The Importance of Improved Fitness Levels

Fitness is a term describing the body’s ability to utilize oxygen relative to a person’s body size and composition. Fitness levels are affected by the body’s cardiorespiratory (heart and lungs) system, the musculoskeletal (muscles and bones) system and also by our psychological drive. Low fitness levels can be associated with a malfunction in one or more of these systems.

Low fitness levels are associated with cardiovascular disease (one of the main causes of health issues), including high blood pressure, high heart rate and a high body max index (BMI).  

Recent research identifies that there is a strong relationship between increased fitness levels and decreased risk of long term cardiovascular disease and mortality. Improved fitness levels decrease cardiovascular risk factors, improve immune function, decrease musculoskeletal injuries, improve nervous system function and decreases the risk of Type II diabetes. Improved fitness levels are also associated with many psychological benefits including; improved confidence and self-esteem, decreased risk of anxiety and depression, improved cognitive function, memory and brain function.   

So how do I improve my fitness? Through physical activity! Currently, the guidelines for physical activity from the Department of Health in Australia state the following;
- Be active on most, preferably all, days every week.
- Accumulate 2 ½ to 5 hours of moderate intensity physical activity or 1 ¼ to 2 ½ hours of vigorous intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous activities, each week.
- Do muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week.


You can do this via any means! Find a type of exercise that you enjoy such as swimming, riding a bike, going to the gym or jogging. To help motivate you, grab a friend or acquire a health professional to help guide you in the right direction.

If you have any more questions or are interested in a program to improve your fitness levels, please contact us via our contact page.

Happy training and stay healthy,

Kate


Health Benefits of Resistance Training

Today's blog will go into further detail about the benefits of incorporating resistance training into an exercise regime. 

Resistance training is not just for high performing athletes, but a crucial component of training for everyone that has many health benefits. This blog post will focus on the benefits resistance training has on maintaining healthy muscle mass, bone mineral density and the positive effects on the prevention of Type 2 diabetes.

Resistance training can be incorporated into training programs for adults of all ages. Studies have found that adults who do not perform resistance training lose up to 2.5kgs of muscle every decade before the age of 50 and up to 5kgs of muscle every decade after the age of 50. Research has shown that muscle mass can increase in adults of all ages, including those in their 90's (so there's no excuse not to start training now)! These studies that examined over 1600 people found that after completing resistance training 2–3 times per week, there was a significant increase in lean muscle mass after just 10 weeks of training. Resistance training can also decrease one's body fat percentage and is effective in reducing intra-abdominal fat (fat between and around the organs).    

Those who do not engage in resistance training may experience a 1–3% reduction in bone mineral density per year, increasing susceptibility of fractures and early onset of osteoporosis. Evidence supports the significant increase in bone mineral density from the inclusion of progressive resistance training. Bone mineral density can increase by 1-3% for all the population, including post-menopausal women. It is important to maintain resistance training as the benefit of improved bone mineral density can be reversed if the resistance training is ceased.   

Today Type 2 diabetes effects a staggering one in three adults. Muscle loss and fat increases are major factors which increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Resistance training has displayed significant improvements in insulin sensitivity and glycemic control, which in turn can help prevent Type 2 diabetes in adults.   

As with all new exercise programs, it is recommended to have a program tailored to your specific goals and fitness levels, which is monitored by a health care professional.

For any further information or questions about resistance training, please contact us. Stayed tuned for an upcoming blog on the benefits of aerobic exercise!

Happy training and stay healthy!

Kate 

Strength Training and Weight Loss

Over time I have heard so many myths about strength work in females, many of which stem simply from miseducation. The benefits associated with strength work are numerous, some of which include:

- Preventing bone loss and improvement in bone density
- Improvements in mood, anxiety and confidence for physical activity
- Improved stress management and decreased symptoms of clinical depression
- Reduction in heart disease risk factors (eg. reduced waist circumference, decrease in blood pressure and glucose levels)
-  Improvements in balance and co-ordination which can assist in activities during daily living
- Weight loss

Over the coming months, I will publish a series of blogs, each focusing on a different component of the benefits of strength work. Today’s blog will focus on the weight loss benefits from incorporating strength training within your exercise routine. All of the following information is evidence based and scientifically researched.

What is strength training?  Put simply, strength training is a form of exercise where you use your body to push against different forms of resistance, such as resistance machines, free weights and body weight. Generally, a good strength training program will consist of 3 – 5 sets of 3 -10 repetitions of a heavy weight.  The exact number of sets and repetitions will depend on your fitness levels, experience and goals.

The latest evidence has shown that inactive adults experience anywhere from 3-8% of muscle loss every 10 years. This correlates with a reduced resting metabolic rate (the amount of energy used by the body) and increased fat accumulation around the body.

One study showed that after a 10-week strength training program, resting metabolic rate increased on average by 7%. This increased resting metabolic rate of course means that you can burn more energy at rest. Strength training produces this change because muscle has a high rate of metabolism. The more you train your muscles through strength training, the greater the changes in your metabolism. By incorporating strength training into a program, this can result in a higher resting metabolic rate which in turn contributes to weight loss.

A separate study also displayed that strength work also assists in preventing weight gain, especially in visceral fat (around the abdominals and internal organs) and fat around the thighs.

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For optimal results from a strength training program, it is recommended to complete strength work in conjunction with aerobic exercise and healthy eating. Ensuring that you use correct technique and weights when commencing a strength training program is vital to prevent the risk of injury. Therefore, it is recommended to commence a strength program with professional guidance.

Over the coming months I'll be releasing more blogs regarding other benefits from strength training, so if you've found today's blog interesting, please check back! If you have any questions, please feel free to get in contact.

Happy training and stay healthy!
Kate