Looking for the perfect (healthy) holiday gift? Or maybe something to treat yourself for staying on track with your weight loss goals? Check out our top 10 fitness products that are excellent for supporting your goals.
If you’ve been focusing on better health, you’ve likely been watching what you eat and perhaps being mindful of when you eat. But have you considered adding in more activity into your daily life? Getting your heart rate up and working your muscles are important components of maintaining your health, weight loss and physical fitness.
You might be wondering, “what’s the right type of exercise for me to try?” or “how long should I exercise?” While figuring out how to begin a new exercise routine may seem overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. As you get started, use this guide to learn about the five main types of exercise and how to safely incorporate physical activity into your day.
Remember to always consult your physician before starting a new exercise program.
The five types of exercise
When you think of the word “exercise,” what comes to mind? Exercises are physical activities that help to maintain or enhance your physical and general health.1 Rather than only relying on one or two types, try incorporating several into your routine to challenge yourself and support different areas of your health.
Aerobic exercises increase your breathing and heart rate.2 Aerobic activities, like jogging, have a regular pace, test your endurance, and use glucose (blood sugar) and fat for energy. This type of exercise may help to improve your endurance by giving your heart and lungs a workout.2
Aerobic exercise may offer you many benefits, including:3
Improving your mood
Increasing your ability to burn fat
It may also help lower blood sugar levels, reduce the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, breast and colon cancer, and depression.4
If you want to give it a try: Swimming, walking, cycling and dancing are all excellent ways to get your heart rate up.
Not to be confused with aerobic exercises, anaerobic exercises are quick and intense, involving short bursts of energy. Anaerobic activities only use glucose as fuel. During high intensity exercise, less oxygen is being delivered to your muscles, prompting your body to use blood sugar as an immediate energy source.5
Anaerobic exercise may:6
Increase your bone density and strength
Maintain your weight
Protect your joints
<br>If you want to give it a try: Sprinting, weight training and jumping rope are great anaerobic activities.
Strength training helps to build muscle, which naturally begins to weaken with age.7 By strengthening and maintaining your muscle health, it may be easier to accomplish regular tasks, like carrying groceries or pushing a lawnmower.
Strength training may help to:7
Improve your balance and posture
Reduce pain and stress in your lower back and joints
Help with controlling your weight
If you want to give it a try: You can try strength training exercises using barbells, dumbbells, gym equipment, or your own body weight.8 Examples of different exercises include curls, squats, lunges, and push-ups.
Balance exercises help to improve stability. Improved balance may help prevent falls and allows you to feel more secure on your feet.9 Maintaining good balance also enables you to stand, walk and go up and down stairs more easily.
Working on your balance can help you stay in tune with your body and even increase performance.10 Try these simple balancing exercises:
Standing on one foot for 10 seconds each
Walking heel-to-toe for 20 steps
If you want to give it a try: Other exercises that may improve your balance include tai chi and various types of yoga.
As you age, your muscles and tendons begin to lose their flexibility. Regularly stretching muscles helps keep them long and more flexible, which may help reduce the risk of injury and pain, and increase your range of motion.9 Stretching has many benefits, including reducing the risk of sore muscles after a workout and preventing muscle damage, strains, joint pain, and muscle cramps.9 The American Council on Exercise recommends stretching after a workout, when your muscles have already been warmed up.11
If you want to give it a try: Gentle yoga classes are a great way to improve your flexibility while improving your strength.
How to incorporate physical activity into your day
By gradually beginning to exercise, you’ll ease your body into doing more physical activity.
Start slowly and listen to your body. Begin introducing exercise slowly to reduce the risk of injury. Try going for a brisk walk, swimming, or a doing 10-minute workout at home to start. Most workout videos and classes offer modified routines to help you build up to a more intense level. The Centers for Disease Control recommend building up to “150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or an equivalent mix of the two each week.”12 It's important to listen to your body — so if something doesn't feel right, stop exercising and rest.
Find a fitness buddy. Working out with someone is a great way to connect with friends and meet new people. What’s more, a workout buddy will help hold you accountable. Trying a new class or type of workout with a friend can make it more enjoyable too!
