How It Works
Though it might not cross your mind, you need good balance to do just about everything, including walking, getting out of a chair, and leaning over to tie your shoes. Strong muscles and being able to keep yourself steady make all the difference in those and many other things you do every day.
Balance training involves doing exercises that strengthen the muscles that help keep you upright, including your legs and core. These kinds of exercises can improve stability and help prevent falls.
Doing balance exercises can be intense, like some very challenging yoga poses. Others are as simple as standing on one leg for a few seconds. Or you can use equipment that forces your body to stabilize itself, like a Bosu half-circle stability ball or a balance board you use along with a video game.
Examples of balance exercises include:
- Standing with your weight on one leg and raising the other leg to the side or behind you
- Putting your heel right in front of your toe, like walking a tightrope
- Standing up and sitting down from a chair without using your hands
- Walking while alternating knee lifts with each step
- Doing tai chi or yoga
- Using equipment, like a Bosu, which has an inflatable dome on top of a circular platform, which challenges your balance
Over time, you can improve your balance with these exercises by:
- Holding the position for a longer amount of time
- Adding movement to a pose
- Closing your eyes
- Letting go of your chair or other support
You can do balance exercises as often as you’d like, even every day. Add in two days a week of strength training, which also helps improve your balance by working the muscles that keep you stable.
Intensity Level: Moderate
To balance train, you don’t have to run, jump, or do any other high-impact or high-intensity exercises. Usually balance training involves slow, methodical movements.
Areas It Targets
Core: Yes. You need strong core muscles for good balance. Many stability exercises will work your abs and other core muscles.
Arms: No. Most balance exercises are about balancing on your feet. So unless you’re doing moves that involve your arms, or you’re holding weights, they don’t work your arms.
Legs: Yes. Exercises in which you balance on one leg and then squat or bend forward also work the leg muscles.
Glutes: Yes. The same balance exercises that work the legs also tone the glutes.
Back: Yes. Your core muscles include some of your back muscles.
Flexibility: No. Balance training is more about strengthening muscles and improving stability than gaining flexibility.
Aerobic: It can be, but often is not. It depends on how intense the activity is. If you’re moving fast, then it may be aerobic. Slower balance exercises do not make you breathe faster or make your heart pump harder.
Strength: Yes. Many of these exercises will work your muscles, especially the muscles of your legs and core. Some moves may also use your chest and shoulder muscles, like the plank position in yoga.
Sport: No. Balance training involves a series of exercises. It is not a sport.
Low-Impact: Yes. There is no impact involved in doing balance exercises.
What Else Should I Know?
Cost. No. You can do balance exercises on your own, with nothing more than a chair. There is a cost if you want to take a tai chi or yoga class, or buy a stability ball, video, or other piece of equipment.
Good for beginners? Yes. Balance training is good for people of any age and fitness level. It’s recommended for older adults to help prevent falls.
Outdoors. Yes. You can do balance exercises anywhere: in your backyard, on a beach, in a park.
At home. Yes. You can do these exercises at home.
Equipment required? No. You only need your own body to do balance exercises: for example, by standing on one leg. Or you can buy a piece of equipment like a Bosu ball to challenge your balance even more.
What Dr. Michael Smith Says:
The beauty of balance training is that anyone can, and should, do it. Balance training improves the health, balance, and performance of everyone from beginners to advanced athletes, young and not-so-young.
If you’re new to exercise, it’s a great place to start. Focusing on your core and balance improves overall strength and gets your body ready for more advanced exercise. Start off easy. You may find that you need to hold onto a chair aft first. That’s absolutely fine.
If you’re an advanced exerciser, you’ll likely find you still need to start with somewhat simple moves if balance isn’t your thing. Then push yourself to perform more complex moves that both challenge your muscular strength and your aerobic stamina. If you think balance exercises are easy, you haven’t tried yoga’s warrior III pose.
Is It Good for Me If I Have a Health Condition?
If you have back pain, balance training is one of the best ways to strengthen your core and prevent back pain. If you’re recovering from a back injury, get your doctor’s OK and then start balancing. It’ll help prevent more problems in the future.
When you strengthen muscles, it also helps arthritis by giving more support to painful joints. You may need to adjust or avoid certain moves to decrease pressure on your knees. For example, a balance move that involves a lunge may be more than your knees can handle. Good news is there are many exercises to choose from.
