The SparkPeople Blog

All Entries For exercise

You Asked: ''How Do I Create a Calorie Deficit or Burn More Calories Than I Eat?''


It sounds like you're referring to a "calories in vs. calories out" type of equation. First you need to understand that one pound of fat is made up of roughly 3,500 extra calories. So in order to lose one pound of fat, you need to create a caloric deficit of 3,500 calories. 
Posted 8/18/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 8 comments   21,557 views
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Do You Know What Your Exercise Personality Is?


Up until seven years ago when I discovered my passion for running, I, like many of you, found myself doing all that I could to meet my calories burn goal by the end of the week.  When I first began my journey to healthy living, getting on the elliptical for just 10 minutes at a time was a challenge. But over time I no longer had the motivation to get on it each morning to log-in my 60 minutes of activity. The elliptical was no longer a challenge for me. I began to despise my workouts even though I knew of the benefits. I needed something new to change up my exercise routine.

Having vowed I would never give up my quest for healthy living, I joined a gym not too far from my home. In the beginning it was so much fun. I was exposed to so many new and exciting things; everything from new cardio equipment, to weight machines, free weights, even spinning, yoga and Pilates classes. I was like a kid in a candy store. Every day allowed me the opportunity to try something new. But even with all the exposure to new things, I soon found my motivation waning after a few short months. I started viewing exercise as a punishment.

This is when  I decided to give running a try. I love being outside and I love a good challenge. I love competing against myself. Running fits all the criteria that best suits my personality which is why I believe I am still running after all these years.
Posted 6/21/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Nancy Howard : 41 comments   36,034 views
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What Motivates You to Exercise?


It's no secret that there are many people who don't like to exercise for one reason or another, but at the same time, there are many others that really enjoy it. Why is there such a love it or hate it attitude towards exercise? There are numerous answers to that question and some might say that they had a really bad past experience, they find it boring and haven't found something that is enjoyable, or they may not see the instant gratification (weight loss) that they are looking for when it comes to exercise. As many of you know, what motivates one person to do something may not work for the next person. 
 
Posted 5/10/2013  12:00:00 PM By: Denise Tausig : 286 comments   26,310 views
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Our Fastest Cardio Workouts


Do you ever feel like you don't have enough time to get a good workout in during the day? No need to fret because you can still get an effective cardio workout in just 10 minutes. I gave up the all-or-nothing thinking years ago and have done my best to commit to at least 10 minutes of exercise each day. It all really DOES add up! Even if you did just 10 minutes of exercise a day, that is 70 minutes of exercise for the week, which is better than not doing anything at all and you can still see the benefits from doing that.

Posted 5/3/2013  6:00:00 PM By: Denise Tausig : 36 comments   163,335 views
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Why All Kids Need Recess


Do you remember elementary school recess?  Can you conjure up vivid images of your play time?

I think I jump-roped around the globe over the course of my elementary school  recess hours.  The traditional, two-people-hold-one-jump rope game was my forte.  I can even hear the song in my head: "Strawberry shortcake, cream on top, tell me the name of your sweetheart..."  The group then sang out a letter of the alphabet with each jump.  Hopefully, if the boy you "liked" started with an S or T or W, you would be able to jump long enough to land on the right letter. 

As children, we looked forward to running free during that period of time during the day.  No hall pass.  No permissions needed.  Little teacher interference.  Fresh air.  Pure and simple play.  That was the 1970s and 1980s for me.  Over the course of the past two decades, however, fewer children have been able to experience the freedoms of recess.   

Perhaps the biggest contributor to the decrease in recess for children has been increased academic expectations.  In a nutshell, in came academic standards and out went recess.  It made sense to many: If there are higher demands academically and more accountability of schools, teachers, and children, then recess (the perceived "perk") must go. 
The problem: Children need recess!   
Posted 2/27/2013  12:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 37 comments   41,427 views
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You Asked: ''How Can I Exercise with a Sprained Ankle?


When recovering from a sprain, the first goal is to slowly regain a full range of movement. The first 24 hours are important for icing, rest and elevation to reduce the amount of inflammation. It's important to start rehabilitation exercises as soon as possible, depending on the severity of the sprain. 

If you can’t do weight bearing exercises, try this: Rotate your ankle and point your toes in different directions, spelling the alphabet with your toes to improve range of motion. You can also use a towel or resistance band to provide a little resistance at the ankle to help build up strength again. 