Try different exercises. Experiment with different classes and types of exercises until you find something that you like. According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, you’re more likely to stick with a new workout routine when it doesn’t feel like a chore.13
Finding an exercise program that works for you is a great way to build healthy habits on your road to weight loss and better health.
If you’re ready to start focusing on your health with the right support to help you reach your goals, Jenny Craig can help. Contact us to set up your free appointment today.
Exercise is great for building muscle, but did you know it’s just as important for your bones? Your bones are made up of living tissue that grows and eventually weakens with age. In a weakened state, bones may be more prone to fracturing and can cause injuries that take time to recover. Often, the culprit is osteoporosis, a disease that affects bone strength. Research suggests you may be able to improve your bone density by participating in weight-bearing activities.1 Read on as we discuss the basics of osteoporosis, risk factors and five weight-bearing exercises you can incorporate into your daily routine to potentially reduce your risk.
As you get older, it’s not uncommon for your bones to weaken over time. In their 30s, young adults who regularly exercise are more likely to have achieved greater “peak bone mass,” or their maximum bone strength and density, than those who do not, according to the National Institutes of Health. Along with their age, family history and other risk factors, those who haven’t reached peak bone mass may be more at risk of developing osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is characterized by the body making too little bone or losing too much bone.1 In some cases, both may occur. When bones become less dense, they’re weaker and more likely to break. Under a microscope, healthy bones resemble a honeycomb. But as they deteriorate, weakened bones develop holes and gaps much larger than healthy ones.2 Women are more likely to develop osteoporosis compared to men since they tend to have smaller, thinner bones and experience bone loss due to a decline in estrogen when they reach menopause. 3,4
Aside from age, the National Osteoporosis Foundation reports several health conditions, including autoimmune, digestive, and blood disorders, may increase your risk of osteoporosis. Per the foundation, nearly 54 million Americans “have osteoporosis and low bone mass, placing them at an increased risk for osteoporosis.” The foundation estimates about one in two women and up to one in four men, age 50 and older, will break a bone due to this condition. Known as a “silent disease,” osteoporotic bone loss occurs without symptoms, so it’s important to get screened.5
It’s possible to treat and potentially prevent osteoporosis with increased nutrition, medications and exercise. One of the best types of exercises for osteoporosis are weight-bearing activities. To maintain strong bones, try incorporating these activities into your lifestyle.
What are weight-bearing activities?
Weight-bearing exercises force your body to work against gravity while staying upright. This type of movement is great for bone health, since it may help to build and maintain bone density.6 Bones, just like muscles, respond to exercise and can become stronger. When you apply force to your bones through exercise, your bone cells sense the impact and send signals to create more bone.7 Regular exercise may also help prevent future bone loss, especially in men and women over the age of 20.8 Wondering where to start? We’ve compiled five great weight-bearing activities below!
5 weight bearing exercises for osteoporosis
There are many different types of weight-bearing activities you can incorporate into your lifestyle to promote healthy, strong bones. High-impact exercises exert more force on bones, while low-impact exercises offer gentler alternatives for those who need to be more careful. If you’ve broken a bone due to osteoporosis, or are at risk of developing this disease, check with your healthcare provider before attempting any of these exercises.9
High-impact weight-bearing exercises
Want to improve your bone strength and enjoy the beauty of nature? Hiking could be the right weight-bearing activity for you. Trails are often rated easy to difficult, so you can choose one that corresponds to your fitness level. Hiking in an area that has elevation changes may do even more to improve bone strength. Inclines from downhill and uphill areas will increase the impact you exert on your bones, which in turn, may help increase bone density.1
For a lively and fun activity, dancing is the perfect fit. Not only is dancing a great way to work up a sweat, but it’s also an excellent exercise for improving cardiovascular health and potentially strengthening your bones.11 Grab your dancing shoes and check out a local class with your fitness buddy!
Jogging and running are tried-and-true weight-bearing activities that you can incorporate into your lifestyle, depending on your level of physical fitness. However, if you suffer from injuries, especially knee problems, that may be worsened by high-impact exercise, consult with a physician before starting a fitness program. For a lower-impact version, try an elliptical machine at your local gym.