If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or even heart disease, exercise is a must to help you get control of your condition. Balance training is an excellent place to start. The first step of resistance training should focus on core and balance exercises, according to the American Council on Exercise. As you get stronger and become able to perform more intense exercises, balance training can give you an aerobic workout that even helps control blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure along with other aerobic exercise.
If you’re pregnant, choose your balance exercises carefully. Women can and should exercise during pregnancy. The main concern with exercise during pregnancy is falling, so moves that make you unstable are not a good choice. Choose balance moves that either keep both feet on the floor or that you do on all fours, like plank (you may need to support your body with one knee on the ground). As with any exercise, if you did it before pregnancy, you’re likely OK doing it after pregnancy. It’s always good to check with your doctor to be sure.
Finding time to train when you work full time and have family commitments can often be tricky. Here are 6 steps to help you maximise your time in the Box.
We now live in the age of instant everything. It is debatable as to whether this has allowed us more leisure time or less.
The corporate world loves to use the term “work / life balance”. Take a trip to any sunny beach in Southeast Asia and you will see countless executives in a beach bar on their laptops. Have we been tricked? Does “work / life balance” really mean “we can reach out to you and have you do work anywhere in the world”?
Thanks to modern technology, we now find ourselves juggling family, work obligations, and trying to remain fit / consistent in workouts. The email lights up on the phone at dinner with the family. Your messenger pops up mid-workout…
It does not have to be this way! However, the onus is on us to make the changes in our daily lives that lead us back to having quality work time, family time, and training time… and keep it that work time interfere as little as possible with the other two.
1. Communication is everything.
Being clear on your intentions daily, weekly, and monthly make life infinitely easier with your boss and family members. Don’t surprise your husband / wife with a workout on a Saturday morning when they may have planned for a family outing.
2. A set schedule is ALMOST everything
Have a set schedule but if you have to work out at 8 instead of 6, suck it up. There are 24 hours in a day. You can find an hour to put in the work.
3. An active family makes everything easier
If family time consists of hikes, sports, and being outdoors in general, then exercise becomes infinitely easier than if family time consists of TV and video games.
4. Always have a plan for a home workout
A set up at home does not need to be fancy, it just needs to allow you to get the job done.
A home gym does not need to be complicated. Barbells are great if you have the space, but if I have to work out at home…
The basic home gym:
- 16kg kettlebells x 2 and 32kg kettlebell x 1
- 25lb dumbbells x 2 and 50lb dumbbells x2
- Speed Rope
- Pull up bar (I am fine with the cheap door mount ones…strict pull ups provide plenty of work at home, save the kipping for the box)
5. Work smarter!
Let’s face it, the days of 2 hour pump sessions may be over. Time is money and you need to get the most bang for your buck. The standard Crossfit recipe of warm up / strength and skill / and WOD all within about an hour is usually going to get you the best return on your time investment.
6. SET ELECTRONIC BOUNDARIES.
Unless you work in a career field that includes you being on-call to save lives (Fireman, Police, Doctor, etc) ask yourself… “If I miss a call from the office in the next hour, will the world stop turning?” No one on their death bed ever said…”Man, I sure am glad I stopped pushing my daughter on the swing to take that call from the office.”
So that is all I have for you this week. Get to your local box, turn your phone off, and CRUSH IT!
Have a great week everyone, and as always if you like what you are reading please share. If you don’t like it, share it and say why!
Between state regulations and vaccinations, hereвЂ™s what you should know.
You’ve been dedicated to your YouTube workouts and hill sprints during the pandemic, and maybe you were even lucky enough to snag a kettlebell or two before they disappeared from the virtual shelves. But if you’ve been missing your spin class or barbells, you’re probably wondering when it will be safe to go to the gym again. With varying levels of restrictions, all states across the country have reopened their gyms. But according to medical professionals, youвЂ™ll still need to take precautions before declaring it safe to return to the gym.
Is It Safe To Go To The Gym When They Open In My State?
Different states are working on unlocking their gym doors with different requirements and restrictions. For example, as of March 19, Connecticut will be reopening gyms without capacity limits (although regional mask, cleaning, and distance protocols will remain in effect). Arizona lifted gym capacity limits in March, too, though the order lifting the limits will be reviewed every two weeks.
Other states have been letting gyms open more fully, but still without completely eliminating capacity limits. As of March 16, LA County, CA, has allowed gyms to reopen at 10% capacity with a mask requirement. On March 15, the District of Columbia started allowing gyms to open their doors to a 25% capacity, as well as host indoor fitness classes for up to 10 people. This is exciting news for gym-goers whoвЂ™ve missed the rush of a good treadmill firing up.
