Weight Loss Calculators.

Workout Calorie Calculator

This calculator answers common exercise program related weight loss questions, like:

  • How many calories do I burn walking for a mile or an hour?
  • Is walking better than running ?
  • How does bicycling compare to swimming?




Human Evolution & Sedentary Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyles today are much different than they were in the years prior to automation. With technological advances, we live a less active lifestyle. Some of the more prevalent diseases today include stroke, heart disease and cancer. Amazingly, physical activity plays a major role in the reason people suffer with these diseases. Physical activity is as essential to our bodies as nourishment and sleep. Because of this, physical activity needs to be practiced on a daily basis.

The majority of us are aware that exercising helps to reduce the risks of suffering from various diseases and illnesses. Even so, considering starting an exercise program can be overwhelming.

Myths About Exercising

There are myths that help contribute to our inactive lifestyles. Some of these myths are:

  • For exercise to work it has to be painful, ‘no pain, no gain’ theory.
  • Exercising has to be hard.
  • To see improvement and receive the benefits from exercising you cannot do just a little, it is necessary to do a lot.

Not all of these are true. Exercising is about feeling good about yourself, enjoying your life by being physically active and having a healthy body and heart.

Some good exercises that can be done with ease are cycling or walking (instead of driving). Even brisk walking is beneficial and doing it several times weekly will help strengthen your heart.

If you are already suffering with back problems, heart disease, arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, joint pain, are pregnant or are in the process of recovering from an illness talk to your doctor prior to starting any exercise routine.

Benefits of Regular Exercise

  • There is a Reduction in the risk of hypertension (high blood pressure), heart disease and osteoporosis.
  • Increases your bone density, balance and coordination, which is very important for individuals that are 55+.
  • Regular exercise improves stamina, strength, circulation, respiration and flexibility.
  • It will Decrease your heart rate when you are resting. This keeps your heart from working as hard.
  • It also assists in the prevention of constipation and controlling your weight.
  • It reduces stress and helps you feel content.

The Four Different Aspects of Exercise

1. Cardiovascular Fitness

This aspect refers to your lungs, heart, arteries and veins fitness level. All of these are responsible for the processing and transporting of oxygen to your muscles. As you continue to improve your fitness, your heart will start pumping more blood without as many contractions. This is considered a slower or reduced heart rate while at rest.

A slow heart rate while resting means that your heart is now working with efficiency and ease. If you have a high heart rate while resting, your heart is working extremely hard.

Any of the exercises that use oxygen, otherwise known as ‘aerobic exercises,’ are the exercises that improve your cardiovascular fitness.

Determining your Resting Heart Rate

You can determine your heart rate while resting by counting the number of beats your heart makes per minute immediately after waking up and prior to actually getting out of bed.

2. Muscular Strength

When muscles are not used, they shrink. We need to use our muscular strength every day of our lives. Some of these fundamental movements are carrying your grocery bags, lifting your children or even just standing.

3. Endurance

Endurance, is necessary to avoid becoming tired when walking or carrying your grocery bags.

Both endurance and muscle strength are needed to allow for function and mobility, especially in our golden years. Without the ability to be mobile and function, we are unable to live our lives independently.

In addition, muscular tissue burns calories faster than inactive tissue and that is good news for people who want to lose weight. If you exercise with resistance, you will improve your endurance and muscular strength.

4. Flexibility

Flexibility is significant but many times overlooked. Flexibility is the scope of movement you have in your joints. If we lose our flexibility, stiffness will set in, limiting our ability to perform even the simplest of tasks.

Flexibility also assists in reducing the possibility of getting injured and decreases the risk of suffering from low back pain. Some of the exercises you can do to improve your flexibility are yoga and stretching.

Starting an Exercise Routine

Exercise needs to be part of your daily routine. You should also incorporate strength, cardiovascular fitness, flexibility and endurance.

A few basic principles concerning exercise will ensure you gain the greatest benefit possible from your workout and are safely performing the exercises. Some of the safety advice includes how difficult your workout should be, how often and how long to exercise.

Start with a Warm Up and End with a Cool Down

The warm up and cool down are very important for all exercise routines. They assist your body in making the changeover from resting to activity and then back again. It can also help prevent you from injuring your body and being sore. This is especially true for older people.

Depending on what exercise you are doing, your warm up and cool down may be exactly the same, just performed with less intensity.

For instance, if you plan to walk you can walk more slowly for both your warm up as well as your cool down.

Your exercise routine should always include muscle stretching, a warm up and a cool down.

Warming Up

You need to do warm up exercises for five to ten minutes right before starting your exercise session. Older people will usually need a longer warm up period. Some ideal warm up exercises are strengthening, walking and quiet calisthenics.

  • A warm up will decrease the chance of injuring your muscles or joints.
  • It will also increase blood flow to your muscles.
  • You should warm up for between five to ten minutes at an extremely low intensity.

Cooling Down

  • Walking, you should cool down by walking slowly until your heart rate is ten to fifteen beats higher than your heart rate is when resting. Stopping very suddenly can reduce your blood pressure sharply, which is dangerous for people above the age of 55. It may cause your muscles to cramp as well.
  • It will prevent your blood from pooling within your arm and legs.
  • Be sure to gradually reduce your intensity level.


It is important to stretch after your warm up as well as after your cool down. Stretching also reduces the risk of stiffness and injury. It improves flexibility while making your muscles able to perform more easily. One very common error is stretching muscles before they are actually warm. Stretching your muscles when they are cold can injure them. Make sure you stretch the muscles that you are going to use while you exercise.

Slowly breathe in and gently lengthen the muscle until you can feel tension. Then, breathe out; be sure to find a tension that is comfortable. It is important that you can still feel the stretch. Keep breathing slowly and deeply, holding each breath for ten to thirty seconds. Gently and slowly release from the stretch. Be sure not to bounce at all and stop stretching immediately if you feel any kind of pain.

If you are stretching correctly the longer the stretch is held, the less it will be felt. If the muscle begins to tighten, you need to relax it.

You should consider obtaining a video that demonstrates which muscles you need to stretch and the right way to do the stretches.

Warm Up & Cool Down Properly

The warm up and cool down are as important as the exercise routine itself. Take the time to warm up your muscles and joints properly with low-level aerobic exercises for five to ten minutes. Doing this could help you avoid being injured.

Cooling down following your exercise routine for five to ten minutes is also important. By slowly walking and then stretching your muscles, you may have the ability to prevent blood pressure fluctuations and muscle strains.

Exercise FAQs

How Often Should I Work Out?

Physical activity is recommended daily, aerobic exercises are recommended three to five times weekly. Some aerobic exercises are swimming, cycling and brisk walking. It is best to begin your aerobic exercising three times weekly. If you have not been very active, it is best to leave one or two days between the days you are exercising.

How Long Should I Work Out?

The widely accepted minimum amount of time that you should exercise daily is 20 minutes; this amount of time is for exercising only. The cool down and warm up time is not included in the 20-minute routine. Depending on which exercise you are performing the maximum length of time for a workout routine is one hour. If you are just starting your workout routine, start with ten-minute workout routines.

