Ten Myths about Exercise

1. Exercise is the Fastest Way to Lose Weight
FALSE

Exercise is not the only factor in losing weight. The most effective method is changing your diet. A good rule of thumb is to reduce your intake by 300-500 calories every day if the goal is to lose 4-5 pounds per month.
In short – exercise boosts your metabolism, and with a suitable diet it helps you get results.

2. Stretching after Exercising Reduces Muscle Pain
TRUE and FALSE

Many say it feels good to stretch. But it has not been proven scientifically that stretching prior to and after exercise has any effect. The ‘sore muscles’ phenomenon is simply the healing of the muscles that we have stressed and therefore ‘injured’. The body simply rebuilt itself. Be careful when stretching; don’t overdo it. If it seems to help you, then you may keep doing it.

3. Abdominal Crunches Flatten your Stomach
FALSE

We wish it were true, but it is impossible to burn abdominal fat by doing crunches. What does happen is that you build muscles; contrary to popular belief, you don’t burn fat. But don’t give up – you WILL get a firmer stomach by exercising, and having a strong body is a healthy benefit.

4. Muscles Turn into Fat if you Stop Exercising
FALSE

If you stop exercising, you’ll lose muscle mass. But your muscles don’t turn into fat – rather they are converted to amino acids that get metabolized. If you then eat more than you metabolize, you do add fat to your body. The energy from the food you don’t metabolize turns into fat … not your muscles.

5. Running Burns More Calories than Walking
FALSE and TRUE

“It depends.” It doesn’t matter whether you run or walk. What matters is the time you spend on the activity. Recent studies show that if you walk for twice as long as you run, you metabolize slightly more food energy by walking. Just put on your coat or jacket and go for a walk.

6. Only Regular Exercise Gets Results
FALSE and TRUE

No doubt about it – regular exercise is very effective. If the goal is weight loss, a weekly exercise session is not going to cut it, though it’s better than nothing. A short run every two weeks can pave the way for more regular exercise sessions. Keep at it!

7. It Only Works if it Hurts
FALSE

Good news. There’s no need for pain. Of course, you need to push yourself a bit to get results – that goes for any kind of exercise. Be sure to exhaust your reserves occasionally so to be tired after your session. Be equally sure not to exceed your pain threshold. Don’t be afraid of pushing yourself – it will help you. But exercise according to your ability – that’s it.

8. Don’t Exercise the Same Muscle Groups Two Days in a Row
TRUE

You don’t mow your lawn two days in a row, do you? You might do some weeding instead. That’s how the body works. The process of restitution in each group of muscles depends on the kind of exercise you do. Some types of exercise make you sore for days. The general rule is that the body needs 48-78 hours of rest after an exercise session before you focus on the same group of muscles in another session.
It is fine to exercise the next day, if you exercise other muscle groups. Each person is unique when it comes to exercise. If your muscles are sore, let them rest.

9. The More you Sweat, the more Weight Loss
FALSE

Being able to wring the sweat from your clothes is no indicator of burning calories. Many are under the mistaken impression that the more you perspire, the more weight you lose. That is not true. Sweat is the body’s cooling mechanism to maintain a steady temperature, and we are all different when it comes to perspiring. There is no correlation with burning calories – that’s a matter of your diet and the intensity of your exercise. Sweating – how much and for how long – is of no consequence.

10. Do Abdominal Crunches to Get a Sixpack
FALSE

Sadly, no matter how many crunches you do, they won’t give you a sixpack. Your diet matters and building muscle strength – by exercising the entire body – matters. Strengthening your body gives you defined muscles. Therefore, your strategies should be eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and working on your stomach muscles. Stomach muscles are essential to holding our bodies upright.

Sources: Licensed exercise instructor and nutritionist Henric Rosvall | Videnskab.dk | DGI

Music As Your Exercise Partner

Get in The Groove

It is often really hard to get into the swing of exercising – especially if you have taken an extended break from it. That’s where music comes in as your faithful exercise buddy, helping you get in the groove.

It’s no news that music has an effect on our state of mind. It is similarly well known that it has a positive effect on exercise. In the UK, research has been done since the late 1990’s to uncover the relationship between physical exercise and music.