Assuming everyone at a newly-re-opened gym wears masks, there is still a risk of spreading the virus, says Dr. Dennis Cardone, D.O., a sports medicine specialist at NYU Langone Sports Health. “The current recommendation is still to exercise at home or safely in the outdoors,” he tells Bustle. So even if your favorite fitness center is open again, you might still want to stick to livestream workouts.
Can I Go To The Gym If IвЂ™m Vaccinated?
“I would be very careful going to the gym right now,” says Dr. Peter Gulick, D.O., an infectious disease expert at Michigan State University. Even if there is a full six feet of distance between each machine (which is very unlikely in most facilities), Dr. Gulick tells Bustle that the spacing might not matter, given how hard people tend to breathe while working out in a confined space. This is especially true of group fitness classes, which have been sources of COVID spreading between unvaccinated folks in Honolulu and Chicago. Even if youвЂ™re vaccinated, remember that not everyone in your limited-capacity spin class is.
Still, you can breathe a bit easier at the gym once youвЂ™re vaccinated, since the risk that you will get sick is reduced considerably once youвЂ™re fully vaccinated (aka, two-ish weeks after your last shot). ThereвЂ™s increasing evidence that shows that you may be less likely to spread the virus once youвЂ™re fully vaccinated, but you might determine that the risks still outweigh the benefits of your sweat session if you interact or live with unvaccinated folks. So when you lace up your gym shoes, make sure youвЂ™re keeping your distance and wearing your mask to protect the people around you.
So When *Will* It Be Safe To Go To The Gym?
If you’re chomping at the bit to get back to your gym, I feel you. But as with everything during the pandemic, it’s not that simple. “Workouts are important to well-being and mental health, but right now they need to be done in a safe environment,” Dr. Gulick says. “If you want to go to the gym, just remember that even though you may be young and may only get a minor infection, if you live with someone at high risk, you may want to think again.”
Dr. Peter Gulick, D.O., infectious disease expert at Michigan State University
Dr. Dennis Cardone, D.O., sports medicine specialist at NYU Langone Sports Health
This article was originally published on April 29, 2020
Balance exercise is one of the four types of exercise along with strength, endurance and flexibility. Ideally, all four types of exercise would be included in a healthy workout routine and AHA provides easy-to-follow guidelines for endurance and strength-training in its Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults.
They don’t all need to be done every day, but variety helps keep the body fit and healthy, and makes exercise interesting. You can do a variety of exercises to keep the body fit and healthy and to keep your physical activity routine exciting. Many different types of exercises can improve strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance. For example, practicing yoga can improve your balance, strength, and flexibility. A lot of lower-body strength-training exercises also will improve your balance.
Having good balance is important for many activities we do every day, such as walking and going up and down the stairs. Exercises that improve balance can help prevent falls, a common problem in older adults and stroke patients. They can also benefit those who are obese since weight is not always carried or distributed evenly throughout the body. A loss of balance can occur when standing or moving suddenly. Often we are not fully aware that we may have weak balance until we try balance exercises.
How much do I need?
Balance exercises can be done every day or as many days as you like and as often as you like. Preferably, older adults at risk of falls should do balance training 3 or more days a week and do standardized exercises from a program demonstrated to reduce falls. It’s not known whether different combinations of type, amount, or frequency of activity can reduce falls to a greater degree. If you think you might be at risk of falling, talk to your doctor.
Tai chi exercises also may help prevent falls. Balance, strength and flexibility exercises can be combined.
Try these balance exercises:
- See how long you can stand on one foot, or try holding for 10 seconds on each side.
- Walk heel to toe for 20 steps. Steady yourself with a wall if you need a little extra support.
- Walk normally in as straight a line as you can.
- If you find standing on one foot very challenging at first, try this progression to improve your balance:
- Hold on to a wall or sturdy chair with both hands to support yourself.
- Next, hold on with only one hand.
- Then support yourself with only one finger.
- When you are steady on your feet, try balancing with no support at all.
Examples of balance exercises:
- Tai Chi
You can do balance exercises anytime or anywhere.
- Try standing on one foot while working in the kitchen, waiting in line or brushing your teeth.
- Walk heel to toe around the house or office.
