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8295214_XXLMorning, midday or midnight — when’s the best time to work out?

Well, that depends on when’s the best time for you.

“The best time of the day is when you will do it most consistently, because the benefits of physical activity are tightly linked to the amount you do on a consistent basis,” said Russell Pate, Ph.D., professor of exercise science in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

Your best time is based on a “constellation” of factors:

  • location,
  • time of day,
  • type of physical activity and
  • social setting, among others.

“It’s not just what time, but what activity, with whom and where,” said Pate, who is also an American Heart Association volunteer. “This mix of factors for people come together to result in being consistent.”

Everybody’s Different

“Different people will have different preferences and predispositions with regard to how they respond to exercise at different times of the day,” Pate said.

For example, if you’re much more likely to work out consistently with a partner, “then you’re better off to opt for a social part regardless of the time of day,” Pate said. “On the other hand, some people like the solitude, the chance to get away.”

You might have heard that the best time to work out is early in the morning — to get your metabolism revving or to avoid unexpected distractions during the day that could derail your regimen. “Are there differences in working out at different times of the day? Maybe. But those differences would be minor compared to the overall effect of doing it consistently,” Pate said.

“If you’re not a morning person, it does no good for you to try to get up at 5 in the morning to work out,” he said. “Try to stack as many cards on your side of the table as possible by doing what’s most likely to work for you. The converse is, don’t make it as hard as it doesn’t have to be.”

Fit in Fitness

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity. But what if you’re tight on time? Then, be creative and break up your activity into daily bouts of 3-10-minute increments.

For example:

  • In the morning, park 10 minutes away from the job and walk briskly.
  • At lunch, walk 10 minutes in or around where you work.
  • In the afternoon/evening, walk briskly 10 minutes back to your vehicle.

And there you have a 30-minute workout!

“Accumulation across the day doesn’t have to be performed in one bout, but can be across the day,” Pate said. “More is better, but we’re absolutely certain even modest amounts are much better than being sedentary.” And remember, “exercise” is any kind of physical activity that gets your heart rate up for at least 10 minutes at a time.

So get moving — at the time that’s right for you!

Source: When is the best time of day to work out?

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16851992Walking is the most popular form of exercise and offers great health benefits, even if it doesn’t burn as many calories as running or other more intense forms of exercise. But a new study has some encouraging news: The equations commonly used to predict the number of calories burned during walking count too few calories in nearly all cases on level surfaces.

Here’s why: Standardized equations commonly used to predict or estimate walking energy expenditure assume that one size fits all. Plus, the equations, which have been in place for close to half a century, were based on data from a limited number of people.

A new study at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, found that under firm, level ground conditions, the most commonly used standards are relatively inaccurate and have significant bias. The standards predicted too few calories burned in 97 percent of the cases researchers examined, said SMU physiologist Dr. Lindsay Ludlow.

A new standardized equation developed by SMU scientists, however, is about four times more accurate for adults and kids together, and about two to three times more accurate for adults only, Ludlow said.

“Our new equation is formulated to apply regardless of the height, weight and speed of the walker,” said Ludlow, a researcher in the SMU Locomotor Performance Laboratory of biomechanics expert Dr. Peter Weyand. “And it’s appreciably more accurate.” Study results, along with the new equation, were published earlier this year in The Journal of Applied Physiology.

“The economy of level walking is a lot like shipping packages,” explains Weyand. “There is an economy of scale. Big people get better gas mileage when fuel economy is expressed on a per-pound basis.”

The SMU equation predicts the calories burned as a person walks on a firm, level surface. Ongoing research is expanding the algorithm to predict the calories burned while walking up- and downhill, and while carrying loads, Ludlow says.

The research comes at a time when greater accuracy combined with mobile technology, such as wearable sensors like Fitbit, is increasingly being used in real time to monitor the body’s status. The researchers note that some devices use the old standardized equations, while others use a different method to estimate the calories burned.

NEW EQUATION CONSIDERS DIFFERENT-SIZED PEOPLE

To provide a comprehensive test of the leading standards, SMU researchers compiled a database using the extensive walking metabolism data available in the existing scientific literature to evaluate the leading equations for walking on level ground.

“The SMU approach improves upon the existing standards by including different-sized individuals and drawing on a larger database for equation formulation,” Weyand explains.

The new equation achieves greater accuracy by better incorporating the influence of body size, and by specifically incorporating the influence of height on gait mechanics. Specifically:

  • Bigger people burn fewer calories on a per-pound basis of their body weight to walk at a given speed or to cover a fixed distance.
  • The older standardized equations don’t account for size differences; rather, they assume that roughly one size fits all.

The exact dates are a bit murky, but the leading standardized equations, known by their shorthand as the “ACSM” and “Pandolf” equations, were developed about 40 years ago for the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and for the military, respectively, Ludlow says.

