Christian Living


Top Ten Exercise Errors

Trainer Maryellen Jordan, owner of Positively Fit, makes the following observations regarding general oversights women over the age of thirty-five make in regard to exercising and training most efficiently.

1. Not making exercise a top priority. Women commonly forfeit budgeting in time for regular exercise and/or they do not exercise enough. Adult females should do a minimum of two days of full body weight training per week as well as incorporating three 20-minute aerobic workouts every week.

2. Doing excessive aerobic exercise. Too much aerobic exercise releases the fat-producing hormone cortisol that actually increases body fat and reduces lean mass. Extreme aerobics also limits the release of growth hormone so necessary in preventing bone loss and protecting muscle.

3. Neglecting to include weight lifting as a key part of overall training. Lean mass (muscle, ligaments, tendons, and bone) begins to wane in women over 35 and affects a person's metabolic rate. Weight training is essential to maintain and build lean mass. A woman who has more lean mass burns more calories.

4. For women who do include weightlifting, the intensity is often too low. For fear of getting too "bulky" or masculine in appearance, women do not lift at the level of intensity that will provide optimal results: a well-defined lean muscular body, covered with a thin layer of body fat.

5. Disregarding the need for a full body assessment prior to beginning a workout program. Each individual has specific and unique abilities and limitations that must be factored in to design the ideal and most effective workout plan.

6. Workouts limited to machines alone. Since the brain does not work in terms of isolating muscles for movement, machines alone cannot achieve maximum health benefits. The body does better with free weights, stability balls, medicine balls, and cables since these allow the joints to move more naturally and do not put undo arthritic stress that long-term machine use can sometimes precipitate.

7. Not factoring in the importance of eating properly before/after training. To achieve the fullest and most positive results from a workout, women should consume 16 ounces of water and a small portion of protein one hour prior to working out. After, women should then eat a piece of fruit within one-half hour of working out and another portion of protein within one-hour post-exercising.

8. Forgetting to stretch. Regular stretching restores flexibility and makes a woman less prone to injury. Stretching also promotes increased circulation to legs, arms, hips, and back.

9. Exercising to spot reduce. There is no such animal as "spot reducing," no matter what the magazines say.

10. Doing crunches on the floor. To exercise the abdominal muscles to their fullest (and for greatest results), fewer repetitions with greater resistance (higher intensity) are key. Floor crunches put undue stress on the spinal cord and only trains the upper abdominal muscles. This group of muscles requires a number of exercises to improve both function and strength.

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