Exercise Much?

Who doesn’t love a good heart-racing workout?  A relaxing yoga session?  A core-building Pilates class?

Well, according to a new study, we should only be exercising 4 times a week.  Let me explain…

Today’s New York Times features a blog post: Getting the Right Does of Exercise.  Why Four Workouts a Week May be Better than Six.  

What?

Key things to point out here – the study features women, exercise was not already a “normal” part of their routine, the women were age 60-74.

For the new study, published this month in Exercise & Science in Sports & Medicine, researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham gathered 72 older, sedentary women and randomly assigned them to one of three exercise groups:

1.  1 day/week aerobic activity, 1 day/week strength training (2 days/week)

2.  2 days/week aerobic activity, 2 days/week strength training (4 days/week)

3.  3 days/week aerobic activity, 3 days/week strength training (6 days/week)

Aerobic activity was 40 minutes of aerobic exercise at 80% maximum heart rate and resistance training was 2 sets of 10 repetitions for 10 different exercises at 80% of one repetition maximum.

The results?  All of the women gained endurance and muscle strength and there was no fitness capacity difference between the groups.  The women who worked out 4 days/week were expending more energy overall–burning more calories throughout the day.  The women who worked out 6 days/week were expending less energy (about 200 calories) each day than when the study began.  These women did not report feeling run down, rather, they reported feeling pressed for time to fit in exercise each day.

Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

It’s interesting to read the science but I still go by the do what feels best approach.  I hope when I’m 74 I’m still working out at least 4 days/week!

Thoughts on 2/4/6 days?  What’s today’s workout?
What health/fitness news did you read today?

A quick blog note–I’ll be moving to self-hosted by next week.  I know sometimes the WordPress migration means followers don’t migrate.  So if you’re signed up to follow the blog via email and next week you’re not receiving emails, I hope you’ll check back and sign up again!

Bookshelf

First of all, I wanted to say Thank you! to everyone for the adorable Tucker birthday wishes and comments.  He had a vet appointment today and he’s doing great.  He needs to put on a little bit of weight, so he’ll be dining on hardboiled eggs (in addition to his stinky dry dog food) at breakfast and dinner.

Both Kostas and Tucker are very fit and lean dogs–Kostas actually weighs 20 pounds more than Tucker!  He carries his weight in his huge ears 🙂

K

Moving on to recent reads…

Cold, snowy, icy weather the past couple of weeks has meant I’ve been A-OK with taking some time to read.  Here are the last few books I’ve read:

A Mango Shaped Space by Wendy Mass – My niece suggested I read this book and I’m glad I took her recommendation.  It’s definitely in the YA genre so it wasn’t too taxing.  The book is the story of Mia Winchell and her struggle with synesthesia – her senses mingle and so words and letters have color for her.  She tries to hide this from her friends and family, but she is struggling in school so her parents take her to a series of doctors.  Mango, the family cat, is also central to the story.  No spoiler alert here, but the ending is sad.  I was intrigued to learn more about synesthesia.

The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell – The overall premise:  two young sisters are forced to take care of themselves after the “mysterious” death of their parents.  The friendly neighbor takes the girls in and starts to get suspicious that the parents are not coming back from their trip to Turkey (this is what the girls tell people – their parents left town).  This story pulls at the heartstrings and is a brilliant debut novel.  On Goodreads I only gave this 3 out of 5 stars because it was just so depressing.  The ending was a real shocker and I think when I closed the book after finishing it I let out a very audible sigh because I’d been taken on an emotional roller coaster.  All that said, I still recommend it.

Hikikomori and the Rental Sister by Jeff Backhaus – If you read this, try to read it when you have time to dedicate to getting through the entire book in one or two sittings.  You’ll want to get to know the characters and find out if/when they are successful at starting over.  Thomas and Silke Tessler live together in their New York apartment but Thomas has sequestered himself in one room–for the past three years.  The Tessler’s son died and Thomas feels to blame.  Thus, the seclusion.  He only goes out at night for groceries – microwave dinners and instant coffee.  Silke wants her husband back.  She hires Meguni, a young Japanese immigrant attuned to the hikikomori phenomenon, to lure Thomas back into the world.  This is a complex story and I enjoyed it because I learned about hikikomori and felt invested in these characters.

These books have been a bit deep–I may need to read a book about puppies and rainbows to bounce back!

How is your Monday?  Any book recommendations to share?