How Difficult Should My Exercises Be?

Your workout routine’s intensity level is also an essential factor when improving your fitness.

You may decide to take a 30-minute walk every day, however, you will not be able to strengthen your heart unless you walk briskly.

A beginner should start their exercise intensity at a low level. Prior to increasing your intensity level, you need to increase your time. Meaning, if you start walking, try to increase the length of time prior to increasing your intensity.

The key to achieving the most benefit is to make sure you are exercising safely, pay attention to how intense your exercise routine is.

This is not as difficult or daunting as it may seem. There are several ways to measure how intense your workout routine is. These tests range from a simple personal test (making sure you still have the ability to talk while you are exercising). You could take your pulse, manually or with a monitor.

The Talking Test

This method is an easy subjective measure that is used to determine how intense your workout routine is. If you have the ability to talk while you are exercising without very much effort, your exercise level is safe.

Rating your Exertion Level

Another easy way to subjectively measure is rating how you are feeling on a scale (from 0 to 20). Your exercise level should be between 12, which is somewhat hard to 16, which is hard. This is the best method for people who are on any of the beta blocking medications, are diabetic or cardiac patients.

Helpful Tips to Remember as you Begin to Develop your Routine

  • Make sure you do not get dehydrated. Drink ample amounts of fluid before, after and during your workout.
  • Be sure not to eat two hours prior to any vigorous exercising.
  • Keep the weather in mind for your outdoor activities and adjust them accordingly. Always reduce your activities when you are sick or fatigued.
  • When you are exercising, make sure to pay attention to any warning systems your body may send. Consult a physician immediately if exercising causes you an irregular heartbeat, chest pain, nausea, unusual fatigue,feeling lightheaded or unexpected breathlessness.

Your Heart Rate

A resting heart rate averages in-between 60 to 80 beats a minute. The resting heart rate is generally lower for physically fit people and usually rises as we age. The best time to determine your heart rate while resting is to take it immediately upon waking up before even getting out of bed. You will want to check your heart rate after a restful night’s sleep, not a night where you tossed and turned unable to sleep.

Determining your maximum heart rate a minute is simple. All you need to do is subtract how old you are from 220. For instance, if you were 41 you would subtract 41 from 220 to find your maximum heart rate: 220 - 41 = 179, your maximum heart rate is 179 beats per minute.

Your target heart rate is in-between 50% to 75% of what your maximum heart rate is. It is important to measure your pulse periodically while you are exercising to ensure you remain within your target range. After exercising regularly for approximately 6 months, you may have the ability to increase your targeted heart rate to about 85%, however, only raise it if you feel comfortable enough to do so.

Some heart medications can lower your target and maximum heart rates. Always be sure to consult your physician prior to starting any exercise program.

A swimmers targeted heart rate should be 75% of the maximum minus 12 beats a minute. Swimming does not raise your heart rate as much as land sports. This is because of what they call the ‘diving reflex,’ which makes the heart automatically slow down while your body is beneath the water.

Your Heart Rate & Aerobic Exercise

Your heart rate is the typical guide for deciding the intensity of your aerobic exercise. Using the heart rate is especially helpful for those who have cardiac health concerns and have a heart rate restriction that their physician has recommended.

Your heart rate is determined by the use of a monitor specialized to measure your heart rate, or by just counting your heart beats (pulse) manually.

Checking your Heart Rate Manually

Press your index finger and middle finger of your dominant hand gently under your jaw on the left or right side of the front of your neck or on your wrist (if you are using the wrist method, use the inside of your wrist). You will feel a weak pounding while your blood moves through the artery. Each ‘pound’ you feel is considered a beat.

You want to know the number of beats per minute. The first beat you feel is considered zero. Some people prefer to count the number of beats using the second hand on a clock for fifteen seconds and then multiply that number by four to get their rate per minute or count your heartbeats for thirty seconds and multiply that number by two.

It is important to note that your results will be more accurate the longer you actually count your heartbeats. It is a good practice to check your pulse after you have exercised for approximately five minutes and, then again, about five minutes before you stop exercising.

You may need to stop exercising to take your pulse, be sure to take your pulse immediately because your pulse will slow down very quickly.

The Three Categories of Exercise

For the majority of people, exercise is divided into three categories:

  • Endurance or Aerobic
  • Flexibility
  • Resistance or Strength

A balanced exercise program needs to include all of these categories. Speed training is another major category, but, for the most part, only athletes involved in competitions practice it.

Endurance (Aerobic) Training

The benefits of regular aerobic exercise:

  • You build your endurance.
  • Protect yourself from stroke, heart attack dementia, diabetes, colon cancer, breast cancer, depression and early death.
  • It will boost your HDL levels, which is your ‘good’ cholesterol.
  • Aerobic exercise strengthens your spine and bones.
  • It keeps your heart pumping steadily and at a high rate for an extended period.
  • It will help to control your high blood pressure.
  • Aerobic exercise improves your sense of well-being.
  • It also helps you to maintain a normal weight.

Kinds of Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercise can be categorized as low or high intensity. The aerobic exercise that is high intensity is classified even further as high or low impact.

Some of these exercises include:

High-Impact Exercises:

  • -Dance Exercise
  • Running
  • Tennis
  • Squash
  • Racquetball

Only perform exercises that are high-impact every other day. You may need to exercise less if you are overweight, older, injured or have any other medical problem that high-impact exercise would not be advised.

Moderate to Low-Impact Exercises:

  • Swimming
  • Stair Climbing
  • Walking
  • Cross Country Skiing
  • Rowing
  • Step Classes

Almost anyone that is in decent health can do some of the low or moderate impact exercises. In fact, brisk walking will burn the same amount of calories as jogging as long as you go the same distance. This is crucial information because brisk walking is less likely to cause an injury.

Aerobic Regimens

Even if you only do one hour of aerobic exercises per week, it is still helpful. However, three to four hours weekly is recommended.

Some research has indicated that walking briskly for a few hours a week will reduce your risk for heart disease by almost half (45%).

The guidelines below are useful for the majority of individuals:

  • The best method for the majority of young adults that are considered healthy is a combination of the low and high impact exercise. Just two workouts per week will assist in maintaining fitness. However, three to five workouts weekly are better.
  • People who are 55+ years or are not in shape should begin their aerobic training gradually. For instance, starting with five to ten minutes of aerobic activity that is low-impact every other day is recommended. They should set a goal to work toward thirty minutes per day, three to seven days a week. For protection of their heart, the weekly total is important.
  • Anyone who suffers with physical limitations or those individuals that are 55+ should consider swimming as one of their aerobic exercises. People considered to have limitations physically are those who suffer with asthma that is exercise-induced, pregnant women and those individuals that have bone, muscle or joint problems.
  • People seeking to lose excess weight should concentrate on the calories they burn weekly, not how many workout sessions they do.

