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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

You must challenge your body to change it!


photo by mr38

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The American Heart Association in conjunction with the American College of Sports Medicine has released it's newest set of guidelines for physical activity. Adults age 18-65 should get 30 minutes of moderate physical activity 5 days per week or 20 minutes of vigorous activity 3 times per week. Moderate activity is equivalent to a brisk walk and noticeably accelerates your heart rate. An example of vigorous activity is jogging and causes rapid breathing and a substantial increase in heart rate. Combinations of moderate and vigorous exercise can be used to meet the weekly activity recommendation. Additionally, adults should engage in muscle-building, or strength training activities twice during the week. People who engage in greater amounts of activity than this further reduce the risk of chronic disease and disabilities, as well as unhealthy weight gain.

So, here's the deal. This is the minimum recommendation for health. It's a good start. If you follow these guidelines perfectly, but make no change to your eating habits, don't expect to lose tons of weight, or to make huge changes to your body composition. To lose significant amounts of fat requires more hard work and consistency. If you have never been an "exerciser", start with this recommendation as an initial goal. Consider it an investment in the ability to really torch fat after you've gotten in better physical condition.

Don't let your own expectations of what you think you should be achieving hinder your progress or discourage you. It takes time to gain weight, and it takes time to lose it. Time is on your side. Let it work for you.

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