- Yoga and Tai Chi do not require expensive classes or equipment. Find an instructional book, DVD or website to get started at home. Local recreation centers and senior centers may also offer free or low-cost classes.
What if I’m recovering from a cardiac event or stroke?
Some people are afraid to exercise after a heart attack. But regular physical activity can help reduce your chances of having another heart attack.
The AHA published a statement in 2014 that doctors should prescribe exercise to stroke patients since there is strong evidence that physical activity and exercise after stroke can improve cardiovascular fitness, walking ability and upper arm strength.
If you’ve had a heart attack or stroke, talk with your doctor before starting any exercise to be sure you’re following a safe, effective physical activity program.
Written by American Heart Association editorial staff and reviewed by science and medicine advisers. See our editorial policies and staff.
Last Reviewed: Apr 18, 2018
Flexibility Exercise (Stretching)
Why is physical activity so important for health and wellbeing?
*All health/medical information on this website has been reviewed and approved by the American Heart Association, based on scientific research and American Heart Association guidelines. Use this link for more information on our content editorial process.
7272 Greenville Ave.
Dallas, TX 75231
Monday – Friday: 7AM – 9PM CST
Saturday: 9AM – 5PM CST
Closed on Sundays
Tax Identification Number
- Medical Advice Disclaimer
- Copyright Policy
- Accessibility Statement
- Ethics Policy
- Conflict of Interest Policy
- Linking Policy
- Content Editorial Guidelines
- Suppliers & Providers
- State Fundraising Notices
©2021 American Heart Association, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited.
The American Heart Association is a qualified 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.
*Red Dress ™ DHHS, Go Red ™ AHA ; National Wear Red Day® is a registered trademark.
This site complies with the HONcode Standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.
This link is provided for convenience only and is not an endorsement of either the linked-to entity or any product or service.
Writer and researcher Read full profile
- Pin it
Gyms make great people-watching, almost like state fairs. It’s easy to plant yourself on a machine to watch the comings and goings, playing the game of Who’s-Here-to-Actually-Workout. Sometimes it’s obvious there are people who use the gym for purposes almost contrary to the likely expensive membership for which they’ve paid.
But those of us who go to the gym regularly know the true reasons we’ve shelled out big bucks for our memberships:
1. To win stuff
Just like any other business, gyms have to lure in customers for those memberships, as membership-based businesses typically have a high turnover. One of the most frequent and most successful ways to generate more members is to offer prizes. Gyms will often hold raffles for equipment such as mountain bikes or free months of memberships for those who sign up during a certain period. Others will offer discounts for teachers during back-to-school months.
2. Work incentives
Sometimes, work makes us go to the gym. Or at the very least, it provides us with the motivation to do so through health initiatives promoted by human resource departments and wellness committees. Offices aren’t just idea incubators. They can be germ incubators, and the healthier the employees, the healthier the organization. Absenteeism rates are lower for firms with employees who work out regularly and eat healthy diets.
Paying for even a portion of employees’ gym memberships can be a cost-effective way of maintaining a productive workforce. Plus, this does a lot for morale.
3. To multitask
Some of us go to get in a workout, but also use that opportunity to get other types of work accomplished. I’m finishing my MBA online, so I use the flexibility technology has brought to school to get some homework done while I set on the recumbent bike. I have definitely been known to bring my tablet with me to read an e-textbook.
There are other people who use the gym as a means to get work done as well. I use my tablet for homework, but some might use it to run their business from an elliptical. The coffeeshop isn’t going to work for everyone.
Of course, multitasking at the gym requires that you still have to be respectful of those around you. If you are indeed working remotely, don’t be the one doing so by shouting into your Bluetooth. Your phone belongs in your locker unless it’s acting as your jukebox.
4. To scam dates
We’ve all seen these people. I was the obvious target of one of these guys just the other day. I was on a treadmill in the corner, and there were eight or 10 empty treadmills between me and locker room, from whence he came. Did he pick any of those treadmills? Nope. He picked the one next to me. Did I mind the attention? Of course not, but when I go to the gym, I’m at the gym. Unless I’m also doing homework. And I’m likely wearing headphones.
If you are there to scam dates, make sure you know how to read people, and pick the ones who are there for the same reason. Body language is a great indicator. If I’d subtly taken out my headphones before that guy hopped on the treadmill next to me, that would have been a pretty good clue. Instead, I kept them in to finish my walk, and when I left, so did he.