Once you feel comfortable with weight bearing exercises, try this one: Stand against a wall (with your side to the wall) with your sprained foot supported on one side by the wall. Put all weight on that one foot. Start with 5-10 seconds and work your way up to longer times. If you are able to walk on it, take out the hills and inclines if you can, until you don't feel any pain. Taking shorter walks--if you don't feel pain when walking-- is also a good idea.

Additionally, you could try a seated workout that will get your heart pumping without putting weight on your ankle at all. Be patient and listen to your body; you don't want to push yourself too hard and risk further injury.
Posted 12/5/2012  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 1 comments   1,178 views
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The Truth about the 'Fat-Burning Zone' and Weight Loss


The information on cardio machines can be deceiving. The "fat burning zone" is a myth that is based on a fact, but taken out of context. 

It's true that higher intensity exercise uses more glucose and glycogen (the form of energy your body gets from foods) in proportion to fat, but remember that "high intensity" in this context means exercise that you can only maintain for a couple of minutes before becoming exhausted (i.e. anaerobic exercise). It’s also true that low intensity exercise uses more fat as fuel; moderate intensity exercise that you can maintain for 20 minutes or more is aerobic exercise, and will burn both fat and glucose. 

You're better off exercising in the aerobic zone as much as you can because exercising at higher intensities burns more total calories. The "fat burning zone" business is very misleading. You will burn a larger percentage of fat in relation to glucose when you are working at a lower intensity, but you will also burn fewer total calories and less total fat. 

Bottom line: The relative percentage of fat burned has nothing to do with weight loss—it's the total amount calories burned that counts. So just ignore the machine and continue to exercise aerobically. As a bonus, aerobic exercise also strengthens your heart and cardiovascular system, lowers blood pressure, and improves cholesterol levels
Posted 11/8/2012  12:00:00 AM By: Dean Anderson : 1 comments   4,098 views
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How Exercise Can Reduce Stress & Anxiety


When I find my mood is going downhill, I usually take an exercise break to try and lift it back up. The mood boost that we get is just one of the many benefits we experience from exercising. Not only do I know that I burned some calories, improved my overall health, but I feel a lot better in general and come back with a much more positive outlook on things for quite some time afterward.

Posted 10/11/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 21 comments   10,380 views
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8 Ways to Keep Active When You Can't Exercise Like Normal


A few weeks ago, I had a spot removed from my shoulder. My dermatologist cut out a pretty hefty chunk that required several stitches and has left me with a one-inch scar.
Relief that the sketchy spot was history was soon replaced by panic when I was given post-op instructions:
  • no lifting more than 10 pounds
  • no lifting my arm past 90 degrees
  • no running
  • no bike riding or Spinning
  • no yoga involving arms or any weight on the wrists
None of that for two weeks. TWO WEEKS! What?

I exercise for a lot of reasons: for my health, to keep my weight in check, to get stronger, to help deal with stress, for the feeling it gives me, because I like it. I like staying active, and I find that the more I move, the better I feel. My back pain flares up if I skip even two days of yoga, I notice my anxiety levels rise on days I don't work out, and I just feel like something is missing from my day if I haven't sweated at least once. In addition to running two or three days a week, I usually take a weekly Pilates and Spinning class, and I walk a lot on weekends and in the evenings.

I had been forewarned that yoga would be out--no weight on the arms or wrists. But running? No running? And no Spinning? I actually cried a little.

As I lay face down on the table, I thought about all I could do, and I decided to use this as a chance to focus on exercises that I usually skimp on--power walking, core exercises, and strength training.

These two weeks would be good for me.

So what did I do?
Posted 10/4/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 34 comments   19,750 views
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You Asked: ''Should I Work Out Today If I'm Still Sore from Yesterday's Workout?''


It's common for beginners to experience muscle soreness that lasts for a week or two, just as seasoned exercisers will be sore after a tough workout. Yes, you should keep working out even though you are sore, but there is more to it than that. 

Muscle soreness has two primary causes. The first soreness you experience happens during your workout ("the burn") and should subside within a couple of hours. This is caused by lactic acid production. When you are training and your muscles are not getting enough oxygen (anaerobic glycolysis), lactic acid builds up. You can break down lactic acid by continuing to move and by doing light aerobic exercise (such as walking) after your workout. This is why cool-downs are so important, especially for beginners. The longer you cool down, the faster that lactic acid will leave the muscles (typically within an hour).

