Monthly Archives: March 2012

Incorporating More Functionality Into Your Routine

The other day when I attempted to open a particularly stubborn bottle of nail polish, I found that I simply could not get the job done. So, I decided to stop wasting my energy on a task so simple and just hand it to the hubby. He took one look at me and said, “please don’t tell me those things are for nothin’.” 

The “things” he was referencing were the muscles in my arms and the thought I immediately had was, he’s right! All the weights I lift and exercises I do and I can’t open a friggin’ bottle of nail polish—what gives?!?

Well, I found my answer this morning while browsing the web; a task like that would be labeled a “functional” activity. Or basically an action that includes movements and muscle groups you wouldn’t normally target in your fitness routine. 

So how does one begin to incorporate more functional exercises into their regimen to ensure they aren’t short-changing themselves?

You first start by thinking about common actions you take on a regular/semi-regular basis, and then determine what you can do to closely replicate that in your routine.

“Functional fitness exercises can be done at home or at the gym.

Health and fitness facilities may offer classes that include functional fitness components like boot camp classes, while personal trainers will utilize tools like free weights, fitness balls, steps or kettle bells in functional fitness workouts.

Think about when you pick up a box in your garage and lift it to store it on a shelf above shoulder level. An example of a functional exercise that would address this type of physical challenge might be a squat, while holding dumbbells in each hand, and moving directly into an overhead press. This type of real life movement is not generally achieved using cardio or weight machines.”

I swear, I learn something new about this old body of mine every day.

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Courage

Love this pin I found on Pinterest. I think most of us can relate to the message it relays, too.

The Side Effects of Good Exercise Habits

You want another benefit to regular exercise…better sex.

Testosterone or “T” is a powerful hormone produced naturally in both men and women. It’s responsible for sexual arousal and can be increased through exercise.

Fit adults have more electrifying sex lives than individuals who lead sedentary lives. A fitness lifestyle involves healthy nutritional practices and adherence to regular exercise. Exercise done properly enhances sexual functioning because it can naturally increase testosterone levels in both males and females.

Testosterone (T) is an androgen secreted mostly from the testicles of males and the ovaries of females (small amounts produced in adrenal glands of both sexes). It is best known for its affects on increasing lean muscle mass, reducing body fats and slowing aging processes. T also plays a central role in promoting sexual desire.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I can personally attest that there is truth to that claim.

Prior to my decision to change my lifestyle, I suffered from a relatively low libido, but with an increase in the intensity and regularity of my exercise habits, my libido returned with a vengeance and I was more than happy to welcome it back—as was the hubby.

So, what’s considered a good level at which to train and increase these T-levels, naturally?

…For women to spike exercise-related testosterone levels, they must train hard using compound exercises, moderate reps of 8 – 12, and rest periods of 30 – 180 seconds between sets—similarly to men overall. However, women generally train longer than is required for men to boost testosterone levels. Simply stated, women increase T-levels through participation in grueling workouts and require more time to yield exercise-related T-levels sufficient enough to increase their libido.

In simpler terms, regular exercise (4-5 days a week), using compound exercises (exercises that involve training more than one muscle at a time, i.e. squats, lunges, chest-presses, dips, etc.) for at least 70-80 minutes, is recommended in order for women to achieve optimum results.

As we get older, as women, we have to contend with the rigors of keeping our hormones in balance. However, regular, daily, exercise can help to naturally keep everything in check—many times without a need for an over-the-counter or prescription medication.

That said, it’s up to you to carefully craft a routine that suits not only your lifestyle, but your life; and in so doing maybe you can reap the rewards of your good choices.