Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Exercise = Happy Mom

Exercise just makes me happy. After a good, hard workout I'm on a high for a while and that's good for everybody in the family.

Why is that?

"Exercise releases endorphins, natural hormones that flood the body with a feel-good energy, a natural high! You release stress through physical exertion and regulated breathing, so you can let go of the day’s challenges and go home feeling relaxed and refreshed." (i)

I can promise you that is true. I feel better physically and emotionally after I exercise and when I'm facing a hard problem or need to prepare a speech or presentation or think up a new scene for a book I do my best work out on a walk or run.

Exercise can also help relieve depression: "In the New York Times recent research, studying twins, indicated that, despite studies that seemed to suggest that exercise was almost as effective in relieving depression as anti-depressants, in fact, the “association of exercise with reduced anxious and depressive symptoms could be explained genetically: people disinclined to exercise also tend to be depressed. One does not cause the other.” (ii)

Exercise has so many great benefits. I think too often we exercise to lose weight but that's just a nice side benefit for me.

What do you do to get happy?

(i) Exercise can Make You Happy & Healthy by David Bohl, read the entire article here.
(ii) The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, check out the blog here.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Best strength training for weight loss

Prevention Magazine's fitness trainers did a study to see which weight-training techniques were most effective for weight loss in women.
The winner they call drop sets. Basically you do one set with a weight that you can only lift for 10-12 reps, then you follow that with the same exercise with a lighter weight and complete as many reps as possible. If you can do more than 12 you need to use a heavier weight. After you complete the two sets for one muscle group you move immediately to your next muscle group.
I don't know that this is a conclusive study, they only had 23 participants, but it sounds like a fun technique to try. I like that it's a quick workout and you're fatiguing the muscle group which is sometimes a problem for women because we don't like to lift heavy enough weights to fatigue the muscle, which is the only way to really increase muscle density, size, and strength.
I'm going to try it out for a while. If any of you are game, maybe we could do our own little research study. Let me know.