The Pandolf method, for example, draws on walking metabolism data from six U.S. soldiers, she said. Both the Pandolf and ACSM equations were developed on a small number of adult males of average height.

The new, more accurate equation will prove useful, as predicting energy expenditure is common in many fields, including those focused on health, weight loss, exercise, military and defense, and professional and amateur physical training. Accurate estimations of the rate at which calories are burned could potentially help predict a person’s aerobic power and likelihood for executing a task, such as training for an athletic competition or carrying out a military objective.

In general, the new metabolic estimates can be combined with other physiological signals such as body heat, core temperature and heart rate to improve predictions of fatigue, overheating, dehydration, the aerobic power available and whether a person can sustain a given intensity of exercise.

  • SMU’s new and improved equation for predicting the energy expenditure of walking:
  • VO2total = VO2rest + 3.85 + 5.97·V2/Ht (where V is measured in m/s, Ht in meters, and VO2 in ml O2·kg−1·min−1)

Source: ACE – ProSource: May 2016 – Study: Walkers Burn More Calories Than Previously Thought

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22571019The good news is that no matter which is first, cardio will improve everything from your heart health to your mood and weight training will improve everything from bone density to metabolism. However, depending on your fitness goals, there may be some benefit to doing cardio first followed by weight training or vice versa.

If power, strength or building lean muscle mass is what you’re after, you don’t want to fatigue your muscles with cardio first, so do it after your hit the weights. If general fitness is your goal, then definitely mix up the sequence of aerobic exercise and resistance training on different days. Each sequence has advantages. Research shows that a person burns slightly more calories when they finish the workout with weight training. However, studies also show that since a person has more energy in the first part of a workout, they can train at a higher intensity which is advantageous for those doing resistance exercise first. So for variety and total benefits, mix up the sequence on different days of the week.

© 2014 Tiffiny Marinelli, Energy in Motion LLC

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Energy in MotionWhen you want to remember something badly enough, what do you do? You write it down on a calendar. Today, we have paper calendars, online calendars, mobile calendars…you name it. All making it pretty hard to forget anything. So, why do we conveniently “forget” to take care of ourselves? Because we don’t schedule it!

Another easy way to include fitness into your busy day is to exercise at work. If you aren’t fortunate enough to have a work site fitness program (and with Energy in Motion everyone should be fortunate enough!) you can still move and get your heart rate up. Talk a half hour walk; hit a 30-minute class at a local gym, etc. The best part is that your heart will benefit and your productivity will increase.

Contact us for more information on how to bring convenient and affordable exercise programs to your workplace.

Tiffiny Marinelli

Energy in Motion LLC

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Many people have a goal of getting fit, but do not have a “mental” plan in place to make it happen. Recognizing that the mental part may be more important than the physical part is just another step in the right direction of sticking with your exercise plan. Use these five steps to propel you toward reaching your fitness goals.

1. Feel Emotional
Have you heard the term “emotions create motion?” Feeling disturbed about your health and well-being can make all the difference in the world in making the switch to commit to a consistent exercise regimen.  Try on a few bathing suits or take out an old photo of yourself when you felt good about your body or go get a physical. Make a list of what you want to change and allow your emotions to create the transformation.

2. Make a Clear Decision
Clarity allows us to get to the place we want to go. Rather than just wishing you could lose a few pounds, make a clear decision and a serious commitment to taking action toward your goals. Decide on the body you want and then motivate yourself by thinking of several long-term goals you’re shooting for, like running a marathon or never wearing the size you’re in again. Getting that clear picture in your mind will allow you to take action and commit.

3. Get Focused
The more focused you are while exercising, the more you are likely to challenge yourself in ways you never thought possible. Instead of thinking about the pain of the workout, focus on the movement and the energy it takes to move the muscles you are working. Try keeping a mental picture of your goal in your head.  Some people also find that listening to music helps motivate to stay in a zone. Dr. Costas Karageorghis concluded that music is “an often untapped source of both motivation and inspiration for sport and exercise participants.”

4. Get Creative
Getting tired of the same exercise routine is pretty common and results in not exercising at all. Thinking of creative solutions to motivate you to exercise will help.  The trick is finding something you love to do. If you are sick of the treadmill and the same exercises you continually do, then it’s time to make the switch and find something that excites you.  Try incorporating kayaking, karate or ball room dancing into your weekly routine. Once you discover what you enjoy doing most then exercise will start to feel less of a chore and it will become more fun to do.

5. Be Realistic
Realistic, well-planned weight-loss goals keep you motivated and focused. Unrealistic and overly aggressive weight-loss goals can be difficult, even impossible to meet. For example, losing 25 pounds in four weeks in time for your high school reunion can surely undermine your efforts. And if your weight-loss goals are beyond reach, you’re more likely to be discouraged and feel frustrated and give up altogether on your weight loss plans.

