There is no one else like you. You have hopes and dreams when it comes to your life and your health; your state of health affects your life. When things fall apart you have to remain faithful to you even when there seems to be a setback. It’s really a set up to do something greater. We’ve all had times when a bad diagnosis is made regarding a family member, friend or yourself and it sets you on a course of eating better and working out like never before, you have high hopes, no one starts something thinking it will fail. Don’t get discouraged when all of your efforts are not turning out the way you hoped and you feel stuck? Don’t worry your time is coming. Sometimes the path you’re taking is not going to take you where you want to go.
Although it’s hard to receive rejection when you have high hopes.
Wondering how this comes into play with regards to your working out and not losing weight?
Read the featured article to learn how some things we do work against us. To be joyful, happy, vibrant and loving who you are requires and understanding of how things work.
Are you an Exercise Addict?
When Exercise Becomes Too Much of a Good Thing and What to Do about it
Working up a good sweat on the exercise bike, running a 5K, or taking part in an aerobics boot camp can push your body to its physical limits. Those extreme workouts might give you an emotional high, some impressive arm and glut muscles, and a flatter tummy, but there’s that trite but true saying: “Too much of a good thing isn’t always good.” Pushing your body to the edge of endurance can do a body harm, especially when you get past a certain age.
Ok, sure, there are some pretty great things about a rigorous exercise routine. Increasing your heart rate is energizing and puts you in a good mood, not to mention you can burn off calories quick. You’ll look great in your pair of jeans and that low-cut slinky dress in time for your next big social event.
But, the fact is, all those benefits you’re busting a gut to attain, like losing weight, preventing disease, having a positive attitude, more energy, and better sleep, can start to fall away. In its place are the tell-tale signs of over-training: persistent headaches, sleeplessness, severe muscle soreness, diminished performance, and the production of free radicals.
The Exercise Paradox
Exercise done right does all kinds of wonderful things, but it can also produce free radicals. What are free radicals? They’re molecules containing oxygen that, instead of having paired-up electrons, have one or more unpaired molecules floating around. That oxygen molecule becomes highly reactive with other molecules. That’s when all hell can break loose.
Oxygen isn’t by nature a bad thing. We breathe it all day long. Oxygen is part of a chemical reaction that lets our cells produce the energy we need … a part of normal metabolism. Oxidation happens naturally in our body. But that chemical reaction also produces free radicals.
Free radicals are to some degree normal and necessary; they stimulate repairs in our body. But they can cause damage to our cells when there are too many of them. When that happens they overload our body’s ability to perform those repairs. Those unstable molecules can create more unstable molecules and cause more and more damage to our cells. Free radicals can overwhelm our body’s repair processes and the result is what’s called “oxidative stress.”
Oxidative Stress Invites Disease
Oxidative stress is an imbalance between our body’s production of free radicals and its ability to fight off the harmful effects of them. Oxidative stress leads to further damage within: to proteins, molecules, even our genes. Because our body can no longer fight off the free radicals, the damage spreads. Chronic oxidative stress can contribute to heart disease, atherosclerosis, cancer, dementia and a host of other diseases. Some research suggests oxidative stress can even accelerate the aging process.
On the front line of defense for oxidative stress are antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules that sound like what they do: they are anti-oxygenators. Some antioxidants are produced inside our body and some are consumed by diet and other sources. Antioxidants help to detoxify the free radicals that occur naturally in our body.
But external events can trigger more free radical production and make antioxidants’ job harder. Some of those external factors are pollution, smoking, eating unhealthy food, overexposure to ultraviolet rays … and – you guessed it – excessive exercise!
How Much is Too Much?
Keeping your exercise intensity in check isn’t the same for everyone, even those in the same age group. If you’ve been sedentary, haven’t exercised in 20 years and just decided to get off your butt and work out at the local gym, overdoing it for you isn’t the same for someone who’s been active most of their life. In other words, oxidative stress isn’t about how much you exercise, it’s about how much you exercise for your lifestyle and current ability level.
And if you’ve been a couch potato who has just turned to exercise, the difference between intense, moderate or light exercise is going to cause you about the same amount of oxidative stress damage. You’ll want to have brief sessions of strength training (about 20 minutes a day a couple times a week) to ease into the new routine and help tone your body.
The Link Between Nutrition and Fitness
Staying hydrated and eating the right food while you’re engaging in a fitness program is going to affect your stamina and health. Pay attention to which foods stabilize your blood sugar levels and avoid those that make you crash and burn.
