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Creating a lighter, healthier you is a multi-step process. One of the most important steps, and the main focus of this section, is exercise. Here we explore everything from the benefits of exercise to how much and how often it is necessary to promote weight loss.

Exercising for Health

Be in the Know so Your Body Will Thank You Later

Exercising for Health

Technology is changing everything. It has changed how we communicate with one another, how we identify with each other and how we view ourselves as individuals. It’s also shaping new fitness trends. Mobile fitness apps and mobile fitness classes have caused a shift from exercising for health to exercising for body image, but studies show that video games may not be so bad.

Some technology can help us become more efficient gym goers. Before technology took over, exercise and health went hand-in-hand. People used to keep up with cardio exercise and healthy exercise in general, but now, one could argue, exercise and body image are taking over the fitness scene.

We work out now because we want to be skinny or to “bulk up”, but what we don’t realize is that these goals don’t take just a couple of gym visits—they take commitment to a healthy lifestyle, dedicated cardio exercise and healthy exercise as a whole.

Why some technology is the bad guy

Technological advances like the TV and handheld devices like the iPhone and the iPad have conditioned us to be less active. Think about it, hours of relaxation and distraction are easily accessed from the chair you’re sitting in to read this article.This makes it much harder to meet your weight loss goals.

Why some technology is making a better name for itself

“There is decent data to show video-game based will actually help those that are sedentary and obese,” said Sean Wells, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Board Certified Orthopaedic Specialist and Strength/Conditioning Specialist.

Video games have recently become more influential on the exercise scene. Some games actually promote physical activity.

In a 2008 study, Mellecker and McManus examined energy expenditure and cardiovascular responses in children during seated (10-pin bowling computer game) and active gaming (XaviX bowling and J-Mat) (Shiseido, Tokyo, Japan).  A total of 18 children, aged 6 to 12 years, participated in a 25-minute gaming protocol: 5 minutes of seated, 5 minutes of seated bowling, 5 minutes of XaviX bowling, 5 minutes of seated rest, and 5 minutes of XaviX J-Mat.  In each game format, energy expenditure was significantly higher than resting (39% for seated bowling, 98% for XaviX bowling, 451% for XaviX J-Mat).  Heart rate was significantly higher during gaming than rest as well.

Video games also promote healthy eating too

In a 2008 study, Munguba and others evaluated the use of two interactive games—a video game and a board game that were interconnected in relation to theme, character, and foods—in a nutrition education program for obese children in Brazil. Two hundred children, aged 8–10 years, took part in this study with each taking part in weekly 30-minute game sessions over a four month period. Both games were based on the food pyramid and promoted the learning of nutritional concepts. Participants preferred the video game (27% compared to 6%).

Fitness phone apps and virtual fitness classes

No matter what you’re doing to exercise, exercising for health will always be the ultimate way to work out. Phone apps and virtual fitness classes make it too easy. We’re more likely to become distracted and not provide our full attention to the workout at hand.

When a new iPhone app gets popularized, everyone has to have it. But fitness apps aren’t a guaranteed weight-loss solution. Depending on your age, weight, target weight-loss goal, time constraints and health, it could take quite some time to see results. We live in a culture where we want everything instantly. If we don’t see instant results right away, we’re more likely to throw in the towel and call it quits.

But if you were exercising for health and enjoying that feeling of accomplishment when you go to the gym, you’ll be more likely to sustain your workout routine and see/feel the results you’ve been waiting for. Exercising to get skinny or to “bulk up” just won’t work if you’re expecting results in an unrealistic amount of time.

The technology: three hot fitness apps right now

      - Fitocracy

Fitocracy turns your workouts into a game. It personalizes your preferences—height, weight, age, fitness levels, the gym you belong to. It gives you missions to fulfill for a little friendly competition. It’s free for the iPhone and Android phones.

      - Endomondo

This app tracks your outdoor workouts. It also tracks your time and distance so you can challenge yourself next time. It’s free or $4.99 for the premium version. It’s available on the iPhone, Android or Blackberry.

      - GAIN Fitness Cross Trainer

This app is for beginners. It features real people demonstrating strength moves, yoga positions and cardo. It builds a custom workout based on your specifications. It’s free, but workout packs vary in price and it’s only available on the iPhone.

Most of the fitness apps out there right now are for intermediate gym-goers. They’re apps are for people who already frequent the gym and already have a fitness routine down pat. The beginning apps are helpful, but they’re not going to teach good exercise habits. They may make going to the gym more exciting, but they’re not going to hold your hand and tell you to get your butt to the gym when you’re tired, exhausted and just plain old don’t feel like it.

Good gym habits start with you and only you. You must exercise for health and nothing else because after all, your body is your temple.

Mobile fitness classes

This new trend has its advantages and its disadvantages. You can work out in the privacy of your own home (or wherever you are), but you’ll also have to wrestle with a ton of distractions. Sometimes you don’t get validation from the instructor to know if you’re doing the routine correctly. Also, you won’t get to meet people because you’re not actually in a physical group fitness class. Meeting others in a physical group fitness setting can challenge you, make you feel accountable to return the following week and provide an opportunity to develop lifelong friendships.

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