5. To socialize (besides scamming dates!)
Some gym rats go for other social aspects of the gym besides scamming dates. Gym classes like Zumba and yoga are great ways to get fit and meet people. Sure, you might have to get your chatting done in between breaths and during water breaks, but a good gym class can open doors to friendships and myriad other opportunities. You might meet your next, greatest business partner on the Pilates apparatus next to you. Or your new best friend.
At the very least, socializing at the gym can lead you to a new workout buddy. Having a workout buddy might make you more successful at the gym, if that is indeed your goal. Workout buddies compel us to keep appointments for those workouts; they also make workout time go by much faster, and if your workouts are intense, that can be quite helpful.
Plus, a little competition never hurt anyone. I don’t work out with anyone, but I do share my Fitbit statistics with a couple of good friends, and we love to see who’s “winning” the week. Because I have a desk job, I’m typically last, but the motivation of catching up to the landscaper does help.
6. Get a break from our families
There are times when you just need a break. The kids are in bed, and it’s time for someone to get some mommy or daddy time. Play a pre-gym game of Rochambeau to see who gets to use the family pass, and head out for some personal time.
7. The perks
Some gyms go above and beyond the call of duty for members. Certain membership levels get certain perks, like access to spray tan rooms and hydro massage beds.
Free sessions with personal trainers are a good reason to go to the gym. I’ve definitely signed up for gym memberships before simply because those were on offer. Cheaper training packages have drawn me in as well. I was recently injured, but not enough to warrant physical therapy. Working with a trainer definitely drew me back to the gym, and it goes a long way when these sessions are inclusive.
8. Cheaper than buying the equipment yourself
How many gyms today have good, old-fashioned rowing machines? Not very many. The last gym I used certainly didn’t, so I looked into buying one for myself.
Given the fact that most pieces of gym equipment, whether they are made for the fitness industry or the home gym, are more than $200, the combination of swag I can get through the gym makes the gym cheaper in the long run. Why buy a rowing machine for my house when I can go to the gym and use many more machines and a swimming pool?
9. New clothes!
When I started going to the gym again regularly, it wasn’t just to go to the gym. It was so I could walk into any clothing store I wanted, pull any piece of clothing from the rack, and be able to wear it. Is that a superficial reason to go to the gym? Certainly. However, one could argue that going to the gym to work out is just as superficial.
Self-esteem is a good thing, and one way of boosting self-esteem is by buying yourself something new. Boosting self-esteem involves doing activities like practicing self-care, and going to the gym is a great way to do so. Even buying a new outfit, one you’d never have fit into before going to the gym regularly, is a form of self-care.
10. To actually get healthy
Of course, when you cull from all of the previous nine, you’re likely to get to this reason for going to the gym: to actually get healthy. When I was in high school, I lifted weight every day. Then I let myself go.
Thanks to poor choices, I was headed straight for Type 2 Diabetes, one of the most devastating chronic illnesses in the United States. The gym has been my salvation, in more ways than one. It has even led me out of the gym and into the hills for hiking. But I’ll always come back to the gym because of what’s it done for me.
How To Balance Study, Work, And Personal Life
There are three main parts of a student’s life which consumes most of their time; study, work, and personal life. Study and work both can take up an ample amount of time and very less time may remain for personal stuff. This is one of the major issues a student face. So the question is: How to balance study, work, and personal life?
A college usually has two semesters or three trimesters. Each semester has multiple courses, usually three to four; however, in some cases colleges give students the flexibility to choose what courses they wish to enroll in particular semesters, called as electives, and what number of courses they wish to enroll. Each course can usually take up a lot of hours per week.
Part Time Vs Full Time Students
The workload of a full time student can of course be very different compared to the workload of a part time student. For a full time student, there is very less time left for work or personal life. So proper time management for students is very important. However, for a part time student, there may be plethora of time left after studies for work and other personal stuff.
It’s important to choose the study load wisely. For instance, if you are already working full time, then it may be wise to choose a part time study load so you can still keep you job, keep making money, cover your expenses and fees, and still study.
Another things to consider is that taking part time study may take a very long time to finish the studies. For instance, if a student takes a masters course, then if full time student completes it in two years, it may take up to four years for the same course to finish in case of part time study arrangement.
Also, if you fail a course it may just end up taking a lot of extra time. If it’s your last semester, you will get your certificate or degree after another 6 months just because of that one course that you were not able to clear. Hence, it’s also very important to clear it in one go to save time.
