarolyn E. Barlow, MSRalph S. Paffenbarger Jr, MD, DrPHLarry W. Gibbons, MD, MPHCaroline A. Macera, PhD

Physical Fitness as a Predictor of Cardiovascular Mortality in Asymptomatic North American men Lars-Göran Ekelund, M.D., Ph.D., William L. Haskell, Ph.D., Jeffrey L. Johnson, M.S., Fredrick S. Whaley, Ph.D., Michael H. Criqui, M.D., M.P.H., and David S. Sheps, M.D., M.S.P.H.The Lipid Research Clinics Mortality Follow-up Study

Relation of Leisure-Time Physical Activity and Cardiorespiratory Fitness to the Risk of Acute Myocardial Infarction in Men Timo A. Lakka, Juha M. Venalainen, Rainer Rauramaa, Riitta Salonen, Jaakko Tuomilehto, and Jukka T. Salonen

Ok so there’s evidence pointing to the beneficial and protective role of physical activity.

But just how much physical activity is enough ?

Well, based on the ACSM (American College of Sport Medicine), we recommends that every adult accumulate 30 minutes or more of moderate intensity five days each week – that’s 150 minutes or an hour and a half

How much is that in fitbit steps ?

Fitbit starts everyone off with a 10,000-step goal, and here’s why: It adds up to about five miles each day. This is about 30 minutes of daily exercise—satisfying the ACSM recommendation of at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.

BUT 10,000 steps per day might not make sense for you. You may need to nab more if you want to lose a certain amount of weight, or take fewer steps if you’re new to fitness or recovering from an injury. Your step goal can vary depending on your needs, and it can also shift over time.

If you fitness goal is …

General fitness or weight loss : If you’re new to exercise or returning from injury, you’ll want to start slowly to avoid burnout or further injury. Wear a Fitbit tracker and determine how many steps you take on average each day over the course of a week. That’s your baseline. The Mayo Clinic recommends adding 1000 daily steps each week, so if your baseline is 4000 steps per day, set your goal at 5000 steps each day. Meeting your goal may be as simple as an extra five-minute walk, or even parking a few cars further away at the supermarket, depending on your speed and stride.

Health maintenance : Once you have met your desired goals, you may simply want to maintain your fitness level. The 10,000-step goal could be just right for you—and the benefits of a 30-minute daily stroll are nearly boundless, from slowing mental decline and lowering blood pressure, to improving sleep and relieving depression.

Why is all this pertinent ?

Well approximately 88% of our adult population is either overweight or obese – only 3.5% are meeting public health recommendation of physical activity

HOWEVER, regular physical activity carries health benefits regardless of any change in body composition :

Non scale Benefits :

1. Reduced risk of overall mortality

  • reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
  • reduced risk of hypertension
  • reduced risk of colon cancer
  • Prevention of and future cardiovascular diseases

2. Better cognitive function

Exercise’s benefits to the brain are well documented. Various studies have shown that cardiovascular exercise can help create new brain cells and improve overall brain performance.

3. Better Mood

There are nearly 50 antidepressant drugs on the market today, but one of the most powerful antidepressants doesn’t even require a prescription: exercise.

4. Better Sleep

Most studies link regular exercise to better sleep, even for those who suffer from serious insomnia (like me!) There’s only one catch: It takes a while to work. Research shows that  you’ll fall asleep faster, sleep longer, and get better quality sleep than those who are less active.

5. More confidence

We often assume that exercise will make us feel better about ourselves because it’ll make us look leaner,fitter, stronger, and healthier. But that’s only partly true. Physical activity has been shown to improve self-confidence no matter what you see in the mirror.

7. More creativity

Inspiration is often found in motion.

8. More control of addiction

Want to quit smoking? Or maybe you drink a bit more than you’d like ? Tend to binge eat to numb yourself out ? Exercise can help with that. Addiction is based on the release of dopamine — a feel-good hormone — in the brain. This is what people become addicted to, therefore becoming addicted to whatever produces it, whether cigarettes or drugs or even sex. Fortunately, exercise produces dopamine too, making it a healthy alternative to more damaging addictions.

