Posts Tagged ‘walking’

Fitness Falsehoods

January 28, 2015

 

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You are almost one month into the new year. So, how are those resolutions coming?

Yeah, it’s been cold. Yeah, it snowed. We all need carbs to survive a natural disaster, right? (I know I do!)

Sometimes we talk ourselves into believing that things are going better than they really are. Here are a few of the fitness falsehoods that people use to justify how things really are.

Some of my favorites:

“I weigh more because muscle weighs more than fat.” Ah, sorry, but a pound of muscle weighs a pound and a pound of fat weighs…you guessed it, a pound. You can’t convert fat into muscle. It’s simply not possible. It’s like turning water into wine. You can, however, burn off fat and replace that space with muscle. You need a healthy diet and training program to do that.

“I can’t lift heavy weights or put too much resistance on my bike or I’ll bulk up.” Oh, if it was that easy! Most women generally don’t have enough testosterone to build gigantic muscles on their own. It takes a lot of heavy lifting to build any muscle. Tossing around those 2 pounders aren’t doing much for you, and using cardio equiptment with out any resistance isn’t going to get you results either. I bet your purse weighs more than those little dumbells you are curling with. If you want the rewards, do the work.

“I’ve been walking and I’m not seeing results.” Chances are, you aren’t walking fast enough to make a difference. Slow walking, or using cardio equiptment without speed and resisistance doesn’t burn enough calories to offset your latte. Assuming you are healthy, you need to ramp it up to see results.

“Lots of crunches will give me flat abs.” Lots of crunches, and other (better) abs exercises will build abdonminal muscles, but if they are hidden under a layer (or 2) of fat, you won’t see them. There is an old saying that 80% of great abs are made in the kitchen and 20% in the gym. Sadly, it’s true. Revamp your diet, and reap the benefits.

“This week is a bust. I’ll start my diet on Monday.” We’ve all been there. But why wait until Monday? You are just one meal away from getting back on track. Which do you want more? To have a six pack, or to consume one? Make a choice and move on.

Vintage photo: Glasshouse Images

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Can You Exercise and Still Gain Weight? SPOILER: YUP!

November 19, 2014

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Did the New York Times act responsably when they wrote about a recent study of weight management and exercise?
The article, entitled “Exercising but Gaining Weight,” takes a look at research conducted at Arizona State University, following 81 healthy, but sedentary women who were overweight.

The women participated in a supervised exercise program where they walked on a treadmill 3 times a week for 30 minutes, at a pace that represented 80% of their maximum endurance.

They were told not to alter their diet or eating habits during the 12 week study. At the end of the study, all of the women had significantly increased their aerobic fitness, but many had also gained weight attributed to fat, not added muscle.

Are you shocked? I certainly am not. The average 150 pound person would burn about 142 calories walking briskly for 30 minutes.A 200 pound person might burn about 172 calories in the same time. Do the math, and at best, these people would have lost between 1.4 and 1.7 pounds over the 12 week period. That’s it. Less than 2 pounds!

I would venture to guess that the increase in activity led them to be a little hungrier, and maybe a little more tired, causing them to eat a bit more and move a bit less throughout the day. It’s no surprise to me, that these people gained weight.

I see woman at the gym struggle through a cycling class, only to spend the next hour or two at the juice bar, replacing practically every calorie they burned with carbs. Exercise isn’t a magic pill. Slow, consistent cardio doesn’t burn much fat. To see results, it takes a combination of strength training and cardio with intervals to spike your heart rate.
What you put into your body is of even greater importance. Moving more and eating more, especially more of the wrong foods, is going to cause weight gain. It’s that simple.

A congratulatory post workout snack at Starbucks would run about 600 calories for a tall Pumpkin Spice Latte and a muffin. Try that three times a week and see where that gets you.

I calculate a 6 pound weight gain from that alone!

It doesn’t take a degree, or an elaborate study to come to these conclusions.

Did the Times do a disservice to it’s less fitness conscious readers by printing this study? Does it send a message that exercise isn’t going to help you lose weight so you shouldn’t bother?

While I am sure people are using this study to validate their sedentary existence, I am not going to give up my gym membership just yet.

Read the article in it’s entirety here:

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Walking Papers

July 17, 2014

 

8034100025This summer, New York City will host 53 million tourists. While we love the international flare and the added income it brings to our fair city, we frankly hate the crowds who seem unable to keep up with the flow.

You know who you are. The groups of people, strolling along idly, side by side on the street, three or more abreast making it almost impossible to get past you. And we need to get past you. Please walk in clusters of no more than two, stick to the right side, and even better, keep up with the flow.