So it is up to an individual what they decide based on their personal circumstances. Some may be keen on finishing their studies as soon as possible, while others may not much be in a hurry.
Tips For Time Management In Online Learning
There are many students who opt for online courses to save time and make a balance between their work, study, and personal life. Here are 7 tips on how to balance study, work, and personal life when taking online courses.
1. Do Not Procrastinate.
Delaying things may lead to piling of more and more work in the end. Another disadvantage of procrastination is that it only keeps adding more stress at the top of daily work load.
2. Consider Having A Day Off.
Once, I was a student; today I have founded my own SEO services, so things are much busier now than ever. But I still try to create a good balance between work and life. It takes lot of effort, but it is possible. Vijay, who was once an international student and now runs a successful business, says “Sometimes taking time off actually makes things much better; it gives you strength to handle more pressure, and things start getting better from there on”. Even the fitness gurus ask their clients to have a cheat meal despite being on a very strict diet. The reason to allow a chat meal is to keep the client motivated; else, if the client gets demotivated with the regular strict diet, then he/she may quit all together. A cheat meal keeps their clients from quitting.
3. Avoid Multi-Tasking.
Though some may find it better to multi-task. However, the problem with multi-tasking is that it consumes more of your energy than usual and, in many cases, it’s proven that it actually ends up taking more time to finish those individual tasks. The best way to complete a task is to finish it and then move to another one. Taking breaks is of course ok, as you don’t want to drain out all your energies; however, try not to do everything at the same time.
4. Avoid Distractions.
Today, most of us get distracted time to time by using Facebook, Twitter, or checking our mobile phones all the time. These things can distract you from the work you may be doing, and can take lot more time than usual to finish tasks. At the end of the day, when you are not done with particular tasks, this may leave you stressed. So, focus is very important to complete one task and move to another.
5. Take Care Of Your Health.
Caryn, who is a Nutritionist, says “A balanced diet is important for students. Studying mainly during exams may take up a lot of energy and, hence, the right amount of nutrition is vital part of a student’s life”.
6. Utilize Your Time In Creative Things.
This means, if you’re a student, why not spend time reading articles on a career help site?
7. Stick To A Schedule.
The reason for that is that when you plan things, then you always stay informed: It means you know when you will be able to finish a particular assignment or college project. You can always include breaks or a small outing as part of the schedule. It will work as an incentive to stick to schedule, knowing when to do what; otherwise, you may end up with a pile up of work, including new stuff that you were not aware of because you didn’t schedule. Write things up, make notes, plan well, and you will find it much easier to balance your life between study, work, and personal life.
If you’ve pledged to be more active this year, you probably have several reasons for your commitment to start exercising. Maybe your expanding waistline has you worried, or maybe your doctor gave you a stern talking to last checkup. Maybe it’s the stress-busting abilities of a good workout that you’re seeking. But one reason you’re probably not thinking of is better work-life balance.
Hitting the gym is time consuming and can be hard to fit into the busy day of a business owner. There are so many other things you could be doing with those hours, so the last thing most of expect from regular exercise is to make juggling it all easier.
That’s according to new research written up on the Harvard Business Review Blog Network, at least. In the post, management professor Russell Clayton shares his recent research findings. They show that making a commitment to regular exercise can ease feelings of work-life conflict in a couple of ways:
First, and least surprisingly, exercise reduces stress, and lower stress makes the time spent in either realm more productive and enjoyable. A reduction in stress is tantamount to an expansion of time.
Second, we found exercise helping work-home integration via increased self-efficacy. The term refers to the sense that one is capable of taking things on and getting them done – and although self-efficacy is a matter of self-perception, it has real impact on reality. According to psychologist Albert Bandura, people with high self-efficacy are less likely to avoid difficult tasks or situations, and more likely to see them as challenges to be mastered. Our research suggests that people who exercise regularly enjoy greater self-efficacy, and it carries over into their work and home roles.
The fact that working out gives you more confidence to tackle tough tasks is another great reason to keep that gym habit going. But no amount of research, no matter how compelling, changes the fact that fitting in a regular workout is still a challenge for many busy professionals. Clayton may give you a reason to work out, but he’s not offering you a way to make it work.
Blog Freelance Folder may be able to help on that front, however. A recent post aimed at self-employed folks with hectic schedules (and limited budgets) rounds up a dozen free apps that can help you maintain your fitness despite your jam-packed calendar.