One of the leading music and sports researchers in the world, sports psychologist Costas Karageorghis of Brunel University in London, has demonstrated in studies that you may increase your performance by up to 15% if you listen to music during exercise. The increase is even greater if you do high-intensity workouts like cycling or running. But how does music accomplish this?

The Effects of Music

Music can make us cry or laugh. Music is a stimulus with a strong impact on our psyche and our body. For example, we can hardly sit still when we hear the great beats from a favorite track come through the speakers. Your feet keep the beat, and you feel like moving your entire body along with the sounds.

Music impacts our heart rate and our motor system. It gets us up in gear when fast rhythms stream from the speakers, and it soothes us to sleep when calming and gentle sounds float around us late at night.

Three types of impact are of interest for your warmup, your exercise session, and your cooldown.

MOOD: Music sets the mood. It can put you in a good mood and kick up your energy to make you want to exercise.

DISTRACTION: Your attention is diverted from fatigue and pain. That lets you increase the intensity of exercise and your performance.

PERFORMANCE: Music encourages movement. The rhythms are reflected in the body’s movements, and your performance and endurance go up a notch.

The Pain Threshold Moves Up

The British studies show that during high-intensity exercise such as running and cycling, your performance is significantly enhanced when you listen to music during a training session. When you’re working out at the optimal rhythm, you actually consume less energy because the music works on your motor system and reduces your consumption of oxygen so that your endurance increases.

Conversely, this means that you need to pay attention to the beat. Music moves your pain threshold because it diverts attention from the body. That’s good and bad – good for your performance and less good if you exceed your pain threshold. You need to know your body and to know how to listen to its signals – even though you’re paying attention to the music.

Mood and Tempo

The right playlist helps you feel energized during your exercise. If you exercise alone, it is a special advantage to use music to induce the right mood. As music is a subjective experience, there is no recipe for the perfect playlist. It depends entirely on you, your musical taste, and your level of fitness.

Choose music that speaks to your feelings and at the same time fits your pace and fitness level. It shouldn’t be too slow or too fast. Your body will automatically attempt to match its rhythm, and that is why it is important to identify music whose beat is matched to the type of exercise you do and the fitness level at which you exercise. Be realistic in choosing the tracks you want to listen to. An ideal pace will naturally vary between individuals and will reflect the type of exercise; typically, it would fall between 125 and 140 beats per minute.

TIP:

Here’s how to find the correct beat for your exercise music.
Use this formula to find your per-minute pace for warm-up, exercise, and cool-down:

Number of movements you make in a minute x 2 = beats per minute.
This value may be divided by two or multiplied.

In short, music may increase your endurance, reduce the sensation of effort and help you exercise for longer than you would otherwise have done. But do remember – no matter how much you exercise and how fit you are – get to know your body and listen carefully to the signals it is sending you. With or without music.

Exercise for life

Advice and knowledge from the physiotherapist.

Denmark takes the lead in the EU when it comes to physical activity. But a lot of exercise is not the same as the right exercise.

We are very good at working out in Denmark. We are actually the country in the EU that works out the most. According to a large study that Local Government Denmark published, 31 pct. of everyone above 15 spend at least five hours a week on physical activity. But does that mean that we can rest on our laurels? No, says physiotherapist Anders Pedersen. The numbers say nothing about whether the workout we do is the one that benefits our bodies the most. The right exercise must be adapted to our age.

It has to be fun

The most important thing is that you find your workout fun. No matter what kind of workout we do throughout our lives it has to be meaningful for us. We will not continue exercising if it becomes annoying or routine. Exercise should preferably be easily doable. That is why home workouts are a good supplement or alternative. A lot of us have a busy schedule where it can be difficult to make time to go to the gym.

In this article you can read a little about what kind of workouts Anders Pedersen recommends as particularly good depending on, where you are in your life.

In growth

When we are young the most important thing is that we move our body and use many different aspects of it. As a young person you are growing, and our brain and the body is more malleable. It is therefore important that you make sure to challenge all the different muscle groups to support a healthy and strong body.

CROSS PATTERN exercises are important when the body is growing as it strengthen your body’s ability to send data. It has great meaning for the development of your physique and intelligence. Cross pattern exercises are exercises which combine the right and left side and work across the midline of the body e.g. in something so simple as when we walk or run. Cross patterns make the two halves of our brain work together better. Left brain half controls the right side of the body and vice versa.

