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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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Staying Hydrated

Sure, it’s the same route you run for each workout, but today is different. It’s a scorcher and the radio is warning it may hit record temps. You can’t skip another day due to the heat, so you decide to go out and run anyway. You want to do it safely, but how? Here are some tips on how to get out there and exercise, even when the sun is beating down.

Wear Lighter Clothing

Exercise generates great amounts of body heat. Avoid wearing cotton when running because it holds your sweat and doesn’t dry quickly, which can lead to chafing. Synthetic fabrics wick moisture away from your skin so cooling evaporation can occur.

Light-colored clothing that reflects the sun’s rays will help your body breathe and cool itself naturally. Tight clothing restricts that process, and dark colors absorb the sun’s light and heat.

Never wear rubberized or plastic clothing, such garments interfere with the evaporation of perspiration and can cause body temperature to rise to dangerous levels.

Stay Hydrated

It is important to stay hydrated during any workout, but on a hot day, this is especially important. If you don’t hydrate properly before, during, and after your run, you may be at risk for dehydration. Lack of hydration can lead to a heat stroke, muscle cramps, nausea, dizziness or a whole host of other medical issues.

The easiest way to avoid heat disorders such as dehydration is to keep your body hydrated. This means drinking fluids before, during and after exercise. You should make sure that you’re starting out your runs well-hydrated.

When it’s extremely hot and humid, you’re going to drink more than you usually do. Bring more water than usual and take the time to replace lost fluids. If the conditions have you concerned about possible dehydration, slow your pace down so that you sweat at a lower rate.

Time of Day

You may have a favorite part of the day that you like to run, but you may have to consider making a few adjustments due to the heat. If you run in the morning, consider running an hour or two earlier; in the evening, consider an hour or two later.

There is a mid-day window in which the heat may be unreasonable and it’s not worth risking health problems because you don’t feel like waking up a little earlier. Plan ahead and get plenty of sleep the night before so you are ready to get up at an earlier hour.

Go a Little Less Hard

It’s hard to pull back, especially when you’re making really good progress, but a hot day isn’t the best time to break your personal record. Ease up a bit on these kinds of days and don’t over-exert yourself. Listen to your inner voice; if you feel yourself wearing out a bit earlier than usual, that’s okay. Go with it. It’s better to stop a little early and get a little less exercise than to go longer and injure yourself.

Hot weather doesn’t mean you have to skip out entirely, but there are some precautions you should take. Be safe and pay close attention to what your body is telling you. You can still get a great work out in, just be careful. Enjoy the beautiful day out, hydrate and have fun!

© 2015 Tiffiny Marinelli, Energy in Motion

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Ready to get up and running? Congratulations! This simple yet powerful act will take your mind, body, and spirit to a better place. And the greatest thing about running is anyone can do it. You don’t need fancy equipment or an Olympian’s physique. If you were ever a toddler, you already know the basics.

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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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Running

By Tiffiny Twardowsky copyright 2012

Humans have been running for centuries, and of course barefoot running has been around since the beginning of mankind. Over the last 50 years, shoe makers have been designing running shoes to protect the feet and improve running form. The first running shoe was invented by Blue Ribbon Sports (now Nike) when Bill Bowerman used, and ruined, his wife’s waffle iron to create a tread-soled shoe with strong gripping power and a light weight. This shoe was so popular in the early 1970’s, it helped fuel the explosive growth of Nike. As the industry progressed and running became even more popular, shoe companies began adding cushion, stability, support and motion control enhancements. In the last few years however, interest in “barefoot running” has exploded and many people are wondering if they should give it a try.

Before trying barefoot running, it’s important to know what types of shoes are out there and which will be your best option, if any. Aside from traditional supportive and cushioned running shoes, there are so called “barefoot” and minimalist running shoes. Barefoot shoes offer little or no cushioning and are extremely light. The sole is designed so the heel is as close to the ground as possible (called zero drop). The material used to make this shoe is much more flexible, allowing a natural foot strike and almost a full range of motion. Minimalist running shoes are a cross between barefoot shoes and traditional running shoes – an excellent way for many runners to ease into barefoot running. They have a slightly elevated heel to encourage a mid-foot strike but offer some cushioning.

Regardless of the shoe you chose, the mechanics of barefoot running are very different then that of wearing traditional running shoes. As described in the January 2010 issue of Nature magazine, a Harvard University study analyzed impact and foot-strike patterns in runners with shoes and without. This study showed that people running barefoot tend to land flat footed (called a mid-foot strike) or on the ball of the foot before bringing the heel down. People running with traditional running shoes tend to land with the heel hitting first (heel strike). Although this study indicated barefoot runners were able to land comfortably and safely, research is still inconclusive as to which is less likely to cause injury or which has less impact on the body.

Although many barefoot runners strongly advocate running barefoot, it’s not for everyone. For example if you have orthopedic issues such as plantar fasciitis, tendinitis, flat feet, etc, it may not be for you. Anyone who has diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, or who has a compromised immune system, should not run barefoot. And you should always check with your physician before starting or changing your exercise regimen.

One thing is for certain, if you do chose to try running barefoot, you need to start gradually. Acclimate your feet and your muscles over time and give your body a chance to get used to the new running form.

  • Start by toughening up the soles of your feet and allowing your muscles to become accustom to barefoot training by walking barefoot.
  • Over time, work your way to running short distances on soft surfaces like sand or grass.
  • Practice landing mid-foot versus the heel.
  • Do not overstride by landing with your foot too far in front of you hips as you can with running shoes.
  • Start slowly and allow you body to build up gradually.
  • Use short strides and a quick cadence.

Incorporate your new running style into your traditional running style. Not moving slowly can cause injuries such as Achilles tendinitis or metatarsal inflammation and fractures. Energy in Motion trainers can guide you with a specific transition program to minimize the chance of injury. And as always, listen to your “inner voice.” If you feel any pain, stop.

Further Reading

  1. Runners World: Is Less More? Nov, 2010
  2. Washington Post: Minimalist Shoes are Not Just for Running Sept, 2011
  3. Running Times: Transitioning to Minimalism April, 2010
  4. Nature: Barefoot Running Strikes Back Jan 2010
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This answer is not so clear-cut. Generally speaking, running does burn more calories than walking. But…not always. Efficiency of movement will help us understand why.

Walking is a more efficient way of moving and involves fewer muscles than running. This efficiency means less calories burned. With running, as your lead foot comes down, it is absorbing more than your body weight due to the effects of gravity. This force on the leg muscles varies depending upon how fast you are running. When you run faster your stride becomes longer. A longer stride equals more force with each stride. A lot more calories are required to absorb these higher impact forces and to propel you forward with the next stride.

However, the number of calories burned during walking and running is not a static number. It is a dynamic measure that will increase as your speed and effort level increases. At a speed where walking becomes challenging, less efficient, and has a higher effort level, more calories and burned then a jog at the same speed. This “cross over” speed, where walking becomes very strenuous, occurs somewhere at around 4 to 5 miles per hour for most people. Jogging at speeds slower than your cross over will feel easier and burn fewer calories than walking. Walking at speeds faster than your cross over will feel harder and burn more calories than running.
If this is confusing, let me simplify it. Walking has the advantage of being easy to do and virtually injury free. Running can burn more calories but is harder on the joints.
So you need to determine what’s best for you. For most of us, a mix and match approach is probably the best. Or, you may find that the small amount of extra calories burned while running are not worth the impact on your joints. The choice is yours.

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