Dr. Rohde’s Fitness Philosophy
Over the past 200 years our lifestyles have had a major change in physical activity and daily activity. Most of our daily lives were centered around daily sustenance and finding and preparing food. We had to grow our own foods which was in itself very labor intensive, we had to clean and prepare it and then cook it. Even those activities required more activity like finding and cutting wood to heat the home and to cook so physical labor was a constant both for men and women. As labor saving devices were developed and food became available in the market our daily physical activity levels have dropped considerably. Similarly our jobs, which were primarily agricultural and required much physical activity have become sedentary and now require minimal physical activity. So, our bodies have been unable to respond to these rapid changes in our society with labor saving devices and foods and changes in diet and regular exercise to maintain our health are still required by our body.
In order to truly transform your body, you must commit to both significant changes in dietary intake with less carbs and sugars which our body’s are not designed to handle in the quantities they are now found in our processed foods. Think about going back to a paleolithic diet as a great change in health. Similarly setting up a personalized fitness routine to get regular physical activity and sticking to it is vital. It’s a lifestyle change. Making exercise a daily part of your routine will transform your physical and emotional body. Studies show that people who lead a life filled with exercise live the longest and have the lowest incidence of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and mental deterioration! Good nutrition and exercise are “the fountain of youth”.
Ideally, you should be exercising for one hour everyday. Realistically that won’t be a schedule most people will adhere to in the long term. Recently, the recommendation for exercise frequency was increased from 30 minutes three times a week to one hour of cardiovascular exercise 7 days a week. This does not imply that the intensity should be difficult everyday, but that the greatest amounts of health benefits are seen in those people who make exercise a part of their daily lives. Exercise can include any activity that makes you break a sweat, including all sports. I have found interval training to work the best for me, and I incorporate that every other day.
HOW TO EXERCISE
There are three stages of intensity when working out: Stage 1: not sweating and breathing normal, Stage 2: sweating but breathing normal, and Stage 3: sweating and panting. To get the most out of your exercise regiment, you should be at Stage 2 when doing cardio aerobic activities. This is where you are sweating (feel sweat on the back of your neck, not just your forehead) but breathing normally (you should be able to talk in complete short sentences).
It is helpful to know how exercise burns calories. There are enzymes found on your arteries (called Lipoprotein Lipases) which when activated by heat and exercise feed your muscle fat to burn instead of sugar. This is what is known as the “fat burning stage”. The wonderful benefit of activating these enzymes is that they continue to feed your muscles fat to burn for up to 15 hours AFTER you stop exercising. So, GET THOSE ENZYMES WORKING! To optimize this effect you simply need to exercise (while sweating) for over 30 minutes. Over an hour really doesn’t increase their activity any further. You should not feel like you want to “drop dead” after a workout, you should feel re-energized and invigorated. If you do feel “wiped out”, you are exercising too intensely and are placing an unnecessary burden on your adrenal glands!
Cardio aerobics are of the greatest benefit when you do your exercising in the morning. This leads to a full day of that “fat-burning” activity. If you do cardio aerobics at night (or after work), when you lay down to sleep, the cooling off of your body deactivates these enzymes quicker. So, be an early riser, and go sweat!
WALK BEFORE YOU RUN
If you’re new to exercise-start walking 30 minutes, three times a week and gradually increase to one hour daily of cardio exercise. Exercise is different for everyone. Some patients can start walking one hour a day and build from there.
MIX IT UP
Varying your workout is key. Change your workout every four weeks. Always doing the same workout will create “muscle memory” so it’s important to never let your body get accustomed to the same workout. If you are doing cardio aerobic exercise, try changing your intensity, or try changing to a different exercise or sport. You can return to the same activity after four weeks, because by this time the “muscle memory” has gotten accustomed to your new activity, and your old activity becomes new once more. If lifting weights, vary your routine by trying different exercises or different machines every four weeks. Moving from free weights, to cables, back to free weights is a simple solution to keep the body guessing.
FIND A BUDDY
Studies show that people who workout with a partner, work out twice as often, twice as well, and stay at it twice as long. Treat your workout like a business appointment that you can’t reschedule. Carve it into your day. Joining a gym close to your home or workplace is best. People who sign up at a location more than one mile from their house have been shown to give up going sooner. Joining a gym is better than having “a home gym” for most people, because then you are not distracted by the constant activities (and distractions) that you have at home. Society puts everything else first and us last. Making exercise a priority will improve your physical, emotional and mental well being.