It’s called a sidewalk, not a stand there and gawk walk. If you wish to stop and look up at our lovely skyline, please step aside to do so. Same story with texting, photo ops and general rubber necking. We need to get past you.

1806700078As hard as it is to believe, we have places to go, people to see and things to do. This is why we need to get past you. While Chelsea Market is an amazing place, with all of it’s remarkable food shops and cool interior, some of us go there to buy our food. Step away from the produce, and let us shop. I mean, haven’t you seen arugula before? Ditto, fresh fish and other day to day delicacies that constitute our dinner. Feel free to act like a tourist in Times Square, Macy’s, and South Street Seaport. But when you are on our turf, try to act like a local, or at least be considerate of us.

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It’s proper to let  people off the train before boarding. If the train is crowded, please take your backpacks off and move your gigantic pieces of luggage out of our way so we can get on and off. Try not to block the doors so we don’t miss our stop climbing over your stuff, or worse yet, break a toe trying to navigate our way around it.

Walking is a frequently used mode of transportation for us locals. Think of walking, the way you would driving. Imagine the chaos if you and your friends all drove very, very slowly in a pack during rush hour, making it difficult to get around you. And what if you all just stopped suddenly to look at the sunset with out any warning to those behind you? Are you starting to get the picture?

And about getting the picture: Selfies, seriously? Here in the middle of the street? Now?

I think you get my drift. Enjoy your visit to the Big Apple!

 

*This has been a public service announcement from indigo jones. Thank you.

photos: Glasshouse Images

What Would a Caveman(or Woman) Do?

October 23, 2013

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Back in prehistoric times, cave people were incredibly fit. They didn’t diet, and they didn’t workout. There was no gym, no Soul Cycle and no Crossfit to join.They didn’t count calories, and had no trendy food related ailments or phobias.

While the Paleo diet, based on how our ancestors ate in Paleolithic times has certainly become a craze, there is something to be said for eating and behaving like our forefolks did.

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Cavemen and women travelled everywhere by foot. They didn’t have cars, or subways, or even bicycles. Everywhere they went, they walked. Often, that journey was several miles per day. If a saber tooth tiger was chasing them, they ran: fast!  Reconsider your transportation choices and try walking where possible.

They hunted and gathered their own food, and never, ever called for take-out.     Procuring food was very physical, and preparing it was also a task. Think about the energy needed pick berries, hunt and skin animals and even the act of rubbing sticks together to create fire. While we don’t really expect anyone to be hunting and fishing in urban areas, the act of preparing your own food increases your activity level, and provides you the opportunity to prepare cleaner, healthier meals.

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Our prehistoric pals ate a diet rich in fish, meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts and berries. Fast food, sweet treats and refined carbs didn’t exist. Clean eating was a way of life.  If you aren’t ready to go Paleo, consider giving up things that come in packages and eat only fresh foods.

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Neanderthals had overdeveloped right arms, originally thought to be a result of carrying heavy spears. Recent findings from archeologists in Cambridge debunked this theory, citing the many hours spent scraping animal skins to make clothing as the reason for this discrepancy. What repetitive motion based chores do you do that require a little muscle?

Many of our health woes have emerged due to the conveniences of modern living. Before you jump in the car and drive to the fast food restaurant, ask yourself “ What would a cave man do?” The answer just might be the secret to good health.

photos: Glasshouse Images

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Long Live

January 4, 2012

New Yorkers are living longer than ever, and on average, their life expectancy is 2 years longer than the rest of the country. According to the Annual Summary of Vital Statistics, New Yorker’s have reached an all time high with a life expectancy rate of 80.6 years!

What contributes to our increased longevity?

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made our health a priority, by declaring bars, restaurants and even public parks smoke free, and offers free nicotine patches to residents who want to kick the habit.

He has initiated heart disease and cancer prevention programs, as well as expanded the HIV testing and AIDS treatment programs, resulting in a mortality rate decrease of 11.3% since 2009.

He has made it mandatory for restaurants to make calorie information available to patrons, and was the first in the country to initiate a trans-fat ban.

While all of these things are helpful, our activity levels might be the major factor.

Most New York City dwellers don’t have cars, and opt for public transportation, and in many cases walk to their destinations.  Not only is this increased activity a plus, but our pace is often quicker than those living elsewhere.
Many other states have followed suit and instituted their own smoking and calorie rules, but very few cities have residents that walk as much as we do.

Why not take a cue from New York and consider walking to destinations within a mile of home? It will definitely help you get in shape, and could prolong your life in the process!

photo: Glasshouse Images


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