Keep a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap the last 10 years or so. We need a fair amount of carbs as a primary source of energy, especially when exercising. Just make sure they come from healthy sources and are high in nutrients: fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals like whole grains (not refined), and fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid or at least sharply limit “bad” carbs like white bread, white rice, pasta, sweets, baked goods and sugary drinks.
Get enough – but not too much – protein … high-quality protein from a variety of animal and plant sources. After exercising is when your body will need it most, helping your muscles recover more quickly.
Limit saturated fats coming from animal sources and avoid trans fat completely (found in many store-bought baked and packaged goods, and margarine). Some examples of good fats are seeds, nuts, avocados, and fatty fish like salmon. Use coconut or olive oil as your cooking oils.
Ladies, if you’re exercising to lose weight (and most of us are), cutting most of the fat out of your diet isn’t going to help you shed pounds. In fact, it may add them. Our bodies don’t respond the same way they did when we were younger. If you’ve been exercising over a long period of time you may even find you have to exercise MORE just to maintain your weight. It helps to vary the types of exercises.
Also, if you’re participating in long-duration cardio, your body could go into survival mode. When that happens, you’re going to store fat as a reserve because you tricked your body into thinking you were experiencing a famine. Vary your exercise routine and don’t starve yourself.
Alternate with Interval Training
With interval training, you can alternate the duration of the intensity of your workouts. Your goal doesn’t have to be to sweat profusely and raise your heart rate just short of the danger zone. You don’t have to overwhelm your body with the constant pulse-pounding of running, jogging or aerobic exercise that makes you want to drop to your knees when you complete your cycle. You’re still getting an efficient workout in intervals and you’ll probably discover you have more endurance this way. So include low to moderate cardio or aerobic exercise. This could be walking, running, or dancing.
Strength (Resistance) Training for Muscle
If you’re walking, marching, doing light calisthenics, using machines or free weights, doing squats, or just touching your toes, you’re doing strength training. Strength training works all of the major muscles groups using combinations of dumbbells, adjustable ankle weights, and your own body weight. It offers a lot of other benefits for women over 40:
• Boosts muscle tone and strength
• Improves balance and flexibility, bone density, skeletal mass
• Protects against chronic disease
• Impacts heart disease
• Improves blood pressure
• Helps with cellular and neuron growth (to inhibit dementia in later years)
• Protects against arthritis, depression, and obesity
• Improves self-confidence, and vitality
• Improves sleep
Strike a Yoga Pose
For variety, assume a yoga pose for some low-impact stretching. Yoga helps increase your range of motion. Ongoing yoga is a natural way to age gracefully – in both mind and body. Yoga exercises the brain and your physical being. It’s a circuit between mind and body.
In any exercise routine, you can overdo it. Yoga is no different. Some like to kick it up a notch with hot yoga and challenging poses. You don’t have to master the Full Locust position (legs above your head) to reap the benefits of this ancient form of exercise and spiritual practice to improve healthy bones and flexibility, reduce stress, and take on a more positive attitude.
Plus, as a low-impact discipline, you’re less likely to get injured, pull a muscle, and be out of commission for weeks. You don’t want to be making trips to the doctor to get relief from a pinched nerve.
Yoga is a welcome form of exercise for everyone because you can get the benefits of exercise without the strain. You’re not adding weight to your body as you would in weight-lifting, but using your own body’s weight. And you’re not putting a strain on your heart as you would with running or jogging.
Reiki for Energy Flow
Another ancient healing practice, Reiki, works the flow of energy throughout your body in a more subtle way than exercise. It’s based on using the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Reiki, which means “universal life energy,” regulates your internal energy to reduce stress, relax and promote healing. It’s when our energy flow becomes blocked that we tend to get sick, feel weak, have pain, and experience stress.
A Reiki practitioner adjusts the energy centers (chakras) in your body without even placing a finger on you. And yet people come away from a Reiki session with relief from muscle tension, feeling calm and refreshed.
Reiki isn’t hocus pocus. It may be the most non-invasive therapy you’ve ever experienced, but it can speed healing, improve blood circulation, relieve muscle tension, and can even balance hormone levels caused by menopause. See what it does to cramps, migraines, hot flashes, see-saw emotions, and insomnia. It’s refreshing and has a calming effect. Think of Reiki as the Swiss Army knife of first aid, easing many types of aches and pains.
Easy Does it
The name of the game in workouts is quality versus quantity. Strength and endurance yes, but not for the purpose of making the finals of the Extreme Sports TV show Channel.
If you’re a member of the over-40 crowd, put your emphasis on flexibility, strengthening muscles, increased range of motion, and improving balance. These are exercises that promote a greater ability to perform the activities of daily living with greater ease and freedom from pain … and of course for looking buff!