The Importance of Weight Training

The Importance of Weight Training

One area which is often overlooked as part of an exercise regimen is weight training.  Some of this is due to misconceptions about weight training such as it is only for athletes or that it will add bulk.  Part of this is also due to an unfamiliarity with weight training and not understanding the myriad benefits. If you are not including weight training in your fitness program it is absolutely essential that you do so if you want to achieve the best version of you possible.  There are numerous reasons for including weight training in your fitness program and for the sake of simplicity I will focus on three areas.

Health – Numerous studies have underscored the cardiovascular benefits of weight training which can significantly reduce your risk of having a heart attack or a stroke by as much as 50 per cent since it helps burns calories and fat by virtue of a higher metabolism, and it also reduces blood pressure.  It is proven to be effective in helping to prevent diabetes by as much one-third, and nearly two-thirds when combined with aerobic exercise.  And as you tend to lose muscle mass and bone density as you age, it is effective in helping to offset these areas by strengthening the muscles and helping to reduce bone loss, including osteoporosis.

Lifestyle – By having your muscles strengthened you are better able to deal with your daily routine such as walking stairs, getting in and out of a car or a chair, or sitting at a desk for long hours.  The reason for this is that as you strengthen your core muscles it enhances your ability to move with less strain and effort, which concordantly improves your balance, and makes you less susceptible to a fall, which is a leading cause of injury for many people, especially as you age.

Mental – Weight training enhances your mood and can help you deal with anxiety and depression.  This is partly due to the endorphins which are released, which are mood enhancers, and the fact that you are able to better deal with challenges since you are stronger.  And by looking better and having an improved self-image you will have a more positive mindset and exude confidence.

As with anything, if you are not sure what to do, ask for help and ask a personal trainer to design a program for you. Remember to start slowly, working up to multiple sets and heavier weights.  Over time it will become second nature for you as you get acclimated to this new routine.  And with anything, ditch the excuses and do it.  You will look back and be glad you did.

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Which Exercise is Right for You?

Which Exercise is Right for You?

Regular exercise is key to maintaining good health as there are myriad benefits to a fitness regimen There are different types of exercise which can essentially be broken down into three categories – aerobic, strengthening, and stretching.

Aerobic exercise includes a number of activities such as walking, running, bicycling, using an elliptical or a stair master, and swimming.  Aerobic exercise improves your cardiovascular system, builds endurance and stamina, and can help reduce the risk of many diseases. Strengthening exercise carries with it a two-fold benefit.  It strengthens the muscles and also strengthens the bones and stimulates bone growth, which is important later in life to help prevent or cope with osteoporosis. Weight lifting and resistance bands are examples of activities that strengthen these areas. Stretching improves your flexibility and enhances your ability to move, including better range of motion with your joints, and also helps with your balance.

There is no one size fits all when it comes to an exercise program and as you embark on a physical fitness regimen you need to assess what works best for you and the areas you need to focus on.  Your exercise program can be structured, such as a regular program of going to the fitness center, or non-structured, which includes activities in your day to day life such as working around the house or the yard.  More often than not, your program will be combination of structured and non-structured activities, the sum of which add up to your personal physical fitness level.

Many people focus too much on aerobic exercise at the expense of strengthening and stretching, which will ultimately catch up with you in some shape or form.  This is important since as we age, we lose muscle mass and flexibility, thus strengthening and stretching becomes more important by an order of magnitude of later in life.  When designing an exercise program, take all of the above factors into consideration. If you need help putting one together, seek assistance from someone who is well-versed in these aspects, such as a trainer.

Remember, just as you have personal and professional goals, you should also have fitness goals.  A personal fitness plan is not optional, it is mandatory. If you are not exercising regularly put yourself in an action mode.  Schedule it as part of your regular routine, adhere to it, and ditch the excuses.

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The Importance of Physical Fitness

The Importance of Physical Fitness

Having a fitness plan is not optional, it is mandatory, and in today’s environment, more important than ever.  Our lifestyle has become sedentary as we spend more time sitting, either behind a desk, in a meeting, in a car, or for extended periods while traveling, resulting in less physical activity.  This is compounded by the fact that as you age you will lose 3% to 5% of your muscle mass per decade, in addition to losing flexibility and stamina.

Regular physical exercise offers myriad benefits.  You decrease the risk of certain diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes as nearly ten percent of the world’s non-communicable diseases are directly attributable to physical inactivity.   It affects you mentally by helping you better manage stress, tension, and reduces the chance of being depressed. Regular exercise boosts your energy levels so that you can get more done, and are better able to cope with the rigors of everyday life.  It promotes a positive attitude, improves your self-image, and projects a better you to your family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. And lastly, the discipline, planning, and commitment required to maintain this regimen are skills which carry over to other areas.

If you do not have an established exercise regimen the time is now.  Drop the excuses, put together a plan, schedule the time to do it just as you would for a meeting, and do it.  Keep your goals reasonable. If you need help talk to a friend or a professional who can help design a program for you, taking into account which types of exercise would be most beneficial and what venue works best for you.  Establish realistic goals so that you don’t set yourself up for disappointment. Share these goals with someone, keep them front and center, and have the discipline and willpower to adhere to this regimen. Remember, at the end of the day, you are accountable to you, so start that exercise program now.  You will look back and be glad you did.

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Improving Your Communication

Improving Your Communication

Communication is a skill that can be learned and developed.  It is one of the top traits companies look at when hiring and promoting.  Being an effective communicator is a prerequisite for success in all aspects of your life.  To improve your communication skills do the following:

1. Listen – Listening is an important part of communication.  The more you listen, the better you communicate. Put the technology away, focus, listen, and actively engage with the individual.

2. Learn Nonverbal Communication – First impressions are made quickly and are lasting.  Be cognizant of the factors which encompass nonverbal communication, such as making eye contact, being cordial, confident, and approachable.

3. Study – Learn the techniques and subtleties of different types of communication, focusing on those areas where you have shortcomings.

4. Confidence – It is difficult to properly communicate, especially when speaking, if you are anxious, stressed, or overly emotional.  Recognize which settings trigger anxiety and insecurity, simulate those settings, and practice.

5. Clarity – Think about what you are communicating and convey it in the most simple and straightforward manner possible. If the subject is complex break it down into smaller, more readily understood pieces using bullet points.

6. Venue – Many default to the mode of communication they are most comfortable with, which may or may not be the best or most appropriate medium.  Ensure you are communicating in the most efficient manner given the topic, audience, and other issues such as distance or size of the audience.

7. Awareness – Know your audience.  Put yourself in their shoes. Anticipate their questions and concerns and have clear responses prepared in advance.

8. Feedback – Engage with the other party or audience.  Ask questions, respect the other person’s point of view and do not get defensive.

9. Assertiveness – Being assertive does not mean being aggressive.  Be assured and confident enough to get your point across.

10. Regimen – Being a good communicator is an ongoing endeavor.  Treat communication just like any other skill and develop it.

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