Exercise or not?
Many of us have step counters to accumulate the 10,000 as a mark per day. Is this exercise. On a technical sense ‘no’. Are they important, ‘Yes’. So ‘Why’?
The body consumes energy (calories):
Even at sleep we are burning calories. So, the level of activity we do throughout the day, and the state of our body, will govern the amount of caloric burn we maintain. Hence, the more inactive or sedentary you are, the less caloric burn you maintain, and this has detrimental effects, over the long term (more on that later). There are 4 main methods which calories are burnt up during the day, these include:
- Basic Metabolic Rate (BMR). Even if you were to lay in bed all day reading a book, you would burn calories. Your breathing, heart rate, brain activity (consumes a lot of calories) and the amount of muscle (produces heat) you have all consume calories at a rate that can actually be measured (BCAs aka Body Composition Analysis, at Terrific Fitness)
- Thermic Effect of Food (TEF). Basically, means the calories used up to digest the food you eat from chewing to your gut processing food. Some food actually use up more calories in digestion than they actually contain, however, this is not a good weight loss strategy and is an unsustainable diet method.
- Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT). This is activity you normally do throughout the day, such as walking (yep, this means the 10,000) steps, work or occupation, chores, cleaning, driving etc. NEAT should constitute 20-25% of your overall caloric burn. If it is less than this, then your lifestyle is sedentary. Examples are taxi drivers, call center operators, most office workers.
- Physical Exercise. This is the stuff you go to the gym for. The activity that gets your heart rate up and pushes your capacity over a rested state. This activity encourages muscle growth and cardiovascular improvement. Even though it may only take 45mins to an hour 4-6 times a week, it is a major contributor to BMR, stress, sleep, and mental patterns.
From these 4 elements of caloric burn, you can see that BMR and TEF are basically in-active and doesn’t require effort. Whereas NEAT and Physical Exercise does require activity or effort. All these elements contribute to the Total Daily Energy Expenditure, also known as TDEE.
The More Muscle, the Better!
Although 10,000 steps are an important contributor to the daily energy expenditure, it maintains your body’s activity level to some degree which includes active response in your lower body muscles. The more you contribute to muscle growth, through Physical Exercise, the better you enhance your BMR because the larger muscles consume more calories (even at rest)
Terrific Fitness Example: You may notice that the Terrific Fitness Crew do a lot of lower body exercise either at the beginning of a class or do 5-6 lower body or leg exercises in a row in Bootcamp, Resistant HIIT and XFB. This is because the regime is encouraging the body to develop and grow the lower body muscles in the legs and hips and so, improve the BMR.
Why are we increasing BMR and overall caloric burn?
Basically, the better we can turn over the blood sugar and insulin regulator, the better we keep the body in check for having an efficient metabolism or energy turn over. Even if we are not trying to lose weight. If you are sedentary, you are more likely to have a prolonged or higher blood sugar level, insulin dysfunction and overload and a dysfunctional weight control (energy shifted to fat preservation rather than energy burn).
What is Insulin?
Insulin is a hormone secreted by our pancreas that helps regulate blood sugar. If we overeat sugary foods, we overload the blood system with glucose sugar and in the absence of exercise, our cells don’t use it for energy because there is not demand, so the body releases more insulin to cope with higher blood sugar because it stays in the system. Repeated high blood sugar has a compounding effect on the release of insulin and it also begins the cycle of moving that excess sugar into fat storage. This repeated process is the beginnings of Type 2 Diabetes and takes a long time to reverse by re-introducing exercise and healthy eating.
Take away points:
- Avoid sugary and processed foods that increase blood glucose sugar levels.
- Maintain your steps and encourage the growth of your muscles.
- The more you engage (frequency) in healthy eating and physical exercise the better your chances of controlling your weight and investing in your health.
Simple Goals to Set:
- 10,000 steps
- Start with 2 Physical Exercise sessions (Bootcamp, Resistance HIIT etc) a week and build from there. (Just about all TF classes help you with this)
- Eat un-altered or un-processed foods. Create and prepare your own plate.
- Find walking or hiking tracks and repeat them (better the time, the second time round)
- Steadily increase your walk route and include hills if you can, to contribute to your overall 10,000 steps a day.
- Coach Stephen