Tips for Ensuring a Comfortable & Safe Workout

1. Shoes

All that is needed for your workout is a great pair of shoes. These shoes need to be made well and fit well. Make sure you break them in, but do not wear them down prior to beginning your workout routine. Your shoes should provide cushion when you walk and support your ankle for some of the impact sports. It is important to air out your shoes and your feet following your exercising routine. Doing this will reduce the likelihood of contracting athlete’s foot or any other skin conditions.

2. Clothing

Safety and comfort are the most important factors when it comes to your workout clothing. If you are going to exercise outside at night, you need light-colored clothes and a reflective vest for safety. Inline skaters, equestrians and bikers should always think of safety by wearing devices such as wrist guards, elbow and knee pads and helmets. Goggles are a mandatory accessory for all indoor racquet sports. If you are going to be involved in vigorous activities, ankle braces could be more effective than just putting tape on to prevent ankle injuries.

Aerobic-Exercise Equipment

The nice thing about home exercise machines is that they can be adapted for individual fitness level needs. They can also be used during the day or at night. Before you invest in an exercise machine, it is a good idea to try the machine at the gym to make sure it is what you want. Also, you may need to have supervised training to reduce the risk of injuring yourself. Self-instruction can sometimes cause injuries if you are not doing the exercise in the correct manner.

Observations on Some Specific Equipment

  • It is very important to have a high-quality floor mat to supply adequate cushioning for all your home exercises.
  • The treadmill is considered the best way to burn calories.
  • Some believe that an elliptical trainer may be better than a treadmill for oxygen consumption, calorie expenditure and increasing your heart rate.
  • A common jump rope helps to improve aerobic endurance for those individuals who have the ability to perform the high-impact exercises. To avoid any injuries to your joints, you need to jump rope on a good floor mat that is on a surface that will ‘give.’
  • Stair machines condition your leg muscles. They offer a very low-impact and intense workout. It is thought that they may be just as effective as running; however, there is less chance of injuring yourself.
  • Ski (cross-country) and Rowing machines exercise the lower and upper body.
  • Stationary bikes are economical and are safe and easy to use. They condition your leg muscles. When looking to purchase a bike, make sure the pedals turn smoothly, the height of the seat should be easily adjusted and the computer on the bike should have the ability to adjust the intensity.

Resistance or Strength Training

Benefits of Strength Exercises

Aerobic exercises increase your hearts endurance; however, it does not build any upper body strength or even tone your muscles. The benefits of strength training are:

  • It helps you to maintain your bone density.
  • Strength training builds your muscle strength while you are burning fat.
  • It also assists in lowering your LDL levels, which is your ‘bad’ cholesterol, therefore lowering your risk of developing heart disease.

Everyone can benefit from strength training, even individuals that are 90+ years. Strength training is the only kind of exercise that has the ability to slow and reverse declines in bone density, muscle mass, and the loss of strength that occurs with aging.

People who are at risk for cardiovascular disease should check with their physician prior to performing any strengthening exercises.

Muscle Contractions and What They Mean

There are three kinds of muscle contractions associated with strength training:

  • There are concentric contractions that shorten the muscles. For instance, the ‘up’ phase of a bicep curl.
  • Isometric contractions will not change the muscle length. One example is pushing against the wall.
  • Eccentric contractions will lengthen the muscles. For instance, the pushing ‘down’ phase you do when you are lowering weights.

Strength-Training Regimens

Strength training involves short-duration, intense activities. For a beginner, adding ten to twenty minutes of more modest strength training for two or three times weekly is appropriate.

Guidelines for Beginning a Strength Training Regimen

  • The strength training sequence should start with training your multiple joints and larger muscles at a higher intensity. You should end your session with single joint, small muscle exercises at a lower intensity.
  • It is important to do both lengthening and shortening muscle actions. Put emphasis on the movements that lengthen your muscles. This involves increasing the duration and slowing the ‘down’ movements of the exercise. It seems that doing this will significantly increase your blood flow. Some evidence even suggests that this action may also achieve stronger muscles quicker.
  • Exercises that lengthen the muscles may be especially beneficial for people that are 55+ and those suffering with health problems that are considered chronic. This kind of training does increase the risk for experiencing muscle soreness and the possibility of an injury (this approach is considered controversial).

What Strength Training Involves

Strength training is moving particular muscles in the identical pattern against a force of resistance (weights) for a predetermined number of times (repetition).

How to Know Where to Begin

  1. People should choose their beginning weight by determining what half of their maximum effort is with one repetition. For example, if their maximum effort would be doing a single repetition with a ten-pound dumbbell, the person would begin with a dumbbell that weighs five pounds.
  2. The majority of people can begin their strength training with one set of eight to fifteen repetitions for each muscle group using low weights. Once individuals have the ability to do one or two repetitions of their routine, they can increase their weight between two to ten percent.

Proper Technique for Strength-Training


  • You want to breathe rhythmically and slowly.
  • You will exhale as you begin the movement.
  • You need to inhale when you return to your starting point.

Amount of Time for Each Repetition

  • The first part of each of your repetitions will usually last between two to three seconds.
  • Returning to your original position lasts about four seconds.
  • Your joints should move rhythmically and through their entire range of motion during each repetition. Be sure not to lock the joint up while you are exercising.

To receive the maximum benefit of strength training you should allow 48 hours between your workouts to let your muscles fully recover.

Strength-Training Equipment-Least Expensive

Aerobic exercise can be done without equipment; however, strength training will always require some kind of equipment. The equipment does not necessarily have to cost any money.

  • Any object having weight that can be held can be used as a dumbbell. An example is a plastic bottle that has been filled with water or sand.
  • Weights that are wearable can help to tone and strengthen the upper body.
  • Hand grips assist in strengthening your arms and help to relieve tension.
  • Ankle weights will tone and strengthen the muscles in your lower body. It is important to remember that these weights should not be worn while jumping or performing any high-impact aerobics.
  • You can use resistance bands or dumbbells because they are effective, portable and inexpensive.
  • You can mount a pull-up bar for pull-ups and chin-ups in one of your doorways.

Strength-Training Equipment & Machines

There is a variety of home equipment for strengthening your muscles available on the market. Some of these machines are more elaborate, which makes them more expensive. These devices and machines cost between $100 to more than $1,000. You should always consult with a professional trainer prior to purchasing or using any strength training equipment. Doing so will help reduce the risk of you injuring yourself and ensure you receive the best results possible from your workout.

Stretching (Flexibility) Training Benefits

Flexibility is obtained by stretching. Many of the stretching exercises are especially beneficial for your back. Flexibility training will provide the benefits listed below:

  • Stretching will prevent stiffness, injuries and cramping.
  • It will also improve your range of motion because stretching assists with your muscle and joint movements.

Flexibility and the Reduction of Stress

There are certain practices that use stretching to increase flexibility coupled with breathing techniques and meditation to reduce stress. A couple of these are tai chi and yoga. Practicing these techniques has a variety of mental and health benefits. These practices may be extremely beneficial for people that are 55+ and for patients suffering with particular chronic diseases.

