What is more important: Calorie intake or physical activity?
In a study published in The American Journal of Medicine researchers found that sedentary lifestyle and not caloric intake may be to blame for increased obesity in the US. The cause reveals that in the past 20 years there has been a sharp decrease in physical exercise and an increase in average body mass index (BMI), while caloric intake has remained steady. Investigators theorized that a nationwide drop in leisure-time physical activity, especially among young women, may be responsible for the upward trend in obesity rates.
Researchers from Stanford University discovered that the number of US adult women who reported no physical activity jumped from 19.1% in 1994 to 51.7% in 2010. For men, the number increased from 11.4% in 1994 to 43.5% in 2010. During that period, average BMI has increased across the board, with the most dramatic rise found among young women ages 18-39. Even more alarming is that the data showed that average waist circumference increased by 0.37% per year for women and 0.27% per year for men. Just like the rise in average BMI's, the group most affected by increased rates of abdominal obesity was women.
It was also noted that these changes have occurred by substantial increases in adults reporting no leisure-time physical activity with the absence of any significant changes in average daily caloric intake.
While increased caloric intake is often blamed for rising rates of obesity, no association between these was found in this study. However, in contrast, an association was found between the trends over time for lack of physical activity and high BMI numbers.
So how much physical activity should you be getting?
Although there are many different thoughts on this, what I can say from my 18+ years of experience is 3 days of resistance training and 2 days of cardiovascular training does the trick. I haven’t performed a long term clinical study on this however, what I can tell you is that over the last 18 years of my career all of my clients who have followed this advice can attest to their results. It works!
Give this workout a shot for the next few weeks and watch that waist line and BMI decrease!
Perform these six resistance exercises in the following order, resting 30 to 45 seconds between each. Depending on your fitness level, try to perform 3 to 4 sets / three times per week.
Warm-up with Jumping Jacks or Jump Rope 3-5 min
1) Push-ups (use knees or bench if you have trouble) 10 – 15 x
2) Bent-Over Dumbbell Rows 10-15x
3) Dumbbell Squat to Overhead Press 10-15x
4) Bicep Curls 10-15x
5) Floor or Stability Ball Planks 30 - 60 second hold
6) Russian Twist (with med ball for more advanced) 15x each side
For cardio vascular training try alternating theses methods two times per week. Choose any type of activity that you like.
1) Interval Training: Try to do a 30-60 second quick burst followed by a 30-60 second recovery period. Repeat for 20 minutes then do a 5 to 10 minute stead pace to cool down.
2) Slow Long Distance: keep a moderate pace for 30 minutes.
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