It is our pons which is essential when it comes to sending messages to the different parts of the body we wish to activate. Our pons function as a kind of middle station between areas in our brain and as a transmission channel for our motor nerve tracts and our fine motor skills.

That means that you both strengthen your physique and your intelligence when you do cross pattern exercises – and at the same time you reprocess the amount of data your pons gets used to sending. And that is good.

BALANCE exercise is important. When we train balance, the brain sends an enormous amount of information around to many different areas in the body. Amongst other things balance involves the sight, the ear and the senses in and around all our joints.

Balance exercises both strengthen the physical and mental well-being, which is important while we grow and develop ourselves.

WEIGHTLIFTING exercise. Socially there is an increasing focus on big butts, upper arms and abs. This is also the case for the very young, whom we now see many of at the gym. Previously it would scare us when children and young adults wanted to weightlift, however gradually we have begun to accept and support this cultural change. You just need to remember that it is children and they are not finished developing yet.

There is a tendency to exercise motivated by looks. It is a lot better to think “how does my body work” because it needs to last many years.

Changed life conditions

In the period between 20 and 40, the life conditions of many changes. We finish our education and many settle down. That means that, unlike earlier, when we only had ourselves to think about, we now have more things in our life. It is also here the foundation for obesity can become one of the problems, we later have to fight. For many it is a period which is characterized by having less focus on and time for taking care of yourself.

CIRCUIT exercise. We must make sure that we keep moving. It is important that you don’t think it HAS to be in a gym, because it is especially in this life period that it can be difficult to make all the scheduled fitness if you have to go to a gym to exercise. Therefore, many can benefit from home training to keep in shape. Do you need good ideas on how to keep yourself inspired then you can read more here.

Many of us have sedentary work and are inactive for many hours. Your metabolism is lowered as our activity level is lowered. It is when the metabolism is lowered, and we still eat the same that we are in risk of developing problems with obesity. But it does not take as much as we think to keep in good shape. Even though the Danish Health Authority recommends 30 minutes of exercise a day it does not have to be continuous 30 minutes.

If you exercise 6 x 5 minutes during a day that is fine. If you have time for the full 30 minutes program, then that’s great.

It is a problem that we are creating an A- and a B-team. While the A-team are being rewarded for doing everything after the book the B-team often consists of those of us who does not have the time.

It is about integrating exercise in your everyday life, so it does not become a pressure.

WEIGHTLIFTING. Unfortunately, the many good intentions slide away from us when we are in the working age. It is important that we are attentive when it comes to the fact that we are more and more people who have sedentary work. It is therefore also important to think about the shoulders, neck and arms. Many hunches when sitting at a desk which in the long-term can result in increased risk of stooping. Depending on what you work with, it is therefore important that you adapt your exercise to the work that you have. Do you sit down often you increase the risk being stooping and it is therefore your antigravity muscles you need to strengthen. You can read more about the antigravity muscles here on this site. It is about strengthening the long stretches if you are sedentary. In contrast if you are a window cleaner or standing up most of your day then, yes, focus should be on your stomach and pelvis muscles.

It is in the period between the 20’s and 40’s that we found the “bad habits” and the patterns which will be significant for the rest of our lives. Especially make sure that you get up and move if your work is sedentary.

It takes an extra effort

If you have not taken proper care of your body, it is in this period that the bad habits break through. You suddenly experience how it takes an extra effort if you want to keep in shape and stay healthy.

One of the things you have to pay particular attention – to and which greatly affects women in this age group – is osteoporosis.

Through life there is an ongoing interaction between formation (building) and resorption (breaking down) bone mass. When we are young the formation is greater than the resorption and the result is an increased bone mass. When we are approaching 40 a slow decalcification starts and continues for the rest of our lives. Therefore, it is important that you strengthen your bones, as they can become porous. When women reach menopause – and the estrogen production reduces – the decalcification increases and as a result so does the risk of osteoporosis.

WEIGHT BEARING EXERCISES such as walks, runs, gymnastics and ball games are particular important when you want to strengthen your bones. Exercises which stimulates the bones results in an increased absorption of calcium and so leads calcium back into the bones.