Flexibility Training Regimen

Physicians generally recommend between ten to twelve minutes of stretching exercises no less than three times weekly.

Proper Technique for Flexibility Training

  • When doing a stretch, exhale and then extend your muscles until you feel tension, but not to the point of pain.
  • Hold that stretch for twenty to sixty seconds. Beginners can start with a five to ten second stretch and slowly work their way up to the longer stretch time.
  • Make sure you breathe evenly and continually while you are holding the stretch. Do not hold your breath.
  • Inhale while you are returning to the relaxed position. Remember that holding your breath will defeat the purpose because it will cause your muscles to contract and will raise your blood pressure.
  • When you are doing any stretches that involve your back, you need to relax your spine. By relaxing the spine you will keep your lower back even with the mat. This will help you to work only the muscles that are necessary for changing position. Usually, these are your abdominal muscles.

Motivation for People 55+ Years to Start Exercising Today

Studies have shown that beginning an exercise regimen can always be beneficial, no matter what your age. Elderly adults can increase their balance, flexibility, agility, and body strength significantly by exercising twice weekly. Even the smallest improvements in your physical fitness can prolong your life and your ability to continue living independently. A recent study showed that men who became more physically active at 50 years old had a reduction in their mortality rate that was similar to the reduction rate of those who had quit smoking (this study was based on a follow up of 35 years).

After these men increased their physical activity for ten years, their mortality rate in their age group was the same as men who were extremely physically active throughout their entire adult lives.

Exercise Tips Tailored for People 55+ Years

Any person 55+ should visit their physician for a complete medical examination and physical. They also need to receive professional instruction prior to starting any exercise program.

Be sure you start with low weight and go slow. Inactive older individuals should consider beginning with at least one of the programs listed below because they are safe, yet helpful.

  • Step/gait training
  • Low-impact aerobic exercises
  • Tai chi
  • Lower leg resistance training with the use of ankle weights or elastic tubing
  • Balancing exercises
  • Self-paced walking

Even in nursing homes there are programs that are aimed at improving the gait, balance, flexibility and strength of the residents’ because of the significant benefits they receive.

Strength training becomes even more important as we age. After we reach the age of 30, our bodies begin the process of muscular atrophy (weakening). By adding resistance to your exercise program, you can reduce or even reverse the process of atrophy. With resistance training only one day a week, you will improve your overall agility and strength. Strength training also helps to improve your blood vessel and heart health.

Flexibility exercises help by promoting healthy growth of muscles, assisting in the reduction of stiffness and helps reduce the loss of balance that typically occurs with aging. Those who cannot walk can perform chair exercises.

Older women may suffer incontinence issues while they are exercising. These ‘accidents’ can be prevented or at least reduced by regularly performing Kegel exercises and limiting fluid intake (do not risk dehydration). Voiding frequently and using products to assist with leakage prevention is also helpful.

Best Low Impact Exercises that Burn a Large Number of Calories

Some are fooled by the term ‘low-impact,’ however; they are the perfect addition to your workout routine for weight loss. Low-impact aerobic exercises give you a workout that burns calories and is less stressful on your body. Low-impact exercises are recommended for those individuals that are pregnant, overweight, injured, new to exercising or suffering with a chronic condition that makes high-impact activities unsafe.

1. Walking

Walking is a very popular low-impact exercise. It does not cost anything to begin a walking routine. However, you may want to purchase a very sturdy yet comfortable pair of walking shoes.

On the days when the weather is not cooperating, you can use a treadmill. Some people purchase treadmills while others just use the treadmill at his or her local gym.

A treadmill is a piece of equipment that has functions to allow the user the ability to control the duration and speed of his or her workout. The calories the individual burns will depend on their weight as well as the amount of energy put into each step. For example, a person weighing 160 pounds will burn 276 calories an hour while walking briskly (3.5 miles an hour). If the pace is picked up to 4 mph, he will burn 363 calories.

2. Bicycling/Cycling

Stationary cycling and bicycling are very easy on your joints. The recumbent stationary exercise bikes are more beneficial for a beginner because of the added back support they offer. Intensity is also important when it comes to bicycling/cycling.

For example, a person weighing 160 pounds will burn 290 calories while cycling at five and a half miles per hour for an hour. Spin classes are available and provide one with a motivational workout within a group setting. Despite the fact that you have the ability to burn a large number of calories while participating in these classes, ACE has cautioned that some of these classes may be difficult for the beginner because they are too vigorous. If you are just beginning your cycling routine, cycle at the pace that feels right to you. Do not feel pressured to keep up with the other members of the class.

3. Elliptical machines

Eliptical machines will give you a very thorough workout while decreasing the stress on your body that is generally associated with working out.

The stress is decreased on your knees, back and hips. The reason this is a less stressful exercise is because both of your feet are grounded the whole time. The elliptical machine is equipped with a set of handles that look like ski poles. Because of this, the upper body is worked as well.

With a treadmill, the upper body is not addressed. Elliptical machines also burn a lot of calories. For example, a 160 pound individual will burn approximately 371 calories by exercising at a moderate intensity level for 45 minutes on the elliptical machine.

4. Water Aerobics/Swimming

Water Aerobics/Swimming will slim and tone the entire body. All your muscle groups are utilized when you are swimming or doing water aerobics. When swimming you need to keep a steady pace throughout your workout. If you are looking to exercise with a group, consider joining a water aerobics class. Swimming is a very low-impact exercise that will burn a large number of calories. For example, a person who weighs 160 pounds will burn approximately 254 calories if he or she swims at a casual pace for thirty minutes.

Exercise & Weight Loss

When you are attempting to lose those extra pounds, exercise and a healthy, reduced calorie diet are necessities. ACE has recommended individuals should burn 250 calories daily with exercise and physical activity and take another 250 calories off his or her healthy, reduced calorie diet. Following these guidelines will ensure that there is a slow but steady weight loss of approximately one pound weekly.

Swimming and cycling, although low-impact, are exhausting when they are performed vigorously. Sometimes they are not appropriate for individuals suffering from certain physical health issues. Be sure to always consider safety first and ease yourself into your new exercise routine until you have built up your endurance.

Males over the age of 40, Female over the age of 50 or those suffering with any serious injuries or medical conditions need to check with their physician prior to engaging in any vigorous exercises.

A Short & Intense Workout vs. a Long & Moderate Workout

Expert Advice by Diet & Fitness Expert Dr. Melinda Jampolis

Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans that was released by the Dept. of Health & Human Services in 2008 recommended that adults from the age of 18 to 64 should engage in no less than two and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercises weekly.

If the individual would rather work out vigorously, they would need to do an intense activity such as running for an hour and fifteen minutes per week. Considering these guidelines, which workout is best is determined by what the individuals exercise goals are.

When considering your heart health, moderate exercise for approximately 30 minutes five times weekly. To improve your fitness level it is probably more beneficial to exercise for shorter periods of time but at a higher-intensity level.