Low-impact weight-bearing exercises
4. Brisk Walking
Walking is a great low-impact alternative to running. It may seem like a simple exercise, but regular brisk walks offer a tremendous amount of health benefits. In one study, brisk walking was shown to reduce post-menopausal women’s risk of hip fractures by 40 percent!12 One of the best parts about walking is it can be done anywhere, whether it’s around your neighborhood, at work, down by the beach, or at the gym.
Try yoga for a boost in your bone health while increasing your flexibility, balance and strength. Yoga’s many poses may help to strengthen the bones in different areas prone to fracture, including the hips and spine.13 If you’re new to yoga, don’t worry! Your practice can be easily tailored to your fitness level, and there’s a variety of styles to choose from.
Weight-bearing exercises are great activities to incorporate into your day, and they may even help boost your bone health! Want even more? Check out these exercises that may improve your mood and complement your weight loss efforts.
If you’re looking to create some new healthy habits to feel better, Jenny Craig can help. Contact us to book a free appointment and speak with a personal consultant today.
While adjusting your diet is a critical part of your weight loss journey, physical activity can be a great way to boost your weight loss efforts—and help maintain your progress. One of the simplest ways to stay active is to take a daily walk; not only is it safe and effective, but it’s also convenient—and free!
In addition to weight loss, walking offers other benefits:
It boosts your mood. Walking is a light form of exercise that can improve your mood and reduce anxiety, research shows.1
It strengthens your bones. As we age, we become more prone to osteoporosis, a condition that involves bone loss. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation,2 this is especially true for women. As a low-impact, weight-bearing exercise, walking helps to keep bones healthy by slowing age-related declines in bone density.3
It helps curb cravings. Studies show that a walk as short as 15 minutes can reduce cravings, such as chocolate.4
It cranks up your immune system. Research5 found that people who took a 20-minute walk five days or more per week had 43 percent fewer sick days than those who walked one day a week or less. What’s more, if the frequent walkers did get sick, they had milder symptoms and their illnesses didn’t last as long.
Ready to start moving? Use these 12 tips to start a walking routine that can help support your weight loss journey!
Tip #1: Make Walking a Part of Your Daily Routine
One of the easiest ways to walk more is to make it a daily habit. Start off by setting specific days and times when you will walk. If you are new to exercise, avoid less-realistic goals, such as walking twice a day. Unrealistic goals are more likely to deflate your spirit than challenge you to push ahead, so set attainable and measurable goals that can help you stay motivated.
Use these ideas to make walking a daily habit:
Take a 30-minute walk before or after dinner each evening.
Walk a few laps around the neighborhood after you drop the kids at school.
Take a lunchtime walk a few times a week.
Treat yourself to a gentle hike over the weekend.
Experiment with the days, times and routes that work best for your fitness level and schedule. Walking should be an enjoyable activity that motivates you to continue.
Tip #2: Find a Walking Buddy
Have your spouse, co-worker or neighbor (or your dog!) join you for a regular walking date, and you’ll kill two birds with one stone. After all, what’s better than spending time with a friend while staying on track with your fitness goals? You’ll also get the following benefits of a fitness buddy:
Accountability: With a partner, you no longer walk just for yourself. You show up on the right day and time to be there for your walking partner.
Enjoyment: Walking alone lets you process your thoughts, which is great. However, walking with a partner is not only fun—it gives you the opportunity to catch up and discuss what’s going on in your lives. Chances are the walk will go by faster than you expected and make it even easier to meet up the next time.
More miles: You may log more miles when walking with a friend. You may get so engrossed in conversation that you find yourself walking farther—and perhaps even faster—than expected.
Tip #3: Short Walks Are Better Than Nothing
Strapped for time? That’s okay. Life gets busy and overwhelming. It’s important to know that even a few minutes of activity is better than nothing. For instance, just 10 minutes of walking per day brings health benefits, research6 shows. And a new study found that 10 minutes of physical activity can also boost your mood.7
So when you’re rushing through errands and driving to the next item on your list, try taking a moment for you. Explore a new neighborhood or park for a few minutes, or park farther away so you can work in some extra steps. If you’re squeezing in a walk at work, try a walking meeting; chances are the change of scenery—in addition to the exercise—will do you and your co-worker good.