9. Less Winkles

A recent study found that exercise can actually reverse the skin’s aging process.

10. More energy

It seems a bit counterintuitive, but expending more energy through exercise can help boost energy levels. Careful though, don’t overdo it.

11. Better memory

Remember how exercise can improve cognitive function? Exercise has been found to have a powerful impact on memory, particularly as we age. Regular exercise actually boosts the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for verbal memory and learning.

12. Better immune system

When you exercise regularly, your heart gets stronger and is able to pump more blood throughout your body. Your lungs get better equipped at handling oxygen and dishing it out to the rest of your body. Your immune system is no different. Doctors have found that exercise can boost your immune system by providing a boost to the cells in your body that are assigned to attack bacteria. These cells appear to work more slowly in people who don’t exercise than in those that do.

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Is the BMI a Good Indicator of Health ?

CaptureMany doctors and health professional use the body mass index (BMI) to assess the general health of their patients.
But centering physical diagnosis on the BMI index can be inappropriate in some
cases.
More researchers argue that it’s not the most accurate way to measure body weight.
 

What is it ?

No it’s not an acronym for ”black market internationnal” or ”bad mental image”
The BMI is a measurement that attempt to quantify the amount of tissue mass (muscle, bone and fat) in a person.
Basically, it provides an easy way to measure obesity.
We can then categorise that person under underweight, normal, overweight or obese.
Here’s a useful link to measure you’re BMI
Free Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator with reference charts and tables for both child and adult, along with hundreds of other free calculators.

But this measure does not tell the whole story

It does not take into account body composition.
BMI can’t distinguish between fat and muscle, which tends to be heavier.
More toned individuals can tip into the overweight status, even if their fat levels are low.
Mr. Olympia, Phillip Jerrod Heath, would be considered obese class III during his off season and Obese class II during contest prep.
BMI also can’t tell the different types of fat
Different types of fat and where the body stores it can have different metabolic effects on health.
Belly or abdominal fat, which is known as visceral fat, is more harmful than fat that’s simply sitting under the skin.
Visceral fat develops deep among muscles and around organs like the liver. These fat cells do more than just sit there and make your pants feel tight. They also change the way your body operates provoking inflammation and influencing hormone functions. 
visceral fat
A person might also be compensating with harmful behaviors to keep themselves at that BMI (Anorexia, Binge Eating, Compulsive Exercisers, Smokers, Drug Users etc.)
Weight as a proxy or primary marker of health has its weakness.
Should you use it, you can but let’s take a quick look at some alternative you could also use.

Alternatives to BMI

Body Adiposity Index

BAI is unlike BMI as it does not use your weight in the calculation. In order to work out your percentage body fat, BAI multiplies your hip circumference by your height.

Here’s a useful link to measure you’re BAI :

Waist circumference measurements

One of the most effective alternatives to BMI is the old-fashioned tape measure.
By measuring your waist you can get a good heads up of the amount of abdominal fat you are carrying.

main-qimg-7bee5c9105a7bcf3a53a2a9ad289fc87Body Fat measuring with Caliperscalipers_gc

Using a tool called a caliper, a trained tester can measure body fat at 3 to 9 sites by pinching the skin and the fat that lies under it. He pulls the skin and fat away from the muscle and places the  caliper 1 cm (0.4 in) above or below. Two or three measurements are usually taken at each site.

CT scans, MRIs and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA)

These methods can provide a clearer glimpse at the body’s make-up by separating out fat from muscle or by measuring bone density.
But these are pretty expensive compared to stepping on a scale.

Conclusion

So why is BMI still the preferred way to measure weight and evaluate obesity?
Well, it’s a relatively easy measurement to take. Taking a person’s height and weight and plugging it into an equation that produces a number informs doctors about whether their patients are at high, low or no risk when it comes to weight-related health problems.
Perhaps doctors should rely on not just assessing body composition to assess general health but measuring hormones and biomarkers in the blood or urine to get a better handle on abnormal processes that may contribute to obesity and chronic disease.

The Female Version of ”BroScience” ; Misconceptions Surrounding Women & Fitness

 

Let me start this post by stating that I Hate almost ALL fitness marketing that’s geared towards women.