The best approach for your fitness, weight loss and health is exercising at different intensities throughout the week. For instance, do a couple moderate-intensity but longer workouts and then do several high-intensity but shorter workouts.

You can even incorporate interval training if you like. Interval training means alternating moderate and more intense exercise periods.

By alternating your high-intensity and low-intensity exercises during one workout, you can exercise at an overall average that is more intense, which will improve your fitness and burn more calories.

This kind of training also assists in preventing the weight loss plateaus that can occur. These plateaus occur during weight loss that is accompanied by exercise because the trimmer or fitter you are, the less calories you will burn doing the exact same workout.

recommendsthat her patients include interval training in their workout regimen at lease twice weekly for 20 to 30 minutes. There is not any special equipment needed and interval training is an indoor or outdoor activity.

Ways to Maximize your Calorie Burn Rates

Fat Burning Foods

Some foods help you burn off additional fat than you ingested by consuming them. The most important thing to remember is to only eat and drink until you feel satisfied and choose the foods that will burn more of the calories than you will actually consume. Doing this will assist your body in burning up the excess fat that has been stored.

If you have a good exercise program, eat the fat burning foods that are listed below to help you burn more calories by increasing your metabolism. With these foods, you will burn calories faster even hours after you have completed exercising.

These foods are:

  • Asparagus
  • Apples
  • Artichokes
  • Apricots
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Blackberries
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Blueberries
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherries
  • Cod
  • Chives
  • Cranberries
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Crabs
  • Eggplant
  • Flounder
  • Grapes
  • Grapefruit
  • Garlic
  • Green beans
  • Kale
  • Honeydew
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Lemons
  • Lobster
  • Limes
  • Mushrooms
  • Mangoes
  • Nectarines
  • Onions
  • Okra
  • Oranges
  • Peaches
  • Papaya
  • Pears
  • Parsley
  • Peppers
  • Peas
  • Pineapple
  • Pumpkin
  • Prunes
  • Red cabbage
  • Radishes
  • Raspberries
  • Scallions
  • Spinach
  • Sauerkraut
  • Squash
  • String beans
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Tangerines
  • Watermelon

A report from Michael Zemel, a Professor of Nutrition & Medicine at the University of Tennessee states that if you would compare a diet that is rich in dairy with a diet that is poor in dairy you can almost double the rate that fat and weight was lost with the identical calorie restrictions.

This shows that the calcium that is found in dairy can boost your weight loss by increasing the breakdown of fat in the fat cells. Because of this, dairy products could be considered fat burning foods. These foods include cheese, yogurt and milk.

You should start approaching these fat burning foods by implementing a healthy and sensible eating plan. Begin a workout program that you can enjoy and most importantly, stick with it!

Know your Fat Burning Zone

If you are exercising because you are looking to drop a few pounds, you should know that the most weight loss would be achieved by working out in your individual ‘fat burning zone.’ Your ‘zone’ will be approximately sixty to seventy percent of your heart rate at its maximum.

Workouts with lower intensity are fantastic for building your endurance; however, they are not always your best choice if you want to lose weight. The body burns a higher percentage of fat calories while you are working out at lower intensities or you are in your ‘fat burning zone.’ However, in-between 70% to 90% of your heart rates maximum, you begin burning a larger number of your overall calories that is what are most important when you are trying to lose weight.

For example:

The fat calories that are expended by a woman weighing 130 pounds during cardio exercise are listed below.

Low Intensity is 60 to 65% of her Maximum Heart Rate

  • Total Number of Calories that are Expended Per Minute 4.86
  • Fat Calories that are Expended Per Minute 2.43
  • Total Number of Calories that are Expended Every 30 minutes 146
  • Total Fat Calories that are Expended Every 30 Minutes 73
  • The Percentage of the Fat Calories that are Burned 50%

High Intensity is 80 to 85% of her Maximum Heart Rate

  • Total Number of Calories that are Expended Per Minute 6.86
  • Fat Calories that are Expended Per Minute 2.7
  • Total Number of Calories that are Expended Every 30 Minutes 206
  • Total Fat Calories that are Expended Every 30 Minutes 82
  • The Percentage of the Fat Calories that are Burned 39.85%

According to this example, the 130 pound woman burns more fat calories and total calories at the higher intensity. This does not mean that lower intensity exercises do not have a place. Actually, endurance workouts need to be a routine part of your complete exercise regimen combined with a shorter and higher intensity workout or interval workout. This is a fantastic way to build endurance while burning calories.

Popular Workouts

Some of the more popular workouts for the younger generation are:

  • Power 90®
  • P90X®
  • TurboFire®
  • Slim in 6®
  • 10-Minute Trainer®
  • Power 90®

For those 55+ there is a workout program called Tony & the Folks!

Tips to Burn Fat

Be Consistent

  • We all know that a regular exercise can assist in burning fat and losing weight. However, it is not only about the calories you are burning. Your body adapts to your exercise routine when you exercise regularly. Many of these adaptations directly affect your ability to burn even more fat without trying any harder. When you exercise on a regular basis, your body will benefit greatly. Some of these benefits are listed below:
  • Your body will become more efficient in the delivery and extraction of oxygen, which will help burn your fat more efficiently.
  • Your body will have better circulation, which helps the fatty acids move efficiently through your blood into your muscle. This means that fat is readily available to fuel your body.
  • Exercising regularly increases the amount and size of the mitochondria, which are also known as the powerhouse of the cells and are responsible for providing energy to your body.
  • Regular exercise also assists in managing your weight. The more activities you do, the more calories you will burn which will make it easier to meet the calorie deficit that is needed to lose your excess weight.

Tips to Ensure Consistent Exercise

  • Schedule yourself some exercise time daily, even if it is only a couple of minutes.
  • Split your workouts up. The same benefit is received from shorter workouts that are spread throughout your day as with a continuous workout once daily.
  • Try to change your daily routines to help incorporate more activity. For instance, park at the far end of the parking lot to increase your walking time. Even if you do not have time for a scheduled workout, staying active throughout the day will be helpful to your weight loss venture and your health.
  • Schedule your day around your exercise routine, instead of just trying to squeeze your workout in somewhere. The reality is that if you do not make it a priority, you will not do it.

Lift Weights

If you add more muscle lifting weights this can help you burn fat. This is especially true if you are dieting as well.

Building muscle by lifting weights has many benefits. Some of these benefits are listed below:

  • Lifting weights helps to preserve your muscle mass. When you diet for the sake of weight loss, you risk the loss of muscle with the loss of fat. Because muscles are metabolically active when you lose muscle, you will also lose the added calorie-burn that muscles provide.
  • Lifting weights will keep your metabolism moving. Some of the studies suggest that dieting alone for weight loss can actually lower an individual’s metabolic rate while they are resting as much as 20% daily! By maintaining muscle with weight lifting, your metabolism will remain higher even if you are cutting back on calories.
  • Lifting weights will help you to burn more calories.

