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Fun With Fitness While Losing Fat

© John Abdo

Physical fitness has skyrocketed within the last decade. There are greater numbers of individuals performing various activities in attempts to enhance physical appearances, athletic performances, psychological states of well-being, and the overall quality of life. Clinicians of all sorts, athletic trainers, physical therapists and body sculpturing specialists are prescribing the fitness lifestyle as the remedy for obesity, muscular weakness, stress, fatigue, insomnia, hypertension, immune system dysfunction, headaches, joint ailments, depression, metabolic disorders, skeletal imbalances, poor circulation, and many others. These professionals have become aware of the benefits an active life grants its applicants.

I believe we have solidly entered a time which fully accepts that physical fitness, in one form or another, should become a part of everyone's life. If I were saying this a decade ago, I’d have carry out all the malarkey of selling you on fitness and convince you that this is the lifestyle you must commit. Heck, who would of ever thought that fitness would become the "vogue" thing to do.

Physical fitness then has attained an indestructible reputation which continues to grow day-by-day. Everybody benefits from being more active and eating well. It was once thought that exercise and other physical fitness activities were only for those who had athletic aspirations. Observances of these striving individuals (the athletes) often left envious impressions with the manner in which they challenged and performed stressful tasks. With a daily dosage of fitness activities in their lives, athletes have trained themselves to become stronger, better fit members of our society. Many may think the athlete is a breed apart, but these individuals are self-made enthusiasts--they’re human just like anybody else.

In that regard, every human being has a muscular system, a heart with a circulatory system, a set of lungs, a family of organs, a skeleton, and a network of nerves connected to a brain. Athletes are not the only humans who possess these anatomical pieces of apparatus. But to acquire better levels of fitness for these bodily components you must receive regular forms of stimulation by way of fitness activities and nutritional support. So with this in mind, I can honestly admit that "FITNESS IS FOR EVERYONE!"

Inactivity: The Side Effects
Inactivity prevents the body from eliminating much of the toxic materials it accumulates. Here’s an example I use in my seminars to stress this point: If an automobile engine has a poor exhaust system this vehicle will eventually experience problems in starting, will accelerate erratically, may stall on occasion, or may not even start at all. All of these problems are a direct result from poor engine by-product elimination. This vehicle cannot release the waste it tries to reject which congests normal operations.

The body functions in a similar manner. If waste products are not eliminated, the body will become clogged and experience any number of unpleasant effects. What is not eliminated will be trapped and/or stored inside the body leading to many disturbing circumstances.

Poor nutritional habits are described as the intake of excess calories from any food sources including liquids, and/or consuming the wrong food products [i.e., junk food]. Combined with inactivity, these are the villains responsible for much of the obesity and ill-health in our societies. Those who become victimized by society's ways of eating, drinking and spending leisure time are those most likely to acquire these unpleasant states of health. The problem with consistent inactivity is that it deregulates the mind and body into a sedentary pattern--one simply becomes lazy.

Being over fat does not end at just a skin-deep problem--it goes a whole lot deeper than that. Many may feel fatness only creates the embarrassments of having an unpleasant physical appearance, as loss of the body's shape is the most visible. Fat can accumulate in all areas of the body surrounding and entwining itself to the muscles, the nerves and the organs (including the heart and lungs). The more excess fat one retains, the more of a burden their life-essential organs have to struggle with day in and day out.

Solving the Fat Problem
Every physical and psychological function requires energy. If we had no energy we simply could not exist. We obtain our energy from the foods we consume that also pertains to liquid calories like milk, juices, sodas, alcohol, coffees, etc.. We also receive a great deal of energy from the air we breathe, but for now let's just concentrate on foods, as we obviously do not get overweight from consuming air.

All forms of food, in any amount, supply various levels of energy. Food energy is calculated in measurements known as Calories. When we eat we supply our bodies with caloric sources of energy. We then release this energy by: 1) Moving; all physical activities, 2) Thinking; all psychological functions, and by, 3) Metabolism; the operational and recuperative functions of the body. Of these three, Moving, "physical activities", requires the greatest supply of energy to conduct its chores. Metabolism, on the other hand, burns plenty of calories after the body has been stimulated with intense activity relying on stored calories to fuel this reparation process. When we are inactive we do not release much energy, and certainly, our metabolisms enjoy vacation time as well.

"Thinking" is also an energy burner. Our minds require energy to operate, but those who are experiencing the effects of being overweight cannot merely rely on this source for ample caloric elimination. People who are depressed, angry, bitter, and easily agitated, burn a tremendous amount of energy. Most of the time you can see it in a persons face if they’ve been suffering from some sort of mental turmoil; their weight loss manifests itself by shrunken cheeks--among other areas. There are those however, who while imprisoned by these negative psychological thoughts try to combat, and/or alleviate, their negative emotions by gorging on pleasureful tasting [junk] foods. So even though they’re burning calories while they’re stressing-out, the amounts of foods they are forcing down their throats simply overloads their systems.

Metabolism
[We need to keep a clear understanding that food is fuel and fuel is energy in the form of calories. So whenever I’m talking about food, fuel, energy, or calories, they--basically--all mean the same].

