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!

Playgrounds and Treadmills

Today’s post is inspired by a couple of articles I read in the Wall Street Journal.

Are Playgrounds Too Safe?  It’s an interesting look at how playground equipment has become too safe thus boring for kids.  It doesn’t challenge their need to take risks and test the limits thus stunting the desire to get outside and play and experience physical activity.

A new playground in Boston includes a zip-line, a rock climbing structure, and a climbing net.  All designed to challenge kids’ physical fitness and build upper-body strength.

My experiences with school and park playgrounds involved lots of metal, woodchips, old tires, and rusty swings.  Classic playground moment was trying to copy my friends who were short, nimble, and flexible.  They could do twists, turns, and flips on the monkey bars.  Me…not so much.  I was always the tall kid.  Gymnastics are difficult for us.  But, not to be out-done, I tried all sorts of flips.  That ended with me on the ground and my mom having to rush to the playground to find out if I was ok.  I was also the kid who was on a first-name basis with the local ER staff–broken bones, a split forehead, stitches galore.

Next article is How Sick Do You Have to Be to Skip Going to the Gym?

I work hard to stay healthy and at least “control” those things that I can.  I’ve got hand sanitizer in my purse, car, work bag, and on my desk.  I wash my hands a lot.  If I feel a cold or virus coming on, I up my water and tea consumption and add in extra fruits and veggies.  But I still work out.  It takes a lot to knock me down.  An illness day might mean a light yoga workout.  There are two friends of mine who really don’t let me rest so I may get outside for a walk.

The WSJ article covers the basics that it’s still OK to work out if you’re not feeling 100%–just lower your expectations and exertion level.  If you have a fever – skip the gym/workout.  If your symptoms are below the neck, skip it.  And avoid group exercise classes – do you really want to be the person sneezing and coughing on the person in front of you at Zumba?  (Side note – I wipe down the Spin bike before and after class.)

As always, check with your doctor and take care of yourself.

What was your favorite piece of playground equipment?  What are your ideas for equipment/experiences that should be at new playgrounds?

Tips for staying healthy?  Do you work out when you’re sick?