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Posts Tagged ‘calorie burning’

working out too much

Although it’s good to exercise regularly, working out too much could work against you. A new study found that older women (ages 60 to 72) who worked out two to four times a week burned more calories each day and found exercise more pleasurable than those who worked out more.

Past studies have found exercising vigorously almost every day causes some people to be less physically active overall compared to those who exercise less. Researchers suggest constant vigorous exercise sends messages to the brain that the body is overdoing it and needs rest, which may cause fatigue or lethargy. For example, vigorous exercisers may take the stairs less, be more inclined to drive instead of walk, or park close to the entrance of a store instead of traversing the parking lot.

Working out fewer days per week showed more benefit

In the study, researchers divided the women into three groups who jogged, walked, cycled and lifted weights. One group worked out twice a week, one group four times a week, and the third group six times a week.

Some interesting results emerged from the study. The group exercising twice a week showed the same gains in fitness as the groups who worked out more often. However, the group working out four days a week burned the most calories per day, an additional 225 calories outside of the exercise session.

Frequent exercisers burned out and burned fewer calories

What is more surprising is the group who worked out six times a week burned 200 fewer calories a day than before they began.

Apparently, the six-day-a-week group suffered burnout. They complained the exercise schedule took up too much of their time and made them feel pressured. As a result, they made lifestyle choices that were quicker but more sedentary, such as driving or taking the elevator instead of walking or taking the stairs.

The other two groups reported feeling more energized and capable. They started taking the stairs over the escalator, walking regularly for pleasure, and incorporating more activity into their lives in general.

In conclusion the group working out four days a week experienced the most benefits, but those working out only twice a week came pretty close.

Over exercising can do more harm than good

Of course, if you enjoy working out six days a week and it does not negatively affect you, then there is no need to work out less. Regular physical activity has been shown to lower the risk a long list of chronic diseases, including depression, heart disease, and diabetes.

However, overtraining can deplete hormones, depress immunity, lead to bone loss, increase the risk of injuries, slow healing, increase inflammation, and cause a general feeling of burn-out.

Overtraining causes your body to pump out extra cortisol, a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands that helps us cope with stress. High cortisol can cause bone loss and muscle breakdown, create belly fat, increase sugar cravings, and lead to insulin resistance, a pre-diabetic condition that causes high blood sugar.

Some people who overtrain suffer from low cortisol, which can lead to weight gain, fatigue, low blood sugar (with dizziness, light-headedness, and irritability), muscle weakness, difficulty recovering from workouts, and poor immune strength.

Symptoms of overtraining

Symptoms of overtraining include:

  • Persistent tiredness
  • Worsening strength and stamina
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Slow recovery
  • Aching joints or limbs
  • Injuries
  • Frequent illness

Sufficient recovery between exercise sessions and exercising at an appropriate intensity will get you fitter faster without compromising your health.

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sitting-disease

Do you eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly but sit long hours each day at work? If so, you could be undoing all your good work.

Sitting, even if you otherwise practice healthy habits, is associated with poor cardiovascular health, higher inflammation, and more belly fat, according to a 2011 Australian study. This is bad news for the millions of Americans who must work at a desk. In fact, it can feel downright insulting to learn that all our healthful efforts are being thwarted by our jobs.

Studies link prolonged sitting with compromised metabolic health, higher risk of disease, and shorter life span. Witness this cascade of ill effects:

  • Electrical activity in muscles goes silent
  • Calorie burning plummets
  • Insulin sensitivity drops, raising the risk of obesity and Type 2 diabetes
  • Enzymes responsible for clearing fat and triglycerides from the bloodstream plunge, lowering the levels of HDL (good) cholesterol

Sadly, these risks remain regardless of our physical activity level outside of work. Worst of all, these metabolic changes don’t happen gradually, but instead swiftly, within 24 hours.

Antidotes to sitting long hours

The results of your good exercise and diet habits needn’t be lost to your office chair. Sitting disease antidotes can be as simple as moving around more or working while standing.

Create a treadmill desk

A treadmill desk is just what it sounds like, a desktop built over a treadmill. Users walk very slowly on the treadmill and can easily talk, type, and perform other desk work while burning 100 calories an hour and staving off metabolic risks. Treadmill desks can be homemade, purchased to fit over an existing treadmill, or ordered, all inclusive, for up to $4,400.

Stand at your desk

A quicker and less cumbersome fix is a standing desk. To make one, try stacking something tall on your desk on which to set your computer. If you work at home, you might choose to work on your laptop while standing at the kitchen counter. Standing burns more calories than sitting and engages more muscles, enhancing metabolic activity.

Frequent breaks are key

If you do choose to sit, you can mitigate the effects of sitting disease with frequent breaks and lots of movement throughout the day. Australian researchers found those who took frequent breaks had lower levels of C-reactive protein, an important marker of inflammation, and smaller waists as well. Waist size, like excess belly fat, is a marker for increased risk for heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and other inflammation-related disorders. High-risk waist circumference is over 40 inches for men and over 35 inches for women.

Take a stand against excessive sitting. Get up every half hour. Move about in your chair. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park at the outer reaches of the parking lot. Go ahead and fidget and bustle, and trot between the computer and the printer, or to the bathroom. Research shows not only will you combat sitting disease, but you’ll also be less likely to gain weight compared to your more sedentary coworkers.

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