You know you need to work out, but wonder how hard you need to exercise and how you can tell if you’re actually becoming more fit. The key is in understanding your different heart rates and what those numbers actually mean.
1. Heart Rate is the average number of times your heart beats per minute. Your heart ‘beats’ when it contracts and pumps blood through your body.
2. Resting Heart Rates indicates your basic overall heart health. The more conditioned you are, the less effort it takes to pump blood through your body and will be reflected in a lower resting heart rate.
To get a resting exercise heart rate, take your pulse after being still for five or more minutes, preferably in the same position you’ll be in during exercise. That is, if you’re going to walk, then stand quietly for five minutes and then note your heart rate.
3. Warm-Up Heart Rate is a heart rate that should be HALFWAY between your resting heart rate and target heart rate. By monitoring your warm-up heart rate, you can assess whether you’ve transitioned properly from rest to exercise with respect to:
Increased blood flow
This will reduce the onset of lack of oxygen (ischemia), chest pain (angina), irregular heart beats (arrhythmias), and other dysfunctions during the conditioning exercise phase.
Consuming the ideal foods and fluids after your workouts is vital for optimal fitness. But figuring out what you should eat and drink can be confusing. I talked with KRON 4 Morning News anchor, Marty Gonzalez, and deciphered what to eat — and when.
Recover nutrition has two primary goals:
To replace what’s lost during exercise, such as fluid and fuel
To promote muscle building and repair
General Post-Exercise Guidelines
Consume 1.0 to 1.5 grams carbohydrate (CHO) per kg body weight during the first 30 minutes after exercise and again every 2 hours for 4 to 6 hours.
Consume 15 to 25 grams protein during recovery.
Drink 16 to 24 oz. of fluid for every pound of weight lost during exercise
The Window of Metabolic Opportunity
After exercise, your body is starved for nutrients and quickest at absorbing them during the first 30 minutes after exerciseand at two-hour intervals for 4 to 6 hours.
The earlier you eat carbohydrates within this window, the faster you’ll replenish your glycogen (energy) stores. Once depleted, it generally takes 24 hours to fully replenish these reserves. Waiting too long to eat can impair your performance and function.
Eating Carbs Immediately After Exercise is NOT for Everyone
Carb consumption right after exercise is important if you:
Work out daily.
Train or compete multiple times a day.
Participate in high intensity or prolonged exercise.
Have defined fitness, muscle mass, and performance goals.
If you’re an occasional exerciser or rest one or more days between intense workouts, nutrient timing isn’t critical, but the nutritional components of recovery are still required.
Be sure your intake of CHO is adequate and consumed within a reasonable time after training.
NOTE: In general, consuming a high CHO snack with some protein during recovery is a good practice for athletes and avid exercisers.
Planning post-exercise and post-competition snacks/meals to fit within the recovery window will take some time at first. You’ll need to figure out what, how much, and when to eat as well as how to make the food available after your workout.
Your doctor told you to get some exercise, so you go to the gym, but you end up with more than you bargained for. Fitness facilities can be icky germ factories. I’m armed with tips on how to get fit without getting sick.
Breeding Grounds for a Wide Variety of Germs
Fitness studios or gyms may be places to get healthy, but they’re also breeding grounds for a host of germs — particularly Staphylococcus bacteria or “staph”.
A 2014 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found 25 different categories of bacteria lurking in fitness centers.
Why Germs Thrive
Cold and flu season will be creeping up on us again soon, so beware of those coughers and sneezers who can quickly spread viruses from one treadmill to the next.
But… the majority of germs that people pick up at their favorite fitness studio are those that affect the skin.
Bacteria, fungi, and viruses that cause skin infections thrive in SWEAT. Warm, moist areas are particularly problematic.
Sweat gets left behind on:
Exercise equipment (from rowers to reformers, weights, and boxing gloves to basketballs), mats, and machines
Saunas, showers, swimming pool decks
Locker room benches, toilet/door handles
The Most Common Germs
The following skin problems are the most common ones you can pick up at a fitness facility:
Fungi (pronounced “fun-guy”) reproduce through tiny spores in the air. That means, you can inhale the spores or they can land on you! As a result, fungal infections often begin in your lungs or on your skin. That means they’re easy to get and PASS AROUND.
Fungi, the plural for fungus, live and reproduce in the air, in soil and water, on plants… and on YOU. Those embarrassing health conditions mentioned above are caused by an excessive amount of fungus growing on the surface of your skin. Think of that fuzzy green mold that grows on decaying old fruit hiding in the back of your frig or the mildew that grows on shower walls. Same idea.
