February 2007

Looking For A Beach Body? Get in Shape Now!

Author: George Newell

Getting in shape after the holidays has its challenges. Whether you’re looking to get back into shape or starting for the first time, it always seems to be an uphill battle. Once our bodies have stored fat, it is exceedingly difficult to lose it. However, hope is not lost! There are some exercises you can use to help reduce overall weight gain.

Exercises that allow you to use your largest muscles for an extended period of time will help to burn fat as well as reduce your risk for developing diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. The largest muscles in your body happen to be the ones found in your legs. Activities such as continuous walking and biking isolate your legs and help you to lose weight more rapidly than intermittent exercise.

One myth regarding weight loss that is important to dispel is that of “spot-training.” You will not lose fat from an area by exercising the muscle underneath it. Fat is typically deposited on the body in a pattern opposite from how it is lost. Men tend to deposit fat around the love-handles and then around the stomach, a condition typically diagnosed as “android obesity.” Women tend to deposit fat around their buttocks, hips and thighs first, a condition diagnosed as “gynoid obesity.”

Although not obese, adults who lead an active lifestyle can still find themselves carrying extra weight due to overeating. You may say to yourself, “I don’t overeat.” But a few extra calories every day add up to extra pounds over time. For example, if you eat just enough calories to meet all your metabolic and physical activity needs, but you eat half a Snickers bar for dessert, you have added 137 calories every day. One pound of fat contains 3500 calories; so if you continue this habit, you can easily put on a pound of fat in 26 days. That’s less than a month. It’s easy to see how you can put on small amounts of weight over long periods of time without noticing.

The best way to combat excess body fat is be proactive. Exercise will help you to accomplish this by helping to control your appetite and improving your overall health.

George Newell holds an M.S. degree in exercise physiology, cardiac rehabilitation and adult fitness and is an ACSM® Exercise Specialist. For help with your post-holiday weight control plan, contact him at Palmetto Athletic Club, located at 843 William Hilton Parkway, (843) 842-3222.

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