The type of muscle soreness you are experiencing, up to a day or two (and sometimes even three) after your workout is known as DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). DOMS is caused by microscopic tears inside the muscles, resulting from weight-training or fully exhausting the muscles during cardio. This is normal. Again, beginners will be more sore and usually for longer, but if you really worked as hard as you should have during a weight-lifting session, you should be somewhat sore for the next day or two. 

This is where rest comes in. You absolutely must rest the muscles you worked for 1-2 days after a workout. Take at least one day off between strength training sessions, and if you are still very sore, take 2 days off. (This means from lifting, not from all exercise such as cardio). If you don't let your muscles recover and repair, they will continue to break down and you will actually get weaker. 

To help prevent soreness in the future, and alleviate some of it now, be sure to: 
1. Always warm up for 5-10 minutes and cool down for at least 5 minutes. 
2. Stretch after a warm-up, during your workout, and after you are done. Only stretch when your muscles are already warm from some kind of light activity. 
3. Stay active. The more your muscles move, the faster they will recover from exercise and soreness. If you choose to rest completely instead of "actively recovering" with light exercise, you'll probably be sore longer. 
Posted 10/3/2012  12:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 4 comments   70,481 views
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The SparkPeople Commercial Break Workout


Americans watch, on average, almost five hours of television per day, according to the Nielsen Corporation.  Actual programming only accounts for 42 minutes of every hour, meaning that as part of our time in front of the tube, we see nearly 90 minutes of advertisements. In addition to being exposed to ads for things we don't need or want--like double bacon cheeseburgers and soda--it's taking time away from the shows we tuned in to see.
You've probably heard the tip to fit in a workout during commercial breaks, but what should you do? It can be hard to spontaneously decide which exercises to do, so we decided to take the guesswork out of it. We created a workout game of sorts that you can use when you're watching TV. Each time you see one of the commercials listed below, do the exercise that corresponds to it.
If you already work out while watching TV, consider shaking up your routine by jumping off the elliptical or recumbent bike during commercials and fitting in some strength training.
Enjoy!
Posted 9/20/2012  6:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 48 comments   97,128 views
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Take a Break to Torch the Calories


Having a job that requires sitting most or all of the day doesn't mean that you can't fit in extra calorie burning activities throughout the day. For me, I work from home and am on the computer a lot of the day, however, I take breaks as often as I can to get up and walk around to stretch my legs, which also gives my eyes a rest from the computer screen. Some of my favorite exercise breaks include walking around the house at a fast pace, walking up and down the stairs, dancing around the living room  (my dogs really love this!), or taking the dogs for a quick walk around the neighborhood.  Before working from home though, I worked in a conventional office and would do everything I could to get up and move. I would walk to my co-worker's office/cubicle rather than email them,  take the stairs as much as possible and go for walks during my lunch hour. Even though I'm not in a conventional office now, I still make sure to work in ways to burn extra calories (in addition to my formal exercise) throughout the day.
 
Posted 9/20/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 42 comments   16,359 views
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Poll: Should Physical Inactivity Be Considered a Medical Condition?


Over the years as technology has advanced and made it easier for us to sit more throughout the day, humans in general have become less active. This continued inactivity has lead to increasing obesity trends, along with other ailments such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, etc. Like I mentioned in a previous blog, "many people might find that they spend 8+ hours sitting at work and then come home and sit some more, whether it is to watch TV or for some other sedentary activity."
 
Posted 9/13/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 85 comments   13,094 views
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Poll: Which Season is Your Favorite for Outdoor Exercise?


Fall will be here in just a couple weeks, which means we should be experiencing cooler temperatures very soon! During the hot summer months, many people take their workouts indoors to escape the heat, including myself. With the cooler weather that accompanies the fall season though, it's a great time to get back outside for some of your workouts.
 
Posted 9/6/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 146 comments   20,405 views
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Your 5-Minute Full Body Stretch Routine


I was not blessed with natural flexibility.  Unless I stretch on a regular basis, I have no hope of reaching down and touching my toes.  My tendency to skip stretching after runs (I know, shame on me) has come back to bite me in the past.  I’ve had a few running injuries that could easily have been avoided, had I been stretching on a regular basis.  Therefore, this blog is for both you and me.  Maybe it will give both of us a new stretching routine to add to our regular workouts, and if it only takes 5 minutes, it’s a short amount of time that’s well-spent.
Posted 8/28/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 14 comments   43,727 views
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