Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Weight Training v. Cardio

Why do you do aerobics? Is it to lose weight? Most people decide they need to shed a few pounds, then go out and buy a treadmill or join a healthclub to use theirs. Well, I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that all that time you spent on your treadmill did very little to help you get in shape or lose weight. The good news is that aerobics does help increase your energy level and ability to live at your optimum, serving God with energy and stamina. Aerobic exercise (a misnomer because you are doing an aerobic exercise right now since aerobics simply means that your body is using oxygen to do the activity) is good for increasing heart function, lung capacity and oxygen function. These improvements to your physical health will result in increased energy and stamina. Those are important benefits for homeschool moms! But, this is not the greatest method to lose weight.

Aerobics helps very little with fat loss. A study done by exercise science researchers measured ninety-one obese women, separated into four groups: dieters eating 1,200-1,300 calories per day, exercisers five 45-min sessions 75 % maximum heart rate, exercisers and dieters, and controls who did nothing. They measured body fat and oxygen use at the beginning and the end of the study. Those who dieted and those who dieted and exercised lost about the same amount of fat. Those who exercised alone had about the same fat loss as the control group who did nothing. Results indicate that aerobic exercise training during a 12-week period has no discernible effects on body fat but does improve cardiorespiratory fitness.

But, again, I'm not saying to toss out the treadmill, because our purpose is in exercise is not about "looking good." It's about feeling good, feeling fit, having a healthy body and mind so that we can do the will of God without the excuses of being too tired to be a cheerful mom, or too exhausted to serve him with joy and excitement. Increased stamina and energy will also go a long, long way toward helping us achieve our weight loss goals through regular weight training and proper eating. With more energy, we will have the stamina we need to cook healthy meals, rather than just opening a box or a bag for breakfast, lunch or dinner. So, by all means...get that cardio going! But just remember, cardio gets your blood moving, and weight training gets your fat moving.

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