Some, such as an app from the American Red Cross that offers first aid information in case of an emergency are helpful but not exercise focused, but many, including tools to track your runs, map out a bike ride, or suggest new exercises, are aimed at helping you squeeze an effective exercise routine into your schedule and stick with it.
Does this research give you new motivation to keep your New Year’s commitment to exercise?
We’ve all been there: you’ve just started exercising, or increased your exercise activity, and you suddenly start feeling more and more ravenous.
What do you do? Eat more and potentially compromise the sweaty workout you just did, or try to not eat?
Post-workout hunger — especially when you’ve just started a regular routine — is normal. It’s simply your body’s response to the calories you’re burning from getting up and moving.
“Because you’re exercising more and burning more energy, it means the body is automatically going to realise more food is required and that can then stimulate hunger hormones,” Chloe McLeod, accredited practising dietitian, nutritionist and sports dietitian, told The Huffington Post Australia.
Celebrity trainer and former NRL player Ben Lucas agrees.
“When you first start exercising, or boost your existing workout immensely, your body may require more food to help it recover from your workout and keep your energy stores full,” Lucas told HuffPost Australia.
However, if our goal is to lose weight, shouldn’t we ignore our hunger cues? Should we really be eating more?
While it does, of course, depend on your body size, energy needs and body goals, McLeod said it’s not always necessary to eat more when you’re working out.
“It depends on the training you’re doing and how much,” McLeod said. “You may want to increase your calories slightly so that you’re providing your body with enough fuel to support the training you’re doing, but you wouldn’t be increasing it to the same point as a person who is training for a half-marathon, for example.”
According to McLeod, post-workout fuelling is about eating more wisely.
“The really key thing here is looking at the timing of your meal,” McLeod said. “For most people who are trying to improve body composition or achieve weight loss, then it’s not about eating something extra, it’s just about making sure your timing it at its optimal.
“What I usually recommend, which also helps with the recovery, is to either have a snack or a meal after you’ve finished your training session.”
If you don’t eat after a workout, hoping it will help you to lose extra weight, you may actually be sabotaging your hard work.
“If you let yourself get too hungry then you are setting yourself up for a fall, such as a binge, which is very counter-productive,” Lucas told HuffPost Australia.
This is a sentiment echoed by McLeod.
“If you get home after morning workout, have a shower, catch the bus into work and it’s over an hour before eating anything, then, by that time, chances are you’re going to be really hungry and potentially overeat,” McLeod said.
However, as people train at different times of the day, knowing when to eat can be difficult. Don’t fret: here is how to make sure you’re fuelling your body correctly after any workout.
“Whatever time that is, schedule the post-workout snack or meal around what else is happening that day,” McLeod said.
“Say you normally go to the gym after work and then go home and have dinner. That’s great, but aim to eat dinner within about half an hour.
“Or maybe you’re more of a morning training session person and so then you would get up in the morning, go for a run and go home and have breakfast straight away afterwards. That’s a really great way to structure it.”
Don’t compromise your workouts by not re-fuelling.
Running out of the house or the gym without a post-workout meal? To ensure you’re properly fuelling your body after a pre- or after-work exercise session (while at the same time ensuring you don’t eat too much more), McLeod suggests playing a little game of switch.
“If you have muesli with fruit and yoghurt for breakfast, maybe have the banana component straight away while you’re at home getting ready or on the bus, and then eating your remaining breakfast when you get to work,” McLeod said.
“This way you’re not actually eating any more, you’re just switching the timing around slightly. Otherwise there’s a higher chance you will be looking for more food later in the day.”
If you are still hungry after finishing your post-workout meal, Lucas suggests eating a small, nutritious snack.
“If you finish your meal and after 20 minutes you are still starving, then try to eat something that is healthy, low GI and something that will fill you up by eating only a little of it,” Lucas told HuffPost Australia.
“Pepitas are good. A small amount of oats or quinoa can help dash hunger cravings, or even have a teaspoon of an organic nut butter.”
Very importantly, if you are increasing your exercise, don’t eat less.
“Especially if you are a bigger person who has started exercising more, one of the most regular things I see when people find it difficult to lose weight is they’re not actually putting enough fuel in their body to train hard enough and burn off what they need to burn off,” McLeod said.
“Regularly have your fuel levels topped up so you have the energy to burn and your body can run efficiently as it should. Otherwise you might not see the results you want.”
To help you get the best of your workouts, try these five tips.