In Part 1 yesterday, Joey Bull looked at some worrying fact from a recent body image survey of female university students. Here she provides some rather more simple and effective answers…
Let’s start with resistance training
This is an area that can have some women turning on their heels and searching for the nearest aerobics class. I can assure them that if their aim is long-term benefit, they are taking the wrong option.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
And ladies don’t worry, we are not genetically pre-disposed to build significant muscle so you really don’t have to panic about ‘bulking up’ or ‘losing femininity’.
In fact, it is more likely to do wonders for your feminine curves. What will also ensue is greater strength, posture improvement, better tone and stronger bones (vital in warding off osteoporosis). These desirable and valuable benefits are attainable by all.
Muscle requires far more oxygen than fat
As a result, the body becomes more efficient in utilising oxygen and your metabolic rate increases.
This, in turn, makes the body a far more effective fat burning machine, even continuing to perform this function while we sleep – and let’s face it that’s a very appealing proposition!
It might not blast fat away but it has been shown that 1lb of muscle burns 50 calories a day, that is 1,400 over a month which equals half a pound of fat.
It might not sound dramatic but it all helps, particularly when two or three pounds of new muscle are added.
Quality not Quantity
When it comes to resistance training the popular phrase “quality not quantity” has never rung more true.
It really is not about straining every sinew and aiming for an eye-popping personal best with every push, pull or lift, but employing enough intensity to stress the targeted muscles without bursting blood vessels.
Form is vital – This means keeping your movements correct at all times.
Not only will this help avoid injury, it will lead to greater results.
For example: there’s no value in swinging your arm to achieve bicep curls (unless it’s a required motion in sport specific training). Momentum ends up doing the work for you and the effectiveness of the exercise is minimised.
Also, remember it’s not all about the initial movement (or positive motion) .
This only represents half a discipline and half the potential benefit. The return (or negative) movement is equally beneficial and should be performed in the same controlled way.
Don’t forget that rest is vital
It is actually during rest that the gains are made. With many exercises you don’t actually need a home gym to achieve your goals and improvisation can be the key.
Most households are littered with items that can become a temporary weight.
And we all possess the very best weight to work with and against – our own body.
We really have no excuse not to throw in a few press-ups, sit-ups, planks and, if possible, pull-ups on a daily basis. But there are other valuable day-to-day activities that, if recognised and concentrated on, are useful additions to our exercise programmes.
Every day actions
For example: how often do we bend down to reach a low draw or cupboard, to pick something off the floor, select a CD, wipe the floor?
Every one of those actions becomes a fantastic excuse to perform a great body-weight squat.
Be controlled and methodical with it but don’t be afraid to bend and twist the spine so it remains mobile and fully engaged from top to base. So bend the knees, reach for the object, twisting, bending, reaching…
Keep this in mind – We all perform dozens of squats a day, 100’s a week, 1000’s a year why not turn them into a considered exercise movement.
The overall benefits are tremendous. You’ll become a better fat burner, your figure will improve and it is genuinely not uncommon for people to achieve strength increases of up to 50% quite quickly.
Reduce the risk of injury
And it is this kind of benefit that makes day to day functions such as shopping, shifting furniture, carrying a toddler, gardening etc far easier and less likely to cause injury. And it is encouraging to know you are never too old to start – or to start again!
Studies in the USA amongst 70 and 80-year-olds have shown strength and flexibility increases of almost 100% in only three months of carefully monitored and regulated training.
And I don’t even need the statistics of others to emphasise this point, I’ve seen it with my own eyes. Clients joining me in their 70’s have changed into physically different individuals right in front of me.
No more shuffling around and ‘bison backs’. Instead, they gain muscle tone, great posture, mobility, fitness, strength, balance, top-to-bottom flexibility and with it a confidence and renewed zest.
I can promise you these are people who are definitely glad not to have sacrificed a year of their lives!
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