It is true that any time you move your body, essentially you’re exercising. BUT, there’s that big but again, there are ways to move your body that burn many more calories than others.
There are also exercises that keep your metabolic rate up, long after the exercise is over. It’s kind of like stoking up your fat-burning furnace.
However, even though you’re trying to maximize your efforts, don’t discount all the little ways you can burn extra calories during any normal day. For a ton of these types of easy exercise tips and ideas, click here.
Exercise Tip #1: First Things First
Exercise Tip #2 – Every Step Counts
Buy a pedometer. Period. It’s the only way to really know exactly how much you walk in a day. Walking is an excellent way to burn fat. It also tones the lower body. With a pedometer, you can start out at a reasonable distance, and work your way up.
One way to increase steps in your daily routine is to park on the far side of the lot at work or at the store. But ladies, use common sense and be careful. Don’t do it at night or in any area where you just don’t feel safe.
Plus, always take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk instead of drive to get your lunch. Be creative and use your pedometer to keep track of your progress.
Exercise Tip #3: Rev It Up
To burn fat faster, strength train. Whether it’s training with weights, resistance bands, gallon jugs of milk, or your own body weight and gravity (push-ups, pull-ups, etc.); do exercises that build lean muscle.
When pushing or pulling against resistance, the muscles contract. The muscle cells adapt to the extra work by enlarging. This is called hypertrophy. Plus, a greater number of nerve cells are called upon to aid in the muscle contraction.
The simple explanation for why your metabolic rate increases goes like this…
When you’re strength training, the exercises cause the muscles to contract. Then, almost immediately, your body goes to work rebuilding and repairing the muscle. While your body is repairing, your metabolic rate increases. When your metabolism is up, you burn more calories.
So, even though 20 minutes of aerobics may burn more calories than 20 minutes of weight training, the weight training will keep your metabolic rate up for hours after the workout.
Which means your fat-burning furnace keeps cooking, possibly even while you sleep! (If you work out after work.)
The most important thing to remember when you first start a strength training program is:
When you first begin, it’s easy to over-do it. Take it slow and easy, at first. Give your muscles a chance to adapt.
Besides increasing metabolism, strength training tones and firms your body, and it makes you stronger. (Duh. I know that’s obvious, but I had to say it.) Plus, over time, it can make your muscles larger.
For more information on strength training, including exercises, click here.
Exercise Tip #4: Have A Heart
Well, you may have guessed that just walking and strength training 20 minutes a day is not enough. To be truly healthy and live long, you need to get your heart pumping.
That means you need aerobic exercise, too. It doesn’t have to be one of those regimented step-aerobics classes or anything like that. Any exercise that will increase your heart rate and keep it up for a while is aerobic exercise.
Jogging, swimming, and machines like the stair climber, elliptical trainer, or treadmill are all ways to get your heart rate up.
Plus, you don’t have to join a gym. There are great machines you can get that will give you an “at the gym” style workout at home.
But, when the weather is good, there are lots of really fun ways to get aerobic exercise. Rowing, kayaking, swimming in a mountain lake, hiking in the hills, or running on the beach are all tons more fun than staring at the wall while running on a treadmill.
If you’re not a gym person, you can workout at home. There are tons of videos and DVD’savailable in every category, from the basic step aerobics to the kick-butt Tae Bo.
One of the best exercise tips I could ever give you regarding aerobics is, whenever you can, mix it up. It keeps fitness fun.
Plus, when you mix it up, you keep your body guessing. What I mean is, if you do the same exercises all the time, your body will adapt and you’ll hit a plateau.
If you mix it up, your body won’t adapt as quickly or easily, avoiding the dreaded plateau.