Each of us have a specific rate of metabolism which converts food into energy for activity, the operational functions of life, and the repairing of damaged tissue. This conversion/reparation process is always operating whether we’re active or sedentary. The goal then of the athlete and fitness enthusiast is to periodically expend the effort to exercise then allocate ample time to recuperate. This cyclic process allows us to burn more calories both during exercise and metabolic periods. So those who believe the fat-burning, strength-building, health-promoting benefits of fitness are confined to the actual times they are exercising are in for a big surprise! The benefits of exercise extend well beyond cool downs as metabolism takes the baton and runs its operation of repair that is fueled by calories. In other words, we can lose fat while we’re doing nothing at all; that’s sensational!

Fat: Why do we accumulate so much?
The main reason why people get fat is due to the fact that their energy intake (food consumption) exceeds their energy release; levels of activity and rates of metabolism. So to eliminate body fat you can simply do one of two things, or both: 1) Lower your calories to meet the level of your daily activities, and/or, 2) Increase your activities to meet your caloric intake--it’s just that simple.

So here’s what I’m suggesting: Either you reduce your calories to the actual needs of your expenditures, no more, or you simply increase your activity to burn up more fuel. My first suggestion might be impractical; tradition has proved this since this is a form of caloric deprivation and not many are good [or successful] at that. My second suggestion ignores the calorie-depriving lifestyle however now you must get that butt into gear shaking it more often to burn the calories you’re consuming.

Are these suggestions practical? Regarding the first, most of you might be saying, "Not in this lifetime pal". But for my second, which doesn't force you to cut down on food, just up your activity, you might now be saying, "Yeah, that sounds like the plan for me!"

What Are My Choices
Inconvenience is a major reason why most people do not become involved in fitness. Their idea of a fitness regimen might only be associated with joining a health club or becoming a member on some team. If a facility or team organization is not conveniently or economically accessable, let your worries cease as there are numerous members of the physical fitness family which can be conducted in and around your home or office that are fun and rewarding. Never fear, I’ll come up with something; read on!

Walking
Let’s start with Walking. Walking is the easiest, safest, and most convenient activity. As a total body conditioner and fat eliminator, walking has developed a great reputation that is being pursued by millions. This form of exercise is available to everyone no matter which geographical location they live in as your neighborhood can be mapped into a number of courses.

While walking make sure you do so with dominance. Don't slouch your shoulders or drag your feet. Pump your arms and pivot at the waist. Hold your chest high and pull your shoulders back. Walk as if you’re in an airport and you're rushing to catch your flight--get the idea?

Start off with a comfortable pace. As time progresses so will your levels of fitness. As you get in better condition brisker paces and longer distances/times can be endured and you’ll noticed some of your excess bodyfat will be reducing

An effective walking program might start off by walking 10 minutes; 5 minutes away from your beginning point then 5 minutes to return. Every other walking session add 2 minutes onto your previous time until you are walking a maximum of 45 - 60 minutes. If you cannot endure a full hour of brisk walking, try "intervals". Start your walk at a normal pace (this will loosen and warm-up the muscles) then after 5 minutes have expired, really pour it on and walk as briskly as you can for 3-5 minutes. Repeat this interval until you have completed your scheduled time.

Jogging
Jogging is another great activity. This form of exercise is, in many ways, considered a super-fast walk or a slow run. Many enthusiasts preface their jogging with a walking program, then accelerate to jogging once they’ve conditioned themselves and feel confidant. Unlike walking, jogging requires more vigorous body actions and places much more shock [or impact] to the body.

Wear only the best of shoes and conduct your workouts on soft flat surfaces like grass, rubberized tracks, etc.. I discourage those from jogging who have any ailments to their mid-to-lower backs, hips, knees, ankles, and feet. If you want to take your chances, proceeding with caution, it’s a good idea to incorporate a walk-jog interval instead of trying to jog your entire workout time. This will reduce a lot of impact and stress to your body joints while completing the duration you need for optimum fitness.

Walk/jog intervals can be conducted like the casual/briskly paced walking intervals now starting with a walk for 5 minutes then graduating to a jog for any period of time you feel comfortable. Once you feel the slightest signs of stress, stop your jog down-shifting to a brisk walk. Stay with your brisk walk until you gather enough energy and confidence, then up-shift to a higher gear and jog away.

It’s freezing out there!
Inevitably, your walking or jogging course will be covered by rain or snow, or your thermostat is reading a temperature better suited for a polar bear, not humans. Additionally, you may arrive home late from work or school and feel it's too chancy to challenge the dark. For these reasons, and others of inconvenience, treadmills have become popular remedies. This at-home any-time piece of apparatus can prove to be a health-saver as your consistant patterns of activity will not have to be interupted while you’re waiting for the rain to stop.

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About The Author
JOHN ABDO is regarded world wide as an authority on life motivation, health, fitness and athletic conditioning. As a former Olympic trainer, John has trained numerous Olympic and World-Class athletes, including Bonnie Blair, multiple Gold Medal recipient. From 1985 to 1997, John Abdo produced and hosted his own weekly syndicated television series called Training & Nutrition 2000,......more
 
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Disclaimer: The information provided on HealthWorld Online is for educational purposes only and IS NOT intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.