Regular exercise has far, far more benefits than just losing weight. That's why many of us exercise even at a healthy weight. It combats many diseases and health conditions, improves cardiovascular health, increases longevity, gives you more energy, helps to maintain a healthy weight, improves mood, strengthens muscles, bones, ligaments, improves flexibility, etc. etc. etc.
A well rounded exercise program involves both cardiovascular exercise and strength exercises.
Cardiovascular is any type of exercise that elevates heart rate; walking/jogging/running, cycling, jump rope, aerobic videos, swimming, dancing... You can start with 10-20 mins 3-6x a week and increase duration and intensity as you become more fit. Cardiovascular exercise helps you to burn more calories, improves lung function and heart health.
Strength training is exercises that strengthen muscles, bones, ligaments and tendons. To do this you can use weights or resistance in the form of machines, resistance bands or bodyweight. To build strength/muscle you must use weight/resistance that is challenging enough that your reach muscle fatigue in 6-12 reps (you cannot possibly do another rep in good form) for 2-3 sets per muscle group. You can do full body strength training 3x a week on non-consecutive days (in order to allow for muscle repair on rest days). If you do not strength train while losing weight up to 25% of your weight loss can come from lean muscle/tissue.
Sparks has a workout generator that is based on your fitness level and the equipment you have on your "My Fitness" page to get you started.
Resistance training is the same thing as strength training or weight lifting. Aerobic usually refers to steady-state intensity cardio. Anaerobic refers to cardio using different intensity levels. For example, in interval training; you run fast for 30 seconds and then slow for 30 seconds in repetitive intervals. Full court basketball would be a good example of anaerobic cardio, a lot quick bursts of speed and stopping. Circuit training involves both aspects of strength training and cardio performed in circuits of different exercises; some focusing on strength (to improve strength or build muscle), some on cardio (to get your heart rate up and burn more calories).
"Toning" is marketing muscles to women who are afraid if they pick up a barbell, they'll leave the gym looking like She-Hulk. It doesn't happen, what does happen is you get results. Lifting Barbie weights does nothing but waste time.
A great place to start is with an activity you enjoy, like walking or biking, for 30 minutes 3 times a week. As long as you're challenging yourself, that's what is most important. I would also recommend adding strength training to your routine twice a week.
Check out some of the resources on SparkPeople. We have lots of articles, videos and other workout ideas to get you started.
Hope that helps,
"You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call "failure" is not the falling down but the staying down." Mary Pickford
"No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everybody on the couch."
Okay I'm 24 with a 2 and 4 year old. Throughout highschool and the couple years after I always stayed at a comfortable weight--far from fat and far from a toothpick. So I never really worried about what I ate or about exercise. Well after I had my last child I have consistently gained weight. Nothing had really changed in my diet.. or exercise either. But I have never really exercised. I know that sounds terrible but I never really had too. I've been quite a couch potato. I like to watch movies and do things that aren't very strenuous. I mean I keep moving with the kids but its not exercising. So I've been using sparkpeople for the last several weeks as I'm participating in a "biggest loser" challenge at work and just staying in my calorie range has lost me 8lbs! But now I would like to begin adding exercise into my life and I'm clueless!
SO what I'm trying to ask here is what do all these different terms mean:
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