Craving Fulfillment

Nourishment for Body and Soul

Enough Exercise? January 26, 2011

Filed under: Nourishment for Your Body — Jane Weber, RD @ 10:36 pm
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Just released are the new Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines.  They tell us the amount of exercise we need to gain ‘substantial health benefits’.  Check them out here to see how you measure up.


I like how the recommendation is in a bulk amount – for adults, 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week instead of a certain amount each day.  It does recommend in at least 10 minute intervals, though.


However if you are exercising to lose extra pounds (but a health focus not body focus, right?) then exercise needs to be over 20 minutes in duration.  The body doesn’t start to burn fat as its energy source until after it first uses blood sugar (glucose) and muscle sugar (glycogen).  The more fit you are, the sooner you get to using fat as your energy source but for most of us, the change-over is at about 20 minutes.


Any exercise is good for you and any amount is better than none.  There are tons of health benefits.  I just want you to be in the know.  I also notice in clients, if less weight is a side effect they are hoping for, it takes a while for it get going.  Often, clients will exercise for weeks, a couple of months even, with very little change in weight.  BUT, there is change happening.  The muscle to fat ratio is changing.  Some of the fat stored is less and the muscle mass is more.  Since muscle weighs more than fat, the scale doesn’t move much.


Another reason to have health as a goal, not weight.

I have witnessed that once the exercise has become a regular routine and muscle mass has increased (usually when the exercise feels easier) then the weight starts to move.  Another bonus – muscle requires more energy to maintain than fat tissue.  That means, if you have more muscle than before, you are now burning more energy doing nothing.  It’s one of the reasons why men need more calories than we do.  Genetically, they usually have more muscle than we do.


My mother gave my husband a comic strip a while back when the boys stood closer to the rug than they do now.  It showed a Mom with sagged shoulders, dragging herself to the gym.  The husband picks her up afterwards and she is like a sunbeam, revived to take on the world again.  And so it was for me.  Exercise allowed me to undo the stress of a Mom of wee-ones and inject a good amount of endorphins to allow the love to flow again.  It is so easy to forget how wonderful it feels when we fall out of the habit.  Notice I said we.


Take a look at your calendar for the next week and make an exercise appointment or three for yourself to gain some health benefits and enjoy a mind refresher.  Better yet, recruit a friend to be your exercise ally.


Hugs and blessings,