When we are attempting to lose fat, we all know that there is not a magic exercise, pill or workout. The reality is that we do not have to push our bodies too much to enter the fat burning mode. Try to incorporate some kind of activity daily, even if you just take a brisk walk. Try to gradually raise your activity level and before you know it you will be burning more fat than you did before.

If you have ever tried running or jump roping, you most likely noticed how your heart rate shot up. However, if you are unable to or just do not want to participate in high-impact exercises here are some alternatives. Below are a few of the more popular low-impact workout activities and some tricks to ensure you get the most out of your workout.


Proper Walking Technique to Ensure Maximum Benefits

One mistake many of us make is walking too slowly to raise our heart rate. Just picking up your walking pace can help raise your workouts intensity.

Consider interval training and add a short burst of speed or a steep hill to your walking routine. Doing this will increase your workouts intensity and your calorie-burn as well.

Always use your arms. Make sure you are using your arms. If you are walking on a treadmill, do not continue to hold on as this lowers the intensity of your workout. If you are outside be sure to swing your arms back and forth to keep your workouts intensity up. Do not hold weights while you are walking, it can cause injuries. However, you can consider walking poles as an alternative.

Mix it up, if walking is the only source of cardio in your workout, cross train with some other activities to challenge your body. Walking is part of our everyday life and we are good at it. By learning something new your fat loss and endurance will get a boost.

Walking Up the Stairs

Whether you are walking up a real set of stairs or the staircase as it revolves at the gym, it can be a very intense workout and is a great way to increase your heart rate.


Hiking is another difficult but low-impact activity, especially if you are hiking an incline. The terrain continuously changes which requires added work from your lower body. The large muscles in the body are used when walking up a mountain. These include the hips, thighs and gluteal muscles; this is precisely what you need for an intense cardiovascular workout.

Step Aerobics

If you like participating in choreographed exercises, but do not like the pounding of aerobics, consider doing step aerobics.

Because you are stepping up onto a platform, you will usually be able to increase your heart rate without jumping. By using your arms, you can add even more intensity to your workout.

Other Low-Impact Alternatives

Other activities that offer high intensity workouts with little impact include swimming, cycling, cross-country skiing, rowing or the Versaclimber. All of these activities can be considered intense if worked hard enough.

You may also consider cross training with some impact activities to challenge your body in various ways.

Adding Intensity

In order to make low impact exercises work is just to work slightly harder. Involving your whole body is the key to accomplishing this. Here are some ideas to help intensify your workouts:

Go a little faster. By going slightly faster your workouts will be just a little more difficult.

Put your upper body into it. By adding upper body movements, you can increase your overall intensity. Just swing your arms as you walk or raise your arms over your head during a step. Choose machines at the gym that offer upper body movement as well.

Use exaggerated movements. For instance, if you march in place, you could intensify the movement by raising your knees up higher and circling your arms over your head.

You can add lunges or squats and side steps to your typical walking workout to increase your workouts intensity.

The top five reasons to change your routine periodically

  1. If you continue to do the same workout for long periods of time, your body will get used to it. You become more efficient at the movement because you have learned the movement. By increasing your efficiency, you will begin to burn less calories while doing the same exercise. You have the ability to avoid this by changing your routine every so often.
  2. If you do the same workout continuously, you will eventually get sick of it. This could lead you to stop exercising altogether.
  3. New exercises offering different movement helps you to strengthen your muscle and increase more ranges of motion.
  4. If you are stuck on an exercise plateau, change your routine. Try different exercises. By doing this, your muscles will have to adapt to the new movement and this will help you break through the plateau.
  5. If you exercise in a group class, take a couple classes that are different from usual. Doing this will give you a different kind of workout and allow you to meet some new people.

Walking or Running to Lose Weight, Which is Better?

In his article ‘Moderate or Vigorous Intensity Exercise: What Should we Prescribe? In ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal, Dr. Swain states that running will burn twice the calories that walking will. This is good news for individuals who are interested in losing body fat.

If you are not a runner at heart, there are still a few options to consider, they are just not as good. Swain stated in his article an individual weighing 136 pounds would burn about 50 calories a mile. A heavier individual will expend more calories. For example, an individual weighing 163 pounds will burn 60 calories, which is a 20% increase that is equal to the 20% increase between the two individuals weight.

Swain stated that running does burn twice the calories. A runner that runs seven miles an hour, will burn approximately 100 calories in about eight and a half minutes, which breaks down to eleven calories per minute.

A person who walks four miles an hour will burn approximately 50 calories in fifteen minutes. That is under four calories a minute. The runner burns almost three times the calories of a walker per minute.

If you are unable to run for any reason, just remember walking is a good form of exercise as well.

How Far Should I Run?

The majority of people begin to run because they are interested in losing weight. Running is one of the most vigorous exercises we can do. It is a very efficient way to burn excess calories and therefore lose the weight.

A person who weighs 150 pounds will burn about 100 calories each mile when they are running. To burn 500 calories, this individual needs to run five miles.

How Long Should My Workout Be?

There is no specific amount of time that will work for everyone. Weight loss is achieved by burning more calories than you take in. The amount of time you need to exercise will vary, depending on how many calories you have eaten on a given day. This is the reason that diet and exercise need to be done concurrently, otherwise you will not see any results if you eat just as many calories as you burn in your workout.

Calorie Counting

It is important to keep accurate records when it comes to your calorie intake per day. However, this is only a portion of the puzzle.

After you know how many calories you have consumed, you can find out how many calories you need to burn for that given day. You need to burn 3500 calories to lose one pound. That means if you are burning 300 calories each workout, it will take approximately 12 workouts for you to lose one pound.

If you diet and get rid of about 300 calories daily, you will be able to double your weight loss results to two pounds every 12 workouts.

To accomplish this, you may need to cut between 250 to 500 calories out of your diet and then burn an additional 250 to 500 calories daily. What really matters is how many calories you are able to burn while you are exercising.

Burning More Calories

To burn more calories, you should do cardio exercises with varying intensities. Circuit training is considered one of the higher calorie burning exercises.

Because it burns more calories, you will spend less time working out in the gym. Cross training will keep the amount of calories you burn elevated. Cross training means that you vary your activities each day. This variety keeps your muscles ‘confused.’ this helps you to burn more calories. The most important thing is the number of calories you burn during an exercise. Use that information to determine the length of time you should exercise.

Developing & Maintaining an Exercise Routine

It is not easy to stay motivated to continue exercising, particularly when you are just starting to get into shape.

If you are attempting to lose weight and make your exercise routine a habit, there is not very much of a difference between those who exercise on a regular basis and you. Maintaining consistency relies heavily on how you think.

The ‘Doldrums’

Some trends seem to go hand in hand with beginning an exercising regimen. After approximately six to twelve weeks, the ‘doldrums’ will begin to set in and many people choose to quit.