Being mentally ready to stick with an exercise and healthy eating program is an important, if not, the most important step to reaching your goals.  The more you practice these five steps to your mental plan, the more ready you will be, and the quicker you will reach your goals.

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Understanding that fit, healthy employees lead to fit, healthy companies, employers are desperately searching for effective ways to “make fitness work.” Energy in Motion provides convenient and affordable workplace exercise classes for employees. Contact us at info@einmotion.com to bring fitness classes to your workplace.

Healthy Employees, Stronger Business

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Do you love exercise? If you’re like many people I know, maybe the answer is “not so much.” Maybe you do it simply because you think you should to lose weight. But two recent studies concluded that exercise does not cause weight loss. So should you skip exercise and just focus on what you eat? Not so fast. Remember, exercise affords tremendous benefits to overall health and well–being, including heart health, bone health, and for me, personally, mental health.

Rarely do you ever hear a person say, “I wish I didn’t work out.” But how often do you hear “I feel guilty I didn’t make it to the gym”? In reality exercise shouldn’t be a chore, but instead something that makes you feel good before, during, and after. Some people I know really love going to the gym; for them, a workout of lifting weights and doing cardio machines is perfect. For others, the gym is boring or makes them uncomfortable.

Below are some fresh ideas to get you moving:

Pilates. Developed by Joseph Pilates, the method emphasizes the balanced development of the body through core strength and flexibility. Moves are done either on a mat or on the Reformer, resistance equipment specific to a Pilates studio. Years ago, I did Pilates and can honestly say that I have never worked my abdomen like I did on the Reformer.

Spinning. If you like to get your heart rate up and enjoy cycling, spinning is a win-win. Before I discovered yoga (we’ll get to that below), I was a devoted spinner. I loved the energy of the room and camaraderie with the other cyclists. If I was still into spinning today, I guess the question would be whether I would choose Flywheel or SoulCycle. If you live in NYC, Chicago, or Miami you know what I’m talking about, as they’re the trendiest spinning studios around, trendier than even some restaurants or clubs. Flywheel has developed the TorqBoard, an in-studio display that provides riders with the option to compare their performance against the rest of the class in real-time. To me, this sounds very cool—perhaps because I’m very competitive. I’ve heard the instructors teach very challenging classes, set to high-energy music. SoulCycle also has very challenging classes, which are taught in rooms lit by candles; supposedly the environment is exceptional. The cycling routine incorporates both upper body and core workouts.

Walking. So simple, it really doesn’t get any easier. Walking is free and can be done anywhere and at any temperature (just dress for it). I suggest buying a pedometer to record your steps, aiming for 10,000 per day. Sometimes walking for a cause that’s close to your heart (such as cancer or diabetes) is motivating and will get even couch potatoes moving.

Yoga. As an avid practitioner for more than 12 years, I’ve found no other form of exercise to be more rewarding or challenging than yoga. Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Iyengar, Bikram, and Anasura are just some of the many varieties available. You may need to try different types and different teachers before finding the right fit.

Zumba. If you like to dance, Zumba is for you. The Latin dance-inspired fitness program was created by dancer and choreographer Alberto “Beto” Perez in Colombia during the 1990s, and is definitely hot at the moment. I’ve never tried it, but my patients who do it swear by it.

The list can go on and on: boot camp, pole dancing, bowling, tennis, ping-pong (yes—this counts), running, swimming, fencing, basketball, TRX suspension training, CrossFit, and more. Nowadays, there are so many ways to get in the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity per week; you simply need to discover what’s best for you. Once you find something you love to do, these tips can help keep you motivated:

1. Grab a buddy. When you know a friend, family member, or even a pet (running partner) is counting on you, it’s much harder to cancel.

2. Schedule it. Make time, don’t “find time.” Schedule an appointment, just as you would with a doctor or dinner with friends. Then stick to it.

3. Set out your exercise clothes. Keep them by your bedside, so as soon as you open your eyes in the morning, they’re there as motivation.

4. Bring your clothes with you. Go straight to the gym from work to increase your chances of actually getting there.

Remember, when it comes to physical activity, anything is better than nothing; and hopefully, the more you do, the more you will want to continue. If you’re doing nothing, adding just 15 minutes per day is a great start.

Question: “What type of exercise is best?” Answer: “The one that you stick with.”

Hungry for more? Write to eatandrun@usnews.com with your questions, concerns, and feedback.

Keri Gans, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian, media personality, spokesperson, and author of The Small Change Diet. Gans’s expert nutrition advice has been featured in Glamour, Fitness, Health, Self and Shape, and on national television and radio, including The Dr. Oz Show, Good Morning America, ABC News, Primetime, and Sirius/XM Dr. Radio.

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