Exercise: It’s Non-Negotiable
If you need convincing, I will build the case for how vital exercise is and how integral it is to your new lifestyle. First, you should know that being active is critical to your good health. A report from the Global Burden of Disease project-a massive research effort that studied disease and death around the globe-included physical inactivity among the most critical risk factors threatening global health. The second thing you should know is that regular physical activity has been proven to contribute significantly to each Atkins principle: weight loss, weight maintenance, good health, and disease prevention. And, now, I submit my evidence. We’ll look at the first two together.
The Myth of Carb-Loading
You’ve probably heard of marathoners and other elite athletes inhaling vast amounts of pasta before significant endurance events, often referred to as “carb-loading.” It turns out that “fat loading” may be more effective. More scientific research is required; however, studies on animals and humans have suggested that a fat-rich diet may increase endurance. For example, a 1994 study compared the effects of a highchair/low-fat diet and a high-fat/low-carb diet on two groups of trained cyclists. The groups performed equally well; during prolonged, moderate-intensity exercise, endurance was significantly enhanced among the cyclists on the high-fat/low-carb regimen. Two other studies on humans suggest that increasing dietary fat from fifteen percent to forty-two percent increases maximum oxygen consumption and endurance capacity. My review of the published research indicates that increases in dietary fat may be beneficial for general health and physical endurance.
How Your New Eating Habits Will Help
On low-fat and low-calorie diets, people can do serious harm to themselves by over-exercising. When the body isn’t getting enough protein from food, it turns to its only source of non-dietary protein: muscle. As a result, the body will consume its healthy muscle tissue. You’re mistaken if you think this happens only to starving people in developing countries. Do you know someone who eats half a bagel and fruit for breakfast and a salad and diet soda for lunch? And then goes to the gym right after work? Where is her body going to find the protein to fuel her for those forty-five minutes on the stair-climbing machine? It will turn to the same muscles she’s trying to build and tone-not to the fat cells she thinks she’s burning.
Find Your Comfort Zone
Before you embark on any new exercise plan, be sure to consult your physician. That done, review these plans and find the one that describes you best. Or work up an individualized program with your physician or a certified fitness trainer. You’ll need to learn how to measure your pulse and calculate your Target Heart Rate (THR) zone.
The end goal is the same for everyone. Work up to thirty minutes of moderately intense physical activity most days a week. (Forty-five minutes is even better.) Your muscles need rest and recovery time, so the optimum frequency is five times a week. Remember, exercise is the natural companion to weight loss. If you increase your muscle mass, you can also eat more.