The conclusions mentioned here are not based on any kind of ‘scientific study,’ instead; it is based on the experiences of Paige Waehner, who is a certified personal trainer. She noticed that after the initial excitement of beginning a new exercise program, something happens. The enthusiasm begins to fade and the majority of her clients have not seen any significant results. The mixture is devastating; this is when many people decide to stop working out.

Unfortunately, many people decide to quit right before they are about to succeed with making their routine habit and visually noticing their weight loss.

Listed below are some of the common mistakes people make that contribute to quitting their exercise routine:

  • People who are just beginning their workout routine tend to work too hard. They try to do as much exercising as the veteran exercisers do. By starting easy and gradually adding to your workout, you will enjoy your workouts much more and allow your body to adjust to your new exercise routine.

  • Many people tend to focus on the scale. It is important to remember that weight loss does not happen immediately.

    For some, it can take months to see any considerable changes.
  • When you start a program, you need to set measurable goals such as exercising a certain number of times weekly. If you are strength training, make a goal of lifting a particular amount of weight.

    Some people make a practice of comparing themselves to others. If your friend loses weight faster than you do, it does not mean there is something wrong with you. Everyone loses fat at varying rates. Keep focused on your accomplishments, not anyone else’s.

    If you do not see results yet, do not give up, you are definitely getting some kind of benefit from working out on a regular basis. Chances are that you are sleeping better which gives you extra energy and with that a better life.

    Some people just do not work hard enough at their workouts. Some people do not take their intensity level high enough to get results. You need to learn the correct way to monitor your intensity level while exercising.

Developing a Winning Workout Attitude

Some other issues can make it difficult to reach your goals. As was mentioned previously, the only difference between a struggling exerciser and a veteran exerciser is the way they think. There are a few examples listed below:

I really do not feel like working out today.

Quitter Thinks- I quit
Veteran Thinks- Maybe I will just warm up today, if I still am not interested in exercising then I will stop.

I am so bored with this workout.

Quitter Thinks- I quit
Veteran Thinks- Maybe I should try a new exercise today.

I am just too worried to exercise today.

Quitter Thinks- I quit
Veteran Thinks- I will feel much more relaxed if I am able to workout for a few minutes.

I skipped several workouts already, what is the sense?

Quitter Thinks- I quit
Veteran Thinks- I got off track, but I really need to resume my routine. No doubt, I will be back on track in no time.

I have not dropped any weight at all.

Quitter Thinks- I quit
Veteran Thinks- If I give up now, I will never see any long-term results.

I just cannot find the time for a workout routine.

Quitter Thinks- I quit
Veteran Thinks- I will do whatever I can until things settle down. Some exercise is definitely better than no exercise.

Energy Drinks

Why are energy drinks bad for you?

Whenever people discuss the possible dangers related to energy drinks, their high content of caffeine is generally the first topic that comes to mind. It is very true that the active ingredient in the majority of the popular energy drinks is caffeine.

Caffeine is not the healthiest product available on the market; however, there are other harmful ingredients in energy drinks. Caffeine just happens to be the popular ingredient. Not all the ingredients found in energy drinks are bad for you. However, we are going to look at the ingredients that are bad for your body that are found in them.

Some of the bad ingredients in energy drinks include; artificial sweeteners, carbonated water and sugar.


Sugar is found in high levels in the majority of energy drinks. Many of the energy drinks have much more sugar content than would be found in a bottle of pop. Even though sugar can provide a fast pick me up, this boost of energy is short lived and is usually followed by a very unpleasant crash. This happens because the energy affects from sugar dissipate very quickly.

These high levels of sugar also give these energy drinks a lot of calories. The sugar levels that are found in many of these energy drinks can actually contribute to problems with your insulin.

Another major concern that has surfaced recently is the increase in obesity of children, teens as well as young adults. These age groups are primarily targeted by most of the marketing campaigns for energy drinks.

Another ingredient that is many times overlooked is carbonation. Some people believe that carbonation is to blame for reducing amounts of calcium in the bones, which may lead to early onset of osteoporosis.

Taurine & Caffeine

Taurine is an ingredient in energy drinks that is highly controversial. Interestingly, energy supplements containing taurine and caffeine have an extensive history of being forbidden in some countries because of the lack of information available concerning the possible dangers when these two ingredients are combined.

Taurine naturally occurs in fish and meats. There are excessive amounts of taurine in most of the energy drinks on the market. Because there have not been any intensive studies that found decisive evidence on the effect of the combination of caffeine and taurine on humans, some energy drinks are banned in Denmark, Norway, France and Uruguay.

When taurine and caffeine are combined in energy drinks, some believe that this mixture can cause neurophysiological problems and may have contributed to several deaths. Because of the possibility of the health risks that surround the combination of taurine and caffeine, energy drinks in the United States and Canada are required to have warning labels.

When should someone slow down or stop exercising?

Being active is quite safe most of the time. In rare cases, however, problems may arise. It is important to know some of the signs and symptoms of when you should stop exercising.

Heart Disease Symptoms for Men

Stop exercising:

  • If you feel discomfort or chest pain that feels like squeezing, pressure, heaviness or pain. This pain will probably be located in the center of your chest and then spread over the front of your chest or even radiate down your shoulders, neck, back and arms.
  • If you have any of these symptoms, you need to stop exercising and then sit down or lie down, whichever is most comfortable for you. If this pain continues for more than a few minutes (2 to 4), you need to get to an emergency room right away. If necessary, dial ‘911’ to request an ambulance.
  • If the pain does stop, but comes back every time you try to exercise, you need to see your physician.

Heart Disease Symptoms for Women

The warning signs of heart disease are not the same for women and men. Women’s symptoms tend to be more subtle. If you or any woman you know has these symptoms, you need to get help immediately.

Feeling as if they are unable to breathe, many times there will be no chest pain whatsoever.

Watch for symptoms similar to the flu, especially clamminess, cold sweats or nausea.

She may also have weakness, dizziness or fatigue that cannot be explained.

Neck, shoulders, back or jaw pain for no apparent reason or feeling anxious.

If you suspect or feel any of these symptoms, you need to contact a physician. If this is an urgent situation, call ‘911’ or go to an emergency room. If you are doubtful, do not take any chances, better safe than sorry.

Call your physician immediately if you have lightheadedness, severe nausea, sweating or shortness of breath.

These symptoms may be signs of a serious heart condition.

Knowing When to Stop Exercising is Important

Only do the exercises that you can safely do during your exercise sessions. Increase your stamina and fitness gradually. Make sure you are consistent. Always use your common sense and consider your current fitness level.

Always stop if you feel like you need to stop. Visit your physician or health-care provider as is necessary.


Angina is a constriction or severe pain that wraps around your heart and usually radiates to your left shoulder and then down your left arm. Sometimes this pain will radiate into the jaw or abdomen as well. Angina occurs because the heart is not getting a sufficient amount of blood.

Drop in Systolic Pressure

If you have a rather significant drop in the systolic portion of your blood pressure reading or failure of it to rise with increased intensity in exercise.

Blood Pressure Rises

Signs of high blood pressure include confusion, paleness, poor muscle coordination, light-headedness, clammy or cold skin, nausea or a gray/blue skin color.

