It’s quality, not quantity, that matters with exercise

Published 1:54 pm Thursday, January 19, 2017

By Joe Tscholl

Joe Tscholl is co-owner of Albert Lea’s Snap Fitness and is also a personal trainer there.

Joe Tscholl

Joe Tscholl

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A lot of us have it engrained in our thinking that the quantity of exercise trumps the quality of exercise when it comes to losing weight and feeling great. With a weekly calendar that already screams jam-packed, this preconception could lead many of us to simply determine that we don’t have the time. But what if I told you, you do have time — that it’s the quality of your exercise session that’s vital to making it effective and changing your body, not the quantity. You might just discover a whole new lease on life!

Strength/resistance training is one of the most effective ways to transform one’s body, increase metabolism and prevent the loss of strength and function as we age. Did you know, per one source, that unless we strength train regularly, we begin to lose about half a pound of muscle every year starting after the age of 30? And did you also know that half a pound of muscle loss each year results in a half percent decrease in basal metabolic rate, which is the energy our bodies burn at rest? Not only does strength training pay off when we are young by increasing power output and decreasing fat stores; but it also becomes critical as we age, by maintaining muscle tone, balance, posture, bone mass and basic bodily functions.

An effective strength or resistance workout can be accomplished in as little as 15 minutes, and while many of you may choose to go to the gym or fitness center because of their array of equipment options; there are many ideas via video or YouTube that you can do right within your own home just by using your own body weight.

Here is a sample strength workout you can do at home:

Warm up with five to 10 minutes of walking.

Complete a series of four exercises for seven minutes.

• Single leg lunges (10 reps on each leg)

• Double leg squats (add a jump at end-optional) 15 to 20 reps

• Pushups (10 to 20 reps)

• Plank (hold for 30 seconds)

Continue to repeat the series as many times as possible over the seven-minute duration. If you are able, or as you become stronger, take a three-minute rest and then repeat the process for another seven minutes.

Follow up with a five- to 10-minute cool down (walk).

It is critical that you use proper form when strength training, and that you start out slowly — maybe just once or twice a week to start. On the off days, cardio fitness is a great offset. Stretching before and after will also help with soreness and reduce your chances of injury. Good luck and enjoy the benefits!