understanding fitness- exercise and weight loss
In the modern world we are constantly worried about weight gain and lack of energy. This has only become a big concern with the development of the consumer society in developed countries. We have become much more of a sedentary society in which we only want to do physical exercise in short daily bursts. However the human body was not set up to work in this fashion.
The hunter gatherer of ten thousand years ago spent most of his or her day doing aerobic exercise in the form of walking, in his constant search for food. Exercise was no concern of theirs, their major concern was to get enough food to keep from starving to death. It was only when we developed a reliable food supply that weight gain became a problem.
The problem escalated when we learned how to refine certain foods, and take dietary fiber out. This allowed the body to convert the part of carbohydrates left into blood sugar much faster. The body couldn't use that much glucose that fast, and the extra glucose was converted to triglycerides, and stored in fat cells
The human of ten thousand years ago got the equivalent of 22 teaspoons of sugar yearly, but the average person today gets 53 teaspoons of sugar daily. Our bodies are not equipped to handle this overload. We store the glucose as fat and this is why we have so many obese people. The next thing is to understand is how the human body exercises, and how it burns fat. We will look at how this works in the next section on anaerobic and aerobic exercise.
Two types of exercise, anaerobic or aerobic
In the modern world of exercising there are two forms of exercise, anaerobic or aerobic exercise. Anaerobic exercise is high intensity exercise, and aerobic exercise is low intensity exercise. Anaerobic exercise just burns glucose, but aerobic exercise burns both glucose, and when it is used up it burns body fat.
When we consider primitive man aerobic exercise was used for walking in the pursuit of food, and anaerobic exercise was involved in the high intensity battle to pursue and kill game. That is why aerobic exercise burns both glucose and body fat, because it was used to cover long distances in the search for food, while anaerobic exercise was only used in the pursuit and killing of game. If you could burn body fat when pursuing or trying to kill game you might starve to death trying to get your next meal. However by burning body fat only when exercising aerobically you conserve energy so that you have enough to find your next meal. Also body fat stores excess energy until it is needed.
The human body was perfectly designed for the world of the hunter gatherer, but in the modern world where regular meals are ordinary, and excess calories are stored as too much body fat this creates a problem. As a society we have to learn to consume less calories, or to do more exercise to burn off this excess fat. A combination of both items seems to be the best possible course. Understanding how anaerobic and aerobic exercise works we will next look at an exercise program.
A good exercise program
developing a good exercise program
When we are looking to develop a good exercise program all we have to do is obverse what the hunter gatherer did and pattern our fitness program to model that. The hunter gatherer used about 80 percent of his time doing aerobic exercise. In other words he walked at least 25 miles a day in search of food, and that was his aerobic exercise. The other 20 percent was spent in anaerobic exercise, which was chasing down and killing game.
That means we should spend about 80 percent of our time doing aerobic type exercises, and the other 20 percent doing anaerobic exercises. The second thing to understand is that any exercise can be either aerobic or anaerobic. It depends on intensity and the amount of weight used. If you are trying to build up bigger muscles it is anaerobic exercise that you need. However if you are burning off excess fat it is aerobic exercise that you need to be doing.
That means if the only piece of exercise equipment you have is an exercise bike you can do both anaerobic and aerobic exercise on that bike. It all depends on how fast you are riding that bike as to which exercise you are doing. You want to warm up with gentle aerobic exercise, after which you do shorts bursts of anaerobic exercise to burn off the glycogen in your muscles interspersed with longer periods of aerobic exercise that will eventually start to burn up excess fat. However the aerobic exercise will burn glucose and glycogen until it is used up, and only then will it start to burn fat. That is the main reason for the anaerobic exercise, because you are trying to burn up this glucose and glycogen as quickly as possible, so that you can start burning fat with the aerobic exercise.
The purpose of all this exercise is to burn off all the excess calories you consume that you do not need. If you don't burn the excess calories they will simply turn to fat and if you don't do more exercise or consume less calories you will gain weight, and then struggle with weight problems until you do large amounts of aerobic exercise to burn off the fat. Next we will examine why it seems muscles turn to fat when you stop exercising.
why it seems that muscles turn to fat
I had a friend that exercised for about four hours a day when he was in high school because he was on the football team. He also wanted to play football in college, and because of this he kept up the intensity of the exercise program. However when he tried out for the college football team he didn't make the squad, and then gave up on his intense exercise program.
Within a reasonable amount of time it seemed that the large muscles had all turned to fat, and now 25 years later the now middle aged man is about two hundred pounds overweight, and it seems from outside appearances that the muscle has turned to fat, however this is not at all what happened.
Each person has a set number of muscle cells. These cells can grow in size with the right amount of intense weight bearing exercise. The number of muscle cells in a persons body does not vary under anything close to normal types of anaerobic exercise. The size of the muscle cells can grow and shrink in size and this is what makes it appear that muscle is turning to fat.
When you are involved in an intense workout program you will consume more calories because of the amount burned during the workout. If you stop this intense training you usually will usually not slow down in your calorie intake and therefore will gain in fat weight. The muscle cells go down in size and more and larger fat cells appear, and thus it seems that your muscle is turning to fat.
How diet can promote weight loss
The diet of much of the modern world is out of whack with the way the human body was designed by tens of thousands of years of human evolution. During the time of the hunter gatherer there was no such thing as refined sugar, and the only way to get a sweet taste was with certain types of sweet fruit. That is why humans have sweet receptors on the tongue, they needed the blood sugar they got quicker from these fruits to supply energy to the brain and the cells of the body.
The first part of the human diet to consider are carbohydrates, and there are three types of carbohydrates to consider. They are known as starches, sugars, and dietary fiber.. the first one to consider is starches, and the most important thing to understand is that the more starches like grains are processed the faster they break down into blood sugars and are available as energy. That is why with all the refined starches in our diet our blood sugar level can go so high.
Just imagine a sweet roll and a carbonated soft drink, because the sweet roll is made from refined starch grain all the blood sugar is available to the bloodstream within minutes of eating. This is why with a modern diet your blood sugar level can rise so quickly. When you drink fruit juice you get this rush of fruit sugar to the blood without the dietary soluble fiber to slow down this sugar rush to the bloodstream.
The same thing occurs every time you exclude dietary fiber from your general diet. The dietary fiber adds bulk to your diet which can slow your caloric intake, helps your dietary system pass food residue through the system, and slows the absorption of sugars by your bloodstream. This is why carbohydrates with the fiber left in are so important to an overall balanced daily diet.
The way our bodies have developed over ten of thousands of years should dictate the type of exercise program we pursue on a daily basis. This development tells us the amount of time we should spend on exercise and the type we should do. As modern humans we consume to many calories in our diet and not only need to change our approach to exercise , but also our approach to our diet. We will look further at our approach to diet in future articles. This article was mainly concerned with exercise.