Weighing differences | NevadaAppeal.com

Weighing differences

Jerry Vance
For the Nevada Appeal

Extra body weight is a problem millions of Americans deal with. New statistics conclude that as much as 70 percent of the population in the United States is overweight, and the weight you carry contributes to the accumulation of more weight. Extra weight slows you down, drains your energy, and can become a health hazard. Even a five pound weight gain can lower your energy level.

The weight you carry into a fitness program is a factor in how safely you execute your body movements. Extra weight that is distributed unevenly on the body changes muscle usage.

If you are a 220-pound man exercising aerobically and stand next to a 110-pound woman who is also sweating hard, do you both burn the same number of calories? Or, if you climb a mountain, free of extra weight, in one hour and then climb that same mountain with a 50-pound pack on your back, how does the calorie burn differ? How about that guy next to you in class who picks up the 10-pound weights during the running sequences? Is he getting any extra benefits that you aren’t getting?

In linear tables, the heavier you are the more calories you burn; taking into consideration that you are both equal in your level of physical capability. If you hike a hill without a pack and then with a heavy one, you will burn a lot more calories during the second climb … so the guy next to you in class burns more calories during the running exercises if he completes the exercise using the same speed and movement that you do.

Knees have to be just as high, arms raised the same level, etc. He gets to ingest more calories too, because he burns more calories. Also, he will build muscle and line definition from the precise use of weights during exercise.

One thing I find regarding extra weights used during class is that most people slow down incrementally with each added pound. Each pound on the body slows it, whether it is restricting arm movement or lifting the weights. This then slows the burning of calories. If you are overweight, plan on exercising slower and watch your pulse rate. Being overweight puts extra stress on the heart and lungs to keep your body aerobic, so ease up a little until the extra weight decreases.

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Don’t use your exercise program for weight loss, watching what you eat will do that. Exercise will help you burn calories, build body strength and tone floppy muscles.

If you exercise with 10-pound weights, remember that any weight you suddenly pick up is a surprise to the body. Also extension of weight away from the body adds additional stress. Use caution with your movements, slow down and be more precise.

• Jerry Vance is the owner of Sweat Shop/Wet Sweat. She offers classes through the Carson City Recreation and Aquatics Center and is a fitness instructor for the Carson City Senior Citizens Center.