About Me

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Atlanta, GA, United States
When I suffered a lip injury that ended my career as a classical trombonist, I thought my life as a musician was finished, but I fell in love with music all over again when Santa gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2003. Even as I was struggling with my first chords, I was planning a new performance career. As a trombonist, I performed with the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, the Ohio Light Opera, and in pick-up bands for touring acts that included Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, and the Manhattan Transfer. Reborn as a jazz guitarist, I sing and play my own solo arrangements of jazz classics, am half of the Godfrey and Guy duo, and hold the guitar chair in the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. I have been a freelance music copyist since 1995 and have been music director at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation since 2011.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Losing It #9: Strength and Stretching

In my blogs about losing weight (70 pounds so far!), I often write about walking, but walking isn't my only exercise. I also stretch and strengthen.

What I'm about to write isn't exactly top secret. You can read about it just about anywhere, but since you're here now, you might as well hear it from me.

There are three basic types of exercises: aerobic, strengthening, and stretching. Aerobic exercise, such as walking or cycling, can improve your overall stamina and heart health. My choice of aerobic exercise, walking, is what I write about most often, and it's the key exercise in my weight loss routine.

Aerobic exercise is great for burning fat, but strengthening exercises are also a great help. When you perform strength exercises on a regular basis, you add muscle. The coolest thing about this, for weight loss, is that increasing your muscle muscle mass increases your metabolism. In other words, simply by having more muscle, you burn more fat, even if you're just, say, blogging at your computer. Back in my glory days, I was into bodybuilding, but there's no need to spend hours at the gym. Today, my strength routine is very basic: crunches, push-ups, and dumbbell curls. I don't need a gym, and the only equipment I require is a light set of dumbbells.

Women, if you're afraid of bulking up, don't be. For the average woman, you have to do a lot of heavy lifting before you even begin to look bulky. Also, for both men and women, if you're looking to build big muscles, you'll want to lift heavy weights with fewer repetitions. If you're looking to tone your muscles, you'll want to lift lighter weights with more repetitions. Me? I'm not looking to recapture my bodybuilder physique. I'm using lighter weights and high repetitions so that I'll have some muscle tone when I reach my target weight.

Stretching doesn't increase fat burning, but it helps prevent injury. I have a bad back, and stretching exercises my hamstrings and butt helps to keep my back loose. I haven't gotten around to it yet, but I keep meaning to take up yoga. Many, many people have recommended yoga to me. I haven't started it yet, but my stretching routine is largely based on some yoga exercises my ex-wife used to perform.

There's a really good book on stretching titled, oddly enough, Stretching. I highly recommend it.

If you want to lose weight, focus on aerobic exercise. Get out there and run, hike, walk, swim, cycle, and dance. For overall fitness, don't forget to strengthen and stretch.

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