In thinking about why most U.S. adults do not succeed with their exercise program, I asked participants in my fitness classes for their input. (If you are from another country don’t think you are off the hook. Most English speaking countries are rife with inactivity and sedentary behavior. You are getting U.S. statistics, but the workout problem is worldwide.) The irony is that by definition, people in fitness classes are least likely to be the ones falling into the category of “problematic” or “wrong workouts.” Nevertheless they have the experience and interest to have insightful answers.
All of those answers are correct insofar as they address common problems with exercise programs. But they have yet to hit on the MAIN problem with most workouts. My class respondents all assume one thing — that people are actually exercising in the first place.What's wrong w/your workout? And 80% of the US adult population's workouts? Click To Tweet
Yup – what’s wrong with most workouts is that people aren’t doing actually doing them. Do you have this same problem? And by “you” I mean your friends, relatives, and compatriots. Not you, of course.
Sure enough, the not done workout is all wrong. The most “right” workout in the world is bupkus nada zippity doo dah if you aren’t actually working it. Only 20% of US adults meet the minimum guidelines for exercise. Governmental guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderately intense cardio activity per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, or a combination of the two. For strength, adults should also engage in muscle-strengthening activities like resistance training at least twice per week. You can knock out such muscle training in 30 minutes per session if you have a well-designed program or attend a group strength training class. At most, you need to spend two more hours per week for a whopping total of under five hours spread over seven days to get both aerobic and strength benefits.Only 20% of US adults meet the minimum guidelines for exercise. Join that elite and Move More Click To Tweet
Think about the above statistics for a mighty-minute — almost 80% of US adults do not devote even two and a half hours in a week to aerobic movement. Walking counts, so that makes these inactivity numbers even more staggering. Even fewer adults spend two hours a week strength training. Enter the elite 20% and be a stats changer!
As we enter a new year, let’s focus on doing the right workout. And what is that?
One answer is to check out these posts that offer BEST workouts for specific needs.
An even more accessible answer is that unless you are competing, performing, or striving for total peak fitness — in which case you need specific protocols — the right workout is the one you will actually do; the exercises you enjoy; the movement you will adhere to. Let this year be the one you add movement to. A little bit of imperfect sumpin’ sumpin’ is better than perfect nuttin’ nuttin’. Forget perfection. Go for progress. A little more than the day before. Let’s do this!
Action: Subscribe to our site and get your workouts right! Enter your email in any of the box options and we’ll come to you once or twice a week. Pinky promise.
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
Uh, hold on while I jog my memory.
Did you see the hint I embedded in that prior sentence? Based on the last 10 years of what is now overwhelming evidence, the BEST activity you can do to improve your memory is anything aerobic. You even get a double bonus in that your memory is enhanced both immediately and long term through aerobic, aka cardio exercise.
More than strength training, more than brain games, better than travel, or learning a new skill — the powerhouse, champion way to improve memory is to exercise aerobically. The above listed activities are certainly helpful, though runners up. Ha ha aha Worked in another word play.
What does “aerobic” really mean? How do you know if you are performing cardio activity?The best exercise you can do to improve memory is .... #activeaging Click To Tweet
Aerobic exercise is defined as all of the following occurring simultaneously:
If you like etymology then you’ll enjoy knowing that the word “aerobic” is derived from the Greek word “aero” for air or oxygen and “bio” indicating “life.” In short, aerobic exercise is life giving. Back in the day, our ancestors had to run to eat or avoid being eaten. Our bodies and brains were made to move aerobically. We ran to survive. We aerobicise to thrive!
So what are some types of aerobic exercise? And does any cardio activity improve memory or just certain kinds?
Great news — any cardio exercise will improve your memory, recall, attention span, and focus. You can take a step class, walk your dog, hike trails, swim, dance, cavort (we baby boomers are good cavorters, right?). Other aerobic activities include kickboxing, indoor cycling, outdoor bike riding, getting on treadmills, elliptical machines, the stairclimber. Lots of options.
