The Catch 22 of Weight Loss
By Bevv Beirl
Use it or lose it. Does that sound familiar? It can be applied to brains as well as muscles. Just as a leg or arm will atrophy from being in a cast, so will our entire muscular system weaken when not exercised. And don’t forget the heart is a muscle. The quality of your life truly depends on exercise.
Exercise is important in any kind of weight loss program. Exercise will speed up your metabolism so you become a better “fat burner,” and weight bearing exercise will increase your muscle mass. Think of muscle as your fat burning engine, therefore, the more muscle mass, the bigger your engine and the more fat you’ll burn.
So where does the Catch 22 come in? Have you ever been so exhausted and stressed that all you wanted to do is curl up on the sofa or your favorite chair and zone out. If you continue to deal with stress by zoning out, your body will continue the downward slide to unhealthiness and weight gain. Mental stress can manifest in the body as lower back pain, joint pain and overall tiredness. It is at the point when you are most stressed mentally, that you need to lace up the workout shoes.
Although I am not a proponent of TV, I realize that for many people it becomes chewing gum for the brain and a time to decompress from the day’s activities. This may be the ideal time for you to get your exercise program started. Why not do something constructive while soaking up all those ridiculous commercials that eat away at our self-esteem? Now that’s another whole story line.
Seriously, get down on the floor and str-r-r-r-e-e-e-tch. Pretend you are on a rack that is pulling at your wrists and ankles at the same time. While you’re down there, bend your knees so your lower back is pressed against the floor and get in a few sets of abdominal crunches. Now roll over onto your stomach and strike a good “core” strengthening posture. Simply support your body with your toes and forearms. Your body should be in a straight line with all the core muscles tightened. Hold the position for a 10 count.
Make it a goal to gently move your body through stretches, crunches and muscle contractions for an entire 30-minute TV show. Do this for 5 consecutive days. Guess what happens on the 6th day. I’m not tellin’. You tell me. staff@BABM.com
The keys to effective exercise are the warm-up and cool-down periods. Because we are in such a rush to do everything these days, it is very common to skip these steps. I was in a back brace for almost a year; however, with the proper stretches and movements, I could still do my workouts. I found that working out properly actually helped heal my back.
Lower back challenges seem to be the most common exercise excuse. Many times the lower back pain can be caused by tight hamstrings and weak abdominal muscles. If you begin a good stretching program for the tight hamstrings and then add some good abdominal workouts, you may be surprised to find the pain that stopped you before has disappeared.
So avoid the Catch ---- exercise will give you the energy you need when you are the most stressed and tired --- so lace ‘em up and “Just Do It”.
About the Author
Bevv Beirl is a certified exercise specialist from the Cooper Aerobic Center and holds a black belt in Kung Fu. She obtained the funding, organized and directed the wellness program at Morton Plant Hospital in the late 80’s. Bevv taught restaurant survival and recipe modification as well as other practical nutrition classes in a 8 week wellness program offered to the public.