Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I Remember When... Use It or Lose It!

If you're just getting started in a fitness routine, you probably have a memory in your mind of a time when you were fit and active. Maybe it was high school or college and as you remember it, you were the Energizer Bunny.

Today however... five, ten, fifteen or maybe more years later you are kind of wondering whatever happened to all of that health and energy.

Where did the flexibility go and when did a 5 pound weight get so heavy and who on earth moved the mailbox so far from the front door that you have to stop half way there to catch your breath?

Fear not, you are not alone. Many have gone before you! Even some of those folks you think are fitness buffs have had their moments. Anyone who has had an on again, off again relationship with fitness has experienced this incredible disappearing act of their athletic prowess.

Welcome to atrophy! The actual definition... a decrease in cross-sectional size of a muscle resulting from inactivity or immobilization. It affects not just your limbs but your cardiovascular system as well. We see it most commonly in someone who has had an injury where they are immobilized for a period of time. In those cases atrophy can begin to set in as quickly as two to three days.

In our case, where we have been sedentary, it is a slower and more gradual process and yet over time the effects are the same.

Now that I've depressed you, the good news is that it can be reversed and does so at a much quicker rate than it occured.

Muscular strength can be maintained with as little as two moderate weight training sessions per week and cardiovascular fitness can be improved depending on your current level of fitness with as little as 20-30 minutes of aerobic exercise (walking,jogging,cycling, etc) two to three times per week.

Research has shown that cardiovascular fitness in folks who have been inactive will improve with an effort in the range of 45-55% of Maximum Heart Rate, and that... is a slow walk!

Remember when, because it will give you something to aspire to! Actually... forget that because we can never go back. Create a new picture of the you that's in your future and go for it!

All you have to do is use it!

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