If fitness magazines, Instagram fitness models or products were telling the truth, they’d be saying things like:

  • “Want to tone and tighten those abs? Don’t waste your time with these exercises”
  • “Want to banish that belly fat? This waist trimmer/belt/trainer won’t help”
  • “Want to get stronger? You’re going to need to pick up something heavier than this ”
  • “That perfect or ideal body shape you aspire to have is neither healthy or realistic”
  • “Your favorite online Insta-coach, celebrity or PT probably has no qualifications”
  • “There are no shortcuts to places that inherently take time and patience to reach”
  • “ A single “best” way for everyone doesn’t exist.”

womenshealthmagazine

And then you have popular opinions like my personnal favorite here :

“You’re going to get bulky and look like a man”

 

This has never been said by a girl who knew the first thing about lifting…

 

Broscience, what is it exactly?

 

Urban Dictionary has a pretty accurate way of describing  it :
”The uninformed opinion of “meatheads” or “jocks” on topics relating to health, strength, or athletic development.
Word of mouth knowledge passed off as fact, primarily among bodybuilders or weightlifters. Generally spouted by men who have used loads of steroids and are huge, have no idea what is happening to their bodies and share that same cluelessness with others who make the false assumption that their experience means that they have knowledge. ”

” Broscience is the predominant brand of reasoning in bodybuilding circles where the anecdotal reports of jacked dudes are considered more credible than scientific research

Broscience in action:

“Bro, you gotta slam 40-60 grams of carbs plus 20 grams of BCAA within 7 seconds of finishing your last set of squat rack curls. Otherwise, you’ll go straight catabolic.”

download

Now, There is a Female version of this so-called ”Broscience” but nobody ever came up with an official name for it…

You-go-girl science? Bimbo Science? Bikini Science? They all seem too long…

I can definitely think of what it might entail though :

  1. Only do cardio and stretching otherwise, you’ll turn into a man

2. If you must lift weight, never use more than 3lbs or, see number one

3. If you lift heavy weights, your uterus will fall out

4. Muscle will turn into fat when you stop working out, it’s a fact so don’t build muscle just ”tone”

5. Having an expensive, sexy outfit or just wearing a sports bra and some Lululemon leggings is an integral part of your gym workout; perfectly coiffed hair, like your ready for prom in an hour and being thoroughly caked up is also encouraged.

perfect-makeup (1)

6. Our special, no-run “fitness make-up kit” will have your face looking great at the gym

7. Don’t eat anything unless it has a “lite” or “fat-free” sticker on it. Then, you can eat as much as you want!

8. Carbs are evil, stay away from them

evil_by_sarahpea

9. Eating is generally discouraged, keep your calories under 1200 per day.

10. The cardio machines are precisely counting the calories you’re burning. This helps with measuring your caloric deficit of 1200 per day

d2994b27cfb2c5d1396338dfe7e4d5a4

11. If you’re sweating, you’re working out too hard, men generally think it’s gross. If any sweat stains begin to appear, leave the gym immediately.

12. Make sure you follow a famous Instagram NPC bikini competitor model and do all the same weird ineffective exercise they do daily

 

13. Training your legs every day is necessary to develop a booty so use the leg spreading-contracting machine every. single. day.

14. Training a specific muscle will result in fat loss in that area of the body so to get toned abs and to get rid of that belly fat you should be doing endless abdominal exercises.

15. Detox diet is totally worth your time and money. They are a great way to ”reset” and ”stimulate the liver” to eliminate ”harmful” toxins from the body

17. Certain supplements or food can magically make all your fat melt away.

18. If your workout isn’t posted on Instagram, then no progress was made #workingout #selfie #sweat #loveit #feelinggood #summerbody #abs

 

I hear this stuff all the time from my clients, my friends, around the gym, and basically, everywhere I go and it makes me cringe.

Think lifting heavy weights will transform you into a female version of Arnold Schwarzenneger? Think again. Adding more weight to your bar won’t automatically make you look “bulky” or “manly,” (which, by the way, is a highly subjective term).

 

The myth that women shouldn’t lift heavy is only perpetuated by women who fear hard work and men who fear strong women.

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