I often get asked whether playing sports is aerobic. Generally if you are very good or very bad at the sport, you will be in your aerobic zone. Picture being pretty unskilled at tennis, for instance. You are chasing the ball all over the place; your opponent is trying to send the ball where you haven’t anticipated; you have to run a lot. Pant pant. Heart rate up, etc.
Or you are very good at tennis, so you constantly shift your position to send your opponent off guard; you run to return hits; you keep in athletic stance, and the game moves quickly. Bingo – cardio!
Certainly a looooooong list of benefits comes with aerobic training. The relative newcomer to the plethora of reasons to get up and boogie is aerobic exercise is numero uno, way out in front as the best way to improve memory. Forget dementia (ok, not a very good word play, but it works). Start NOW to stave off memory loss or to halt its progress. The aerobic movement you do today will give you memory enhancements benefits starting today
ACTION: Learn more motivating ways to improve your memory when you read the two posts below. Comment, share, tweet. THANKS!
By Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
by Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
Alexandra and I just finished attending and presenting at the Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference that took place at the deeevine, high tech, and new Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, just outside Denver. CO (yes, I liked it so much I wanted to go back to grad school just to take advantage of all the Anschutz Center offers).
Prior to taking off we were offered two of 20 spots on a bonus pre-conference tour put on by Goodness Knows Snack Squares and Zephyr Adventures. Fun fact #1 – I am SO glad I went on the excursion, which was beautiful, amazing, well-organized, and a great chance to take advantage of the beauty the area offers. Not so Fun Fact #2 – I SUCKED at this hike. As in sucked air. Big, wheezy, gaspy time. Yes, I was “THAT PERSON” at the tail end of the group who had to stop every 5 minutes to “enjoy the view,” “check my Omron Heart Rate Monitor,” “get my water bottle out of my backpack,” “retie my trail shoes.” (THANK YOU Overland Equipment and Vasque Velocity for the super comfy backpack and trail shoes. At least I looked like a pro hiker and my feet felt great!)
1) I just flew in from sea level living to mile high altitude climbing. No wonder I felt my heart imitating the alien explosion birth in Alien. Pretty sure I did not look as good as Sigourney Weaver though. The fact that
stoopidhead Alexandra whisked her little way up at the head of the pack was not taking this excuse away from me. Gasp Gasp Sweat pouring down back of my knees, face, underarms. Oh wait, she drove from Santa Barbara to Boulder so had time to acclimate. Excuse still intact and usable! And I was ahead of the 25 year old from New Jersey and 40 year old from Boulder. The three of us were making the front pack possible!
2) I have had 2 knee surgeries after all. Ok, so my knees did not actually hurt on the climb up since I have strong lower body muscles and powered each step through my glutes. Still, past surgeries and injuries are something to think about when contemplating a path straight up. I might think better if I sit down for just a panting moment.
3) It was HOT! Yes, I flew in just in time for record heat in Denver. Don’t even start with that whole “it was just as hot for everyone else who was ahead of you, prancing, frolicking, and talking while climbing.” Heat makes me cranky so back off and let me enjoy the exercise, scenery, new experience, and rest stops.
Honestly, I thought I would ace this hike with lipstick and reputation intact given that I teach fitness 5 days a week and power walk almost every day. And I am happy to report that while my heart rate shot up to 158 while climbing, it dropped to 115 within a minute so my recovery rate was good.
What I learned from this potentially humbling experience:
As for the yoga class awaiting us back at the bottom of the mountain? I managed 5 minutes following the darling teachers’ well-cued Down Dogs, then took full advantage of the Corpse pose for the rest of class. Namaste ZZZzzzzz
Disclaimer: We were not asked to write about any of the above companies or products. However, we did receive the excursion free as well as the Overland backpack, Vasque trail shoes, and even a water bottle and yoga mat from Goodness Knows. All opinions are my own.
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