Whether you want to lose just a few pounds or a few hundred, restricting your calorie intake is often the path you take. It’s pretty much common knowledge that you should exercise as well as watch your calories, but do you know why? It’s not just to burn extra calories, although that’s both true and terrific.
Despite your best efforts, you just can’t easily fool your biochemistry. When your body needs fuel, it will look for the energy source of least resistance. Unfortunately, that isn’t that love handle or the ‘pooched’ abdomen. Your body will process muscle tissue for fuel before it will consider those extra fat cells that drive you to distraction. Exercising rebuilds and strengthens those muscle fibers that are otherwise ‘open and fair game.’ You are telling your body that your muscle tissue is off limits and to look elsewhere.
That’s when your body will start burning those love handles or those fatty deposits on your thighs, buttocks, torso and arms.
- When you combine healthy calorie restriction and healthy exercise, you are not only preventing additional fat cells from accumulating but also causing the body to burn more of your current fatty tissues. That’s a win-win situation every time!
- You have to pay attention and give proper care to each muscle group, including your heart muscle, and equally work all muscles in your body for effective redirection to your extra fat as a primary energy source.
- Regular exercises for your arms, for instance, will incorporate the muscles, ligaments, joints and muscles from your shoulders to your fingers. You improve circulation in that body part, which helps carry away the fatty tissue that will dissolve and be used as fuel. That concept applies to every muscle in your body.
- The abdominal area should be of special attention. You see, that’s where excess fat cells accumulate first—right next to your digestive tract. Stress, poor dietary habits and even giving birth can send an ’emergency’ signal to your body, saying, ‘Hey! It’s time to gather a fuel source because times are going to be rough,” and that little ‘poof’ effect starts. The only things you can do are to restrict your calorie intake—especially foods high in polyunsaturated fats—and exercise your abdominal muscles often and well.
- You don’t need to do a thousand sit-ups every day, but if you perform three sets of 10 repetitions of exercises on other muscle groups, do three sets of 15 repetitions or four sets of 10 repetitions of your abdominal areas. The good news is that these muscles are—believe it or not—the easiest ones in the body to develop and strengthen.
- Be sure to remember to gently exercise your heart muscle as well. If you are not aerobically fit—if you aren’t used to a lot of exercise or you get winded easily, never go ‘all out’ in aerobic exercises. Your heart muscle needs to be eased to working harder. If you strain a leg muscle, you can take it easy for a few days, and the pain goes away. If you strain your heart muscle, you could have a heart attack that can kill you.
- Start your aerobic exercises very slowly. Be very patient. Pace your walking and start at a stroll pace then work up speed and distance slowly. Exercises like jumping jacks are good for the heart, but the slow-and-easy concept still applies. Do a few sets of five and take a break. When you can breathe normally again, do one more set. Always walk around a little as your breathing returns to normal and your heart rate slows again. You want to keep your muscles loose and let them relax. Sitting immediately could cause them to cramp.
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