Diet and Exercise

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, July 23, 2015

I truly enjoy answering all the questions I receive regarding diet and exercise, and one I get often is particularly interesting. “Which is best for me; weight training exercises or aerobic exercises? The short answer is “both”, but let’s explore what each of these forms of exercise is, and how they benefit our bodies. Weight training or resistance training is a type of exercise that strengthens skeletal muscles using weight force of gravity to resist pressure by muscles through concentric (raising weight), and eccentric (lowering  weight) movements.  This style of exercise can be performed using weighted bars, kettlebells,  dumbbells, resistance bands, and weight lifting machines. During aerobic exercise, the body utilizes deep breathing to generate oxygen to help muscles perform. There are many kinds of aerobic exercise including walking, running, cycling, rollerblading,  cross-country skiing, dancing, hiking, rowing, and swimming. Each of these two exercise schemes, whether weight training or aerobics, is invaluable for specific, and different reasons. By the way, no matter your age, you can benefit greatly from both of these exercise forms. I’ve had clients who didn’t even begin until they  were 90 years of age, and I’ve worked with kids as young as 9 years old. Benefits derived from weight training include: 1. Fat loss: Muscle is active tissue, and requires constant maintenance by the body. For every ounce of muscle you build, you’ll burn extra calories 24 hours a day, and lose body fat. 2. Decreasing sarcopenia: Sarcopenia is the degenerative loss of muscle mass. By the way, don’t think you have to be elderly to lose muscle. Muscle mass is lost at the rate of 0.5 percent each year after the age of 25.Thta’s significant, and really adds up. With this loss of muscle comes overall weakness, loss of  balance, loss of bone mass  (osteoporosis) and, of course increased body fat.  That’s right, the less muscle you have, the more fat you will gain. Don’t worry though, you can turn it around with proper exercise. 3. Improved bone density: When muscles contract, they pull against tendons, which  attach muscles to bones. The brain senses this pressure, then signals the body  to harden bones. 4. Strengthens connective tissues: Here, again, weight training involves muscles, tendons (hold  muscles to bones), and ligaments (hold bones to bones), working in concert. This results in better balance, added strength, and improved motor skills. Here are some benefits of aerobic exercise. 1. Improves mental health: During aerobic exercise the brain releases endorphins, which act as natural pain killers, and also reduce mental stress, anxiety, and depression. 2. Better cardiovascular health: During aerobic exercise the heart pumps more blood per beat. This translates to decreased heart rate during both relaxation and exercise.   3. Boosts the immune system: Aerobic , and some weight training   sends antibodies and white blood cell (the body’s defense cells, throughout the body at a faster pace. Also, the temporary rise in body temperature from aerobic exercise helps cripple viruses, and bacteria. When choosing to perform  weight training and aerobic exercise on the same day; there is no rule as to which one should be done first.   Don’t begin any exercise program without first checking with your doctor, and always get advice from an exercise expert. This will keep you safe and greatly facilitate your progress. Diet or exercise question? Email me at Or visit David Crocker of Landrum has been a nutritionist and master personal trainer for 28 years. He served as strength director of the Spartanburg  Y.M.C.A., , head strength coach for the USC-Spartanburg baseball team, S.C. state champion girls gymnastic team, and the Converse college equestrian team. He served as a water safety consultant to the United States Marine Corps., lead trainer to L.H. Fields modeling agency, and taught four semesters at USC-Union. David was also a regular guest of the Pam Stone radio show.

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