Only half of them are harmful, but they can be annoying, ITCHY and difficult to kill. If you have a circulation problem, weakened immune system, diabetes, or take antibiotics, you may be more likely to get a fungal infection. (Antibiotics may disrupt the balance of natural microflora in your system which causes fungi to overpopulate.) It’s important to get treatment at the first sign of a problem.
2. Hot-Tub Rash
When levels of disinfectants (like chlorine) are too low in swimming pools and hot tubs, you can get an itchy red rash from the bacteria that you pick up.
3. Plantar Warts
This virus infects feet, so don’t go barefoot in the locker room, gym showers, or exercise studios.
4. Impetigo (im-pe-TEE-go)
This HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS infection is caused by a staph or strep bacteria.
It gets into your body through broken skin (a cut, scrape or insect bite).
Transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, contaminated towels, and sports equipment.
Are you able to walk for miles on a treadmill, but can barely ascend a few flights of stairs? I explain to Marty Gonzalez, KRON 4 Morning News Weekend anchor, why stair climbing is so different from walking — and how it not only benefits your life but your sex life as well.😉
Stair Climbing vs. Walking
Stair climbing improves cardiorespiratory fitness. It is officially classed as a “vigorous” form of exercise. Stair climbing is a more POWERFUL form of walking because it:
Stair Climbing and Sex
Researchers in Canada monitored healthy male volunteers averaging age 64 while they walked, lifted weights, or climbed stairs. Stair climbing was the most demanding. Stair climbing was:
Twice as taxing as brisk walking on level ground.
50% harder than walking up a steep incline or lifting weights.
Faster at attaining peak exertion than walking (thus, explains the “huffing and puffing” going upstairs).
How to Stair Climb Your Way to a Longer Life and Stop Middle-Age Weight Gain
If you resolved to lose weight at the beginning of the year, but haven’t reached your goal, here’s some good news. You really don’t have to lose that much weight to reap huge health benefits.
How Losing Just Five Pounds Boosts Your Health
Lower Blood Pressure
The American Heart Association says if you are overweight, losing as little as five pounds may help lower blood pressure.
Lowering blood pressure reduces risk of stroke, heart disease, heart failure, and kidney failure.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute says for every 20 pounds you lose, you can drop systolic pressure 5-20 points. That is, drop a pound, drop a point.
Improve Urinary Incontinence (UI)
Losing weight reduces risk factors for many medical conditions, especially heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Now, there’s a new benefit that can be added to the long list of health benefits: reduced urinary incontinence (involuntary urination). About 25 million Americans have urinary incontinence and about 25% are men. About half of U.S. women over age 65 leak.
Causes and Cures for UI
Gravity, aging tissue, and hormonal changes all contribute to urinary incontinence.
Increased pressure on the bladder during pregnancy and as well a weakened or stretched pelvic floor from childbirth can cause incontinence.
Losing five pounds can reduce the stress on the pelvic floor and reduce incontinence significantly.
A UCSF study of over 338 women (average age of 53), those who lost an average of just three pounds reported 28% fewer urinary incontinence episodes. Those that lost 17 pounds had 47% fewer episodes. These outcomes improved quality of life measures. The study strongly suggests weight loss decreases incontinence episodes, and a reduction of intra-abdominal pressure (due to central obesity, i.e., belly fat) on the bladder and pelvic floor is possibly why.
Weight loss is an effective, nonsurgical, and noninvasive treatment and should be considered a first line therapy for incontinence. Incontinence drugs have side effects (e.g., dry mouth, dry skin, dry eyes, constipation, upset stomach), and it has been reported that 50% of women discontinue drug treatment within one year because of the side effects.
Improve and Prevent Arthritis Symptoms
Osteoarthritis is the leading cause of disability in the U.S.
When you carry extra pounds it puts huge pressure on your joints and puts you at risk of osteoarthritis (degenerative “wear and tear arthritis”).
In knee osteoarthritis, the cartilage in the knee joint gradually wears away. As the cartilage wears away, the protective space between the bones decreases. The deterioration of the “shock absorber” can result in bone rubbing on bone, pain, stiffness, loss of movement in the affected joint, and painful bone spurs.
Wake Forest University conducted an 18-month diet and exercise study on sedentary, overweight, older adults with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis. They concluded that for each pound of weight lost, each knee bears four pounds less pressure per step.
Amount of Knee Pressure When Walking
If you lose five pounds, you reduce 20 pounds of pressure bearing down on each knee which can lessen pain.
When walking one mile (assuming 2,000 strides per mile), a five-pound loss in weight would be a reduction of more than 40,000 pounds of accumulated pressure on each knee.
Walking on an incline, walking up/down stairs, squatting, and jogging significantly reduce pressure on each knee even more.
Fit Tip:Aim for losing a little weight versus a lot. It’s less daunting and the scientific evidence is clear. You’ll receive the health payoffs long before you drop large amounts of weight.