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Posts Tagged ‘benefits of cardiovascular activity’

Does Sitting Too Much Affect Your Heart Health?

There is a new area of science looking specifically at the harms of physical inactivity or sedentary behavior, which is not necessarily the inverse of benefits of physical activity, according to Nina Radford, MD, Cardiologist and Director of Clinical Research at Cooper Clinic.

Most of the data suggests that if you spend too much time sitting, you’re more likely to develop risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. The more time you spend sitting, the more weight you gain, the more your waist circumference increases, your blood sugar rises and cholesterol profile worsens.

Improve Your Heart Health
There are several conventional recommendations to people who sit long periods of time each day. Some of these suggestions include:

  • Get up once an hour and take a walk.
  • Stand while on the phone or opening mail.
  • Rather than emailing a colleague who works down the hall, walk down the hall to speak to them instead.
  • At lunch, take some time to walk around your building or around the block.

While these suggestions can’t hurt, there’s a bigger picture we have to look at, says Dr. Radford. Being sedentary isn’t only about sitting at your desk at work. It’s a sedentary lifestyle that is truly dangerous. People who are sedentary get less moderate physical activity and may have worse diet patterns.

New research shows that someone who is physically fit and makes regular exercise a priority, but who has a desk job, has fewer risk factors for heart disease than someone who has a desk job and is not physically fit.

“There is a new idea that if you sit at your desk all day, going to the gym at night won’t help, but that is not necessarily the case,” says Dr. Radford.

Researchers at The Cooper Institute have found that the adverse effects of time spent sitting are less pronounced the more fit you are.

“The notion that you can’t undo the ravages of a sedentary lifestyle by exercising every day is a bad public health message and the data doesn’t convincingly demonstrate that,” says Dr. Radford

So what does Dr. Radford recommend? Be generally active and get an annual physcial exam. Make it a priority to get 150 minutes of moderate physical activity every week. If you do have to sit long periods of time, get up and move around as much as possible, but the real emphasis is on living an otherwise active lifestyle.

Feel That? It’s Us Pushing You to Push Yourself!

November 6, 2013 Leave a comment

In October Cooper Fitness Center, Dallas hosts the COOPERTHON exercise challenge. From Oct. 1-31 members track their minutes of exercise. Members earn a prize if they log 900 minutes and with 1,685 minutes they are recognized as an elite participant.

Of course, having a goal, especially when you’re working towards it it with others, keeps our members motivated. And a  little personal motivation can be just what we all need to keep going. Many members and teammates noticed an particular teammate (employee) who provided encouragement and motivation as they worked to complete the COOPERTHON Challenge. Cooper Fitness Center Front Desk Associate Nadia begins her day opening the fitness center for our members at 5 a.m. Her smiling face and words of encouragement greet members at the service desk as they begin their workout. Nadia leads by example by running on  the treadmill or AMT machine for 60-80 minutes every day, except Sunday. To support her aerobic exercise, Nadia trains with weights for 20 minutes (every other day).

With Nadia’s consistent workout regime, she completed 900 minutes of exercise by Oct. 15!  She celebrated her one year anniversary with Cooper Fitness Center in July and we hope to see many more years of her inspiration.

Congratulations Nadia and the 350+ members of Cooper Fitness Center for logging 539,494 minutes of exercise during October and completing the COOPERTHON Challenge. If you want to make a healthy change consider a few lessons from COOPERTHON to push yourself—set a goal, track your exercise, tell others and find a friend or two, someone like Nadia to keep you motivated!

Learn more about a membership at Cooper Fitness Center here and schedule a tour.

Aerobic vs. Cardiovascular Exercise

Aerobic ExerciseAerobic exercise or cardiovascular exercise – what’s the difference? You may not know the answer to the question, but it’s simple. They are the same!

As you kick off your cardio routine, it’s important to know if what you’re doing is truly aerobic or not, and which exercises qualify as aerobic. Aerobic exercise must meet three criteria:

  1. It must engage large muscle groups.
  2. It must use lots of oxygen.
  3. It should be something you can do continuously.

When an activity meets all three of Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper’s criteria, it is considered to be an aerobic or cardiovascular exercise. In Dr. Cooper’s book, Aerobics for Total Well-Being, he developed a list primary and secondary aerobic activities.

Primary exercises would exercise such as cross-country skiing, swimming, running, jogging, cycling or walking. Dr. Cooper also documented a list of secondary exercises. They meet the three criteria pretty well, but not quite as well as the primary exercises. For example, circuit weight training would fall into the secondary exercises.

Finding Your Sweet Spot
There are multiple activities you can do to gain cardiovascular benefits. Everyone has their own workout preferences, and you may find that you’re more adherent to an exercise program if you vary what you’re doing. Try switching up your activities throughout the week.

How much aerobic exercise do yo need for health benefits? The Cooper Institute is a proponent of the American College of Sports Medicine‘s recommendation to get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity aerobic activity as a minimum for good health. Depending on what your goals are, it will influence you how much exercise you should do.

Remember – more is better, but only to a certain point. It varies from person to person, so there’s not an definitive answer on how much is too much. The sweet spot for optimal health benefits of aerobic activity is in between 150 to 300 minutes per week. Once you go beyond 300 minutes, you may receive additional fitness benefits, but you may not get added health benefits.

What’s your favorite aerobic exercise?