We all have words that conjure up less than resourceful pictures for us. Exercise seems to be one of those words. That is why I have found it so much more useful to think of moving our bodies rather than exercising them.
I have been listening over the last week or so to the different ways people are moving their bodies which they really enjoy. Here are some of them…
- Zumba classes – following a DVD at home or in the gym
- 5 Rhythms Dance
- Bike Riding – great article in Your Weekend magazine (Free with the Dominion Post) recently on an annual gathering of “Frocks on Bikes“
- Walking – meet friends for a walk rather than that coffee
The recommended daily dose appears to be about 30 min of movement a day, however I’m all for keeping it easy, so set yourself the intention to just move every day. Once you start moving and find something that is enjoyable, it will become easier to increase the amount of time you spend on that activity. Have a think about all the ways that you could bring regular movement into your life and begin to play with something new each day. Allow yourself to find something that you can look forward to doing, makes you feel good and above all is fun!
Stu Mittleman and Dr Philip Maffetone have both written about how the optimum balance of health and fitness can be achieved through training the metabolism to work more efficiently. This can be achieved by monitoring the heart rate to determine the correct level of intensity for your exercise routine.
So what is the optimum heart rate that you need to be exercising at?
Stu Mittleman identifies three levels –
1. MAP – the Mostly Aerobic Pace promotes fat utilisation and is great for releasing tension and stress in the body. It is also the zone you want to work in initially if you do not take part in any regular form of exercise.
2. MEP – the Most Efficient Pace is the most productive zone for developing increased energy and stamina.
3. SAP – the Speedy Aerobic Pace is when you are burning mainly sugar. SAP interval training is really useful when you have built a good fat burning foundation.
So keeping it simple … using, Stu Mittleman’s formula, the upper limit of the MEP zone is 180 – your age and this is the maximum you want your heart rate to be working to ensure that your body is at it’s most productive and efficient level of movement. Working at or below this maximum level also ensures that your workout becomes a pleasure rather than pain, which will steadily increase your level of vitality.
For more information on how to calculate the precise figures for all the zones have a look at the Slow Burn book by Stu Mittleman.
• Do you wake up in the morning feeling tired?
• Does your energy levels fluctuate over the course of the day?
• Do you need to eat to get energy?
• Do you feel famished after working out?
• Are moody, irritable or depressed?
• Do you have a layer of fat that will not shift even after the most diligent of efforts?
• Do you feel aches and pains after exercising?
• Do you have difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly?
So… is your exercise program working for you? This confirmed that whatever I was doing was not working for me and it was time to make some changes…