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8 Cold, Hard Truths About Exercise

It's Time for an Exercise in Tough Love


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  • Ugh. Hard truths to read. However, when I look way back to my six pack (yes, this 210 pound woman used to weigh 142 and had a six pack) I remember I was doing cardio and strength 4-5 times a week, for at least an hour and a half. I also trained with my fitness buddy, who long ago moved to Kansas. I really need to get up to speed!
  • As an addition to DANJODEA's comment (with which I agree) the availability of processed foods has also allowed us to eat without regard to preparation or health value. I recently watched a great talk that basically said "eat what you want, but make it yourself". Not only do you get more health benefits by starting from scratch, but you are also far less likely to frequently make foods that are less healthful because they're typically more difficult! Think of the work entailed in making french fries (just the fries!), versus making cedar-plank salmon with steamed veggies or salad and some quinoa. It's a much better meal with half the effort of making just a side dish.
    It's a myth that cooking at home takes too long and is too difficult for the average person. There are PLENTY of quick, easy and cost-conscious recipes that make eating at home delicious and fun.
  • "SparkPeople tries to be a little more conservative with the numbers we use on our Fitness Tracker..."
    --- This is the one that troubles me. Because SparkPeople is too conservative, I have to constantly adjust my numbers. Even the SP activity tracker has to be adjusted. I use a heart monitor to keep things consistent which takes away from all the conveniences the site builds in.
  • I agree with all but the first: exercise will not always be hard!
    Yes it is always hard to increase intensity of your workouts, but many of us are happy with amoderate intensity, and once that is reached exercise feels easy.
    I do 4 runs, 3 walks every week and yoga every day - all the runs and walks and some of the yoga sessions are easy and pleasant, and still keep me fit.
  • I am only speaking for myself in saying I find this article helpful and motivating. I have been trying to get myself back on the exercise track for a couple of months. One of the things I find hardest is when I get on the treadmill and have a hard time getting myself to walk over 3 mph. Sometimes it's even hard to get myself UP to 3 mph. But after reading this article, I realize that it's not the speed at which I'm working that matters, it's how hard I am working. So as long as I'm feeling like I'm working hard and my body is feeling strained, I'm going to feel like it was a good workout.
  • From a certain point of view, this article is completely correct. From an overall perspective, I'm not so certain.

    The modern "obesity epidemic" isn't from lack of exercise, although for many people the sedentary lifestyle certainly contributes; it's from a crappy diet. If we could eat better, normal daily movements plus occasional workouts would suffice.

    Watch some newsreel footage (not movies!) from the late 1940s through the 1960s; very few people are overweight, even those with relatively sedentary lifestyles (working at a desk all day). Most of those people didn't go to gyms every day - or even at all. Gyms, until relatively recently, were places where athletes went to improve athletic performance. As recently as the early 1970s, gyms as we know them today didn't exist; the modern gym was "invented" in the early 1980s.

    Two things have gone wrong. First is portion size; second is the "innovation" of highly processed foods.

    Portion distortion began in the late 1970s and really got rolling in the early 1980s. "Where's the beef?" may have been funny then, but really, the original McDonald's burger was a properly-sized serving of beef (three ounces). The quarter pounder was considered a big burger at the time; now people order double burgers, a "small salad" is three cups of lettuce and half a cup of dressing, and a small soft drink has gone from 7 ounces to 20 ounces.

    We've been consuming processed foods for centuries; as gross as it might sound, haggis is a processed food. However, highly processed foods created simply for convenience force us to consume excess quantities of junk: high fructose corn syrup, bleached flour, sugar, and a whole host of simple carbs replaced complex carbs. There's room here for several articles; just be aware a lot of the processing of foods is for convenience, not to make it better. Remember that the next time you eat a fortified protein bar.

    So exercise properly, yes, but you really need to take a long, hard look at your diet as well.
  • Being overweight has been a problem for me for 40 years. If I can maintain the weight I am today...I am thrilled. However, to maintain this weight. I must exercise daily and watch my food intake. When entering my fitness of the day, I might add house cleaning. No, I'm not cleaning my house. I do this a couple of times a week for money. When I go in that house, I'm scrubbing, mopping, sweeping, folding, changing sheets, dusting, moving furniture....yeah, it's a work out. I only have a couple of hours to complete this job. So's a work out indeed!
  • I don't like your attitude at all, Miss Priss! Yes, little workouts do count, and you CAN put them in the fitness tracker. It all adds up at the end of the day. I think beginners and disabled people should be given more credit when they fit in a workout, however long that may be. I am really very sick, but I get up and get in 2 hours of walking everyday. And you know what? I'm pretty proud of myself for doing it, and you can't take that away! No matter what you say, I will still feel proud for what I have done to better myself. If you can't take it, go home, chick!
    Tough love and a good reality check. Gaining the weight didn't happen overnight and losing it and getting healthy won't happen overnight either. Nonetheless...gotta stay focused on the the be healthy.
  • Wow. Cold, hard truths alright.

    But this is just what I needed to read today, as I have been getting more active but NOT getting the results I expected. Your clarification between exercise and activity has clicked a little switch in my thinking and I will put that into action.

    Thanks for this article.
  • All very true. The part I think some people miss while reading this is that it has to be hard. If it is HARD for you to be in motion for 10 minutes then you are working out. My first walk of a 1/2 mile had me breathless and exhausted. That was a work out. Months latter my 4 mile will leave me breathless if I am pushing it. That too is a work out. For me, at this point logging in heavy house cleaning won't work. If House cleaning leaves you exhausted and is hard, It is a work out. All movement is good. Please do what you can when you can. Push yourself when you can. Do not give up!!
  • Great Article!!!!
  • WYATT18
    Great article!! No surprises at all! Reality checks are always positive!
  • STOLL2013
    HI everyone
    It is true that you do have to work hard to see results.
    I have to say I am a non exerciser and reading an article like this really inspires me to " get going"as it were.
    However keep in mind this article is intended for persons who are not suffering from physically limiting illness or injury. For those that are you really just need to do what you can do and not be discouraged. I think it is great and inspiring that someone with a debilitating illness is getting out each day and doing some form of exercise. Even if it is just for 10 or 15 minutes. Keep up the good work you are an inspiration to people like myself who really need to sit down and get in the discipline of routine.

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