Heart Rate

If your heart does not have an increased heart rate when you increase the intensity of your workout, stop exercising.

Stop exercising if you have an obvious change in the rhythm of your heart.

You Just Feel Like You Need to Stop

If you feel like you need to stop, then stop. Assess your body’s condition.

Extreme Fatigue

Stop your workout and try again once you have rested.

Malfunction of Equipment

If the exercise equipment you are using or about to use is malfunctioning or broken stop immediately and notify someone that the equipment needs repair.

Read more tips on exercise termination on RonJones.org.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

It is very important to understand the difference between ‘good’ pain and ‘bad’ pain. Athletes are well aware that some of the pain and discomfort they suffer is necessary to improve their performance.

For the strength of your muscle to increase, your muscle must have added stress that is above what it is used to, this stress is generally considered the ‘burn’ the muscle feels during activity.

This ‘burn’ is mild, so it is called a ‘good’ pain. This ‘good’ pain brought about the renowned phrase, “No Pain, No Gain.” This pain should only be experienced during the activity and should be short-lived.

Should you have discomfort following your exercise workout, it should not continue for hours or days. If you are fatigued following a strenuous workout this is an indication that you are pushing your limits, but it should not be destructive.

The fatigue should leave you rather exhilarated, but definitely not totally exhausted. If your fatigue lasts for days, your physiology has been challenged excessively and you need to lower the intensity of your workout.

This indicates that your energy stores and muscles are not being replenished after you have completed exercising. This chronic fatigue following exercise is ‘overtraining,’ it is definitely a sign that you are doing too much, too rapidly. If the fatigue continues following an appropriate rest period, it could be an indication of another problem and consulting your physician would be wise.

What is ‘Bad’ Pain?

The muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones and cartilage of your body are alive and react to the stresses of exercise in a very slow manner. If they ‘see’ stress too fast, they will not be able to respond quickly enough and will begin to fail. The cause of this failure can be an accumulation of stress over time or too much stress too quickly. When this happens, each of these tissues will respond slightly different from one another and they begin producing ‘bad’ pain.

This soreness will usually begin within several hours but will peak around two days later. This soreness is ‘delayed onset muscle soreness,’ and reflects damage to your muscle.

A little discomfort or soreness means the muscle was stressed. However, if the muscle has been exercised too much it can become extremely sore to move and/or touch. The muscle may even be swollen.

In cases that are more severe, the muscle can actually die from too much damage. If someone is tremendously out of shape and multiple muscles have been exercised too fast and too hard as the muscles are dying they will release proteins. These proteins will flow through the blood stream and the kidneys may shut down. This is a rare occurrence; however, there have been deaths due to severe over-exercising of muscles. It is usually recommended that you begin your exercise program slowly and then build it up gradually.

When beginning a workout, cut the amount of exercise that you think you can do by 1/3 for the first several workouts to prevent any kind of problem concerning your muscles.

The tendons that connect the muscle to the bone may also become irritated in the same fashion. They also respond with inflammation that causes pain and swelling.

Tendinitis usually occurs during the exercise/activity and may continue following the exercise/activity when performing any activity that utilized that tendon or muscle. For instance, tendonitis of the patellar tendon (kneecap tendon) is seen very frequently in those athletes who do activities that require squatting and/or jumping. The pain will increase with continuance of these activities, but the pain may also continue while getting up from a chair or climbing a set of stairs.

In a more severe case, the tendon becomes swollen and all movements of the knee joints or tendon may hurt.

The bones also need time to respond to any new stress placed on them. For instance, when preparing to run in a marathon your bones will respond to this added stress by putting excess bone in the parts of the bone that are experiencing more stress.

This is called ‘remodeling’ and assists in strengthening the bone. However, if that area on the bone sees too much stress too quickly the bone will begin failing. The initial sign of this condition is a stress fracture.

Cartilage is white tissue that is on the end of our bones connecting the joint and allowing our bones to easily glide over each other. As we mature, our cartilage becomes worn. Because of the wear on the cartilage, when there is too much stress applied too quickly, we feel pain and then fluid will fill the joint. Swelling is not a good sign in a joint. If the joint is not allowed to rest, the swelling and pain can increase causing the inability for you to use the joint. This can affect your joint not just while you are exercising, but also in your daily life.

Treatment of Injuries

The treatment for the aches and pains following exercise is cutting back on your exercise workouts for some time. How long you will need to rest the injured area will depend on how severe your pain is.

When you are injured, you should not do anything that makes you hurt. It is very important to maintain your stamina while you are resting your injured body part, you can do other exercises that do not cause you pain to the injured area. For instance, if you have injured your leg, it is okay for you to continue with upper body exercises.

Another way to treat your injured area is to ice it. Using ice is recommended after activity. You can use an ice pack and place it on the injured area for approximately 20 minutes. This procedure can also be done everyday following your exercise routine for a few weeks.

The previous suggestion of icing for 48 hours and then heat is not recommended. If you pain continues even though you have been icing the area, you may have a more serious problem and you need to contact your physician.

If you experience aches and pains following your exercise routine, continue moving your extremity or joint, otherwise it will stiffen up. If the joint does become stiff, eventually it will affect the joints ability to function properly.

Treating these aches and pains can also be accomplished with some of the over the counter anti-inflammatory agents and pain relievers. These medications are helpful in decreasing the swelling and pain caused by over-exertion. Follow the instructions found on the medication’s label. If you have any questions concerning the medication, speak with your physician or the pharmacist. If these medications are not helpful, you need to consider seeing your physician.

When You Should Be Concerned About Your Pain

There are a few things to look for to help determine if you should be concerned.

The pain should begin to dissipate following your exercise routine. If the pain begins affecting your performance it needs to be looked into.

Pain that remains after resting is also a concern.

Any pain that begins affecting your daily functions such as sleeping or walking needs attention.

Pain that increases over time or that is constant.

If you have pain that shows no improvement with treatment.

If you have pain requiring more and more pain medication, see your physician.

If the Pain is waking you during the night and increasing over time, this is a concern.

Developing of weakness, tingling, numbness similar to the feeling you have when your foot falls asleep or you hit your elbow at the funny bone. These kinds of symptoms can sometimes indicate a nerve problem. If you gradually begin to lose movement of your extremity, you need to seek treatment right away.

Chills, severe sweating or fevers while sleeping need to be evaluated.

Signs of a Serious Injury during Your Workout

Many times, it is hard to know if injuries that are caused by trauma or an accident are serious. Signs that an injury is serious include:

If there is a visual deformity at the injury site, seek medical treatment.

Severe pain that makes the person very uncomfortable or nauseated is a serious injury.

The loss of function at the injury site is considered serious.

Immediate and immense swelling at the injury location, numbness or tingling is all reasons to be concerned. If you are unable to move toes or fingers on the injured extremity, get medical assistance.

If you are not sure about the seriousness of an injury, seek treatment.

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