Tip #4: Find Your ‘Why’
Everyone has a reason why they want to start living a healthier lifestyle and lose weight—what’s yours? Take some time to think about the real reasons that have motivated you to adopt healthier habits—perhaps grab a pen and write them down. Here are a few idea starters:
To have the energy you need to tackle your day.
To ensure you’ll be able to keep up with your kids or grandkids for years to come.
To be a role model for your children.
To be healthier overall or relieve health issues due to excess weight.
When you are feeling a bit weary or unsure if you want to lace up those sneakers, remember your ‘Why.’ To get more inspiration, check out these motivation tips.
Tip #5: Get Good Walking Shoes
You will be even more motivated to go walking if you have shoes that are comfortable and fit correctly; properly fitted shoes can also help prevent pain and injuries. If you suffer from back, hip or knee pain, it might be worth going to a specialty shoe store to have your step assessed and get recommendations for what shoes are best for you. Keep in mind that you’ll need to replace your walking shoes periodically.
Tip #6: Set the Pace With Music
On days when you’re not feeling motivated to walk at a brisk pace, help set the mood with the right playlist. Put together a list of songs that motivate you to move and keep you going when you need a little inspiration.
Tip #7: Plan for the Weather
Get in the habit of checking the weather forecast regularly and planning your attire and walking schedule accordingly. Here are a few tips:
Get the right layers, such as activewear sweatshirts and beanies, to keep you warm in cold weather.
For hot days, plan to walk earlier or later in the day.
Try to walk during the day in the winter months to take advantage of the sun’s warmth.
If you live in an area where it’s not possible to walk outside for much of the year, consider joining a gym and using the treadmill there; or try walking at a local mall.
Tip #8: Up the Pace
Walking faster means more calories burned. So the next time you’re out on a walk, see if you can increase your pace. If you have trouble keeping a brisk pace for the entire walk, try varying your speed for a specified amount of time; or use markers such as streetlights or mailboxes. With time, you’ll build up your stamina and be able to maintain a faster pace for longer.
Tip #9: Vary Your Walking Routes
It’s important to change up your walking route. Here’s why:
Going on the same walk every day can lead to boredom, which, in turn, can lead to less motivation to walk.
Different types of terrain keep your body challenged. Walking hills is a lot more rigorous than a flat path.
Walking can become a tool for expanding your horizons and seeing new places. Make your walks a means of exploring areas you might not usually visit.
Tip #10: Take the Stairs!
Many of us have heard it before: Instead of the elevator, take the stairs. It sounds simple, but this one tactic can add up to more steps per day and can support your weight loss efforts.
Try these other tips to help increase your steps per day:
Add walking into activities with friends and family. Rather than going to a movie, suggest a walk!
Choose public transportation when possible. If you arrive somewhere by bus or train, the block or two to get to your destination adds up to more exercise.
Tip #11: Monitor Your Walks
Many of us are motivated by results. To keep yourself accountable, try keeping track of your walking routes, your distance and how you’re feeling. Whether you write it down daily or use your smartphone or wearable fitness device to track your steps, it’s easier to stay motivated when you can track your progress. After a few weeks, look back to your first walks. Do you notice any changes? Perhaps you can walk longer, more often or don’t feel as tired after your walks.
Tracking your walks is especially helpful if you sit a lot at your day job and are seeking ways to increase your daily steps. In fact, sitting all day is one of the surprising things that can cause weight gain.
Tip #12: Use Walking as a Tool to De-Stress
Remember: Walking is not just for physical fitness. It also helps improve your mood and is a great way to reduce stress. Before you begin a walk, take a moment to notice how you are feeling. Then, after going on your walk, pause and reflect again. Process your current mood. Are you feeling different after your walk? How do your heart rate and breathing compare?
In the bustle of a busy schedule, it’s easy to forget to process how we are feeling in the moment and what truly affects us in daily life. By increasing our awareness, it may be easier to pinpoint our stress—and reap the health benefits of doing so.
We hope these tips help you enjoy one of the easiest, safest and most convenient ways to support your weight loss journey and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Ready start a weight loss program that is safe, convenient and delicious? Learn how Jenny Craig can help you reach your goals. Book a free appointment to get started today!