May 21, 2010

Moving Through The Skinny Life: Movement University

Physical movement of the body can be the very motivation you need to move the other parts of your life into right order. As we learned last week, we often get into ruts because of our thought patterns. We can change these thought patterns, and we began first by rediscovering an activity that we once loved but had long since given up. Was beginning that activity difficult? Did you find yourself a little bit out of shape, but enjoying every moment of it?

When I first began jumping on my trampoline again, I could only jump for five minutes at a time before getting out of breath! The key to it, was knowing that I loved it regardless of the challenge ahead of me. So I continued, and in a matter of four weeks I was able to jump for thirty minutes. Today I wouldn’t miss my trampoline time for anything. It’s 45 minutes of exhilharating freedom, The very act of jumping on it not only gets my heart racing and my body toned, but makes me feel like I’m 15 again! We all need a good dose of that feeling!

Now that you have rediscovered your favorite childhood activity, this week we are going to dive into getting the best results possible, without being bored or tortured in our movement. You’ve probably already learned that there are two types of activity, but we’re going to touch base with them again and look at some fun examples of how to incorporate them into your life. It’s a race to the finish-are you ready?

  • Aerobic exercise is our first type of movement. Aerobic exercise is brisk physical activity that requires the heart and lungs to work harder to meet the body’s increased oxygen demand. Aerobic exercise does wonders for our body, including promoting the circulation of oxygen through our blood and strengthening our heart and lungs. This helps our bodies ward off heart and lung disease, cancer, and aneurysms. Aerobic exercise also makes everyday tasks easier for us, such as climbing the stairs, or working out a mathematical problem.

The first thing that comes to mind when we think of aerobic exercise is running. Running is a wonderful sport of physical endurance and pushing the limits of our bodies, but it isn’t for everyone. Do you find yourself longing to go outdoors and enjoy the sun? Hiking is an excellent aerobic activity for the admirer of nature.

Does the thought of zipping down a hill and feeling the wind in your face get your adrenaline pumping? Maybe you should try biking, which can be done at home on a stationary bike, in the city while site-seeing, in the mountains while taking in the beautiful views, or in the suburbs with friends and family. My assistant loved photography, and decided to combine her biking with her photography, challenging herself to a specific theme each day. To get the photographs she wanted, she had to take new routes and challenge her body every day-but she loved it.

Perhaps you feel at home in the water, or you live in a desert like I do. Swimming is both a relaxing past time, and one of the best ways to get in shape. Swimming uses muscle groups that we don’t otherwise use in our everyday life, and uses our own weight and the resistance in the water to tone us all over. Did I mention that it’s easy on joints, good for those with old injuries, and burns more calories than many other forms of movement?

The possibilities to get our lungs, heart, and blood flow going are endless, and a ton of fun!

  • Anaerobic exercise is the second type of movement we’ll talk about today. I like to think of anaerobic exercise as the essential key to efficient reflexes and physical responses. This is because anaerobic exercise is any activity in which the working muscles require and utilize oxygen at a faster rate than your body can supply it. Anaerobic exercise is short-term exercise lasting usually less than a minute before lactate and hydrogen ions bring muscle activity to a halt. Anaerobic exercise is essential to the functionality of our reflexes, the strength of our muscles, and the protection of our joints.

So what exactly is anaerobic exercise in simple terms? Anaerobic exercise includes sprinting, weight lifting, and interval training. If aerobic exercise is the practice of endurance, than anaerobic exercise is the practice of strength. This strength doesn’t just include how much we can lift, but rather how fast we can run, and how high we can jump.

If you’re that avid nature lover we talked about earlier, hiking is a great way to get your heart going (aerobic exercise), and rock climbing is a great way to strengthen your muscles, bones, joints, and flexibility. Being able to race down a hill on your bicycle requires your legs and but to be strong enough to propel you forward. I would suggest squats, leg presses, and pilates to strengthen, lengthen, and stretch your legs to their best working condition.

Are you a team player? Sports are the greatest form of social anaerobic exercise. Whether you’re a bowler, a basketball player, a tennis fanatic, or have the best spike on your volleyball team, they all give you the benefit of using your weight and your existing muscle strength to become even stronger. This is because you may have to sprint to the next base, but then you’ll get to rest for a moment; you’ll hammer the tennis ball for a point, but wait for the next serve; you’ll swing the bowling ball perfectly down the lane, but you’ll wait for your next turn. And nothing is more motivating than a team of friends or the cheers of an onlooking crowd to get you in shape!

Don’t have the time to join your favorite league? If you’re a road warrior like me, the best way to squeeze in your essential anaerobic movement, is to consciously choose to do it. When you’re sitting in your hotel watching the news while you wake up, touch your toes, stretch your arms, and jog in place. I carry resistance bands in my luggage, so that I can do light strength training and really stretch my hamstrings when I have a moment to myself. Challenge yourself to do as many pushups as possible during commercial breaks. It only takes a couple of fifteen minute sessions of movement to get your full 30 minutes that you need-and it’s effortless!

MOVING IN THE SKINNY LIFE:

Now think about what you started to do last week-your choice of movement aerobic or anaerobic? If you chose to ride your bike last week, then you were doing aerobic activity. This week I want to challenge you to continue doing that chosen activity for 3-4 thirty minute sessions (or however long you can do it continuously). Visualize what would be the best partner to the activity you already do, that can fill in for the type of exercise you aren’t getting.

So if you’re getting your aerobic activity by riding your bike, joining a martial arts club to get your anaerobic activity would be a great pairing that’s fun and challenging. Even just committing to do a twenty minute session of squats, leg lifts, and other great leg exercises and stretches would be a good balance. Schedule at least 2 thirty minute sessions of your new activity. Write it down, and make a commitment to yourself.

Why do we need to have both? Because endurance without the strength needed to do it will cause injury and eat away at your muscle fiber. Strength and flexibility will cause you to bulk up, but it won’t help you thin out the same rate. Aerobic and anaerobic movement are the partners that will help you best succeed at the Skinny Life!

I want you to celebrate the commitment you are making to your best health in your mind, body, and life as a whole! Congratulations on making it to week two-I’ll be posting some easy workout combinations, pictures, and videos to support you along the way. Don’t forget that if you have any questions to ask! I’m here for your greatest fitness success!

Cheers to your endurance and strength!

Crystal

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