Besides exercise, which strengthen our bones, it is also important to be aware of your diet and make sure you get enough vitamin D.

In this period, it is all about maintaining the good habits you hopefully already have established. This means that you, as previously mentioned, need to remember to stimulate your metabolism. In this life period a lot of people regain time for themselves. Therefore, it might make sense to seek professional help from a personal trainer or a physiotherapist to make
a workout program which is tailored to you and your body. Here a gym might be good as you can get advice on how to make a good program with the right exercises.

WEIGHT LIFTING. Be aware to get around all muscle groups. A lot of us experience problems with musculoskeletal system in this period. The body does not do the same as you are used to, and you need to respect that, so you do not get injured in ways that could back fire later in life.
It takes a longer time to recover so it can be a good idea to seek council or help to make a program which is tailored to you and your body.

Focus on balance

Our whole life we strain our bodies with positions e.g. desk work – which counteracts our upright position and press us down in the curved body we had when we were fetuses in our mothers’ stomach. We move with gravity. It is therefore extremely important that we make sure to strengthen those muscle groups which keeps us straight and upright.

When we move into the life phase of 60+ the risk for stooping grow bigger. Many elderlies become more bent and for that reason our walking patterns become more locked, where many of us have to take small steps to not lose our balance.

Perception becomes worse in this period, where sensory input, joints and eyes become worse at treating the many inputs we are exposed to simultaneously. Many elderlies lose their driver’s license because we have a more difficult time treating the many simultaneous sensory inputs, when we grow older.

BALANCE EXERCISE is therefore a focus area now, where we have to live with any infirmities we have collected throughout our life. It is in this period we see a lot of falls with following hip fractures and it is here the balance and response exercises are important. You may add response exercises, where you train your swiftness, so you can react faster if you should lose your balance.

You can benefit from working out at home. Use a balance board and walk on bare feet so you stimulate your senses and keep your brain going also purely physical. Make quick movement exercises to train your responsiveness.

WEIGHT LIFTING and CIRCUIT exercises are also good to implement in our workout habits, which should be regular by now. Nordic walking is good as it strengthens both balance and circuit, but it requires that you learn how to use the poles right first, so you do not end up with a shoulder injuries. We can actually use many of the same exercises we used as children in this life phase as well.

The most important thing is that you listen to your body and workout the way that suits you and your age.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease, where the strengthen of the bones is decreased due to a low calcium concentration. It weakens the bones which means that there is an increased risk of breaks e.g. in the vertebra, thigh bones, hips and arms. The disease is most frequent amongst the elderly and more frequent amongst women than men. Women above 50 years have a 40-50 pct. greater risk of a bone fracture as a result of the disease. Amongst men the risk is only 15-20 pct. The disorder has no symptoms and is therefore found because of the bone fractures.

Bone friendly lifestyle

According to the Danish Health Authority there are three essential points in a bone friendly lifestyle.

1.Eat healthy and varied with enough calcium and vitamin D

2.Exercise:

  • Helps keep the calcium and the strength of the bones
  • Improve the muscle strength and balance, posture, fitness and coordination
  • Prevent and/or reduces falls and fractures
  • Decreases pain and increases mental health

3. Limit tobacco and alcohol

Source: Sundhedsstyrelsen

A Good Butt is a big Advantage

Advice and guidance from a physical therapist

Vanity is a key motivator in working the butt. We want a firm and round one. But there’s much more to it than appearance.

Stand Up – Go Walking

Did you know that the human body is equipped with a set of muscles called “anti-gravity muscles”? Did you know they’re in your buttocks? Read on to learn more about how strong buttocks support your posture and your endurance.

Physical therapist Anders Pedersen suggests it’s totally against nature that we humans walk upright. We are among very few mammals who walk on two legs, and that’s a huge load on the body.
The farther a mass is removed from Earth, the greater the pressure on it. Anders Pedersen explains that our upright bodies are working AGAINST gravity.

Were we to walk on all fours, the pressure would be distributed in a different way. As upright beings we experience an enormous pressure on the spine. To compensate, we need to choose the correct exercise and focus on the anti-gravity muscles, including the ones in our buttocks.

The muscles in our buttocks connect our upper and lower bodies and provide for balance and movement.

As humans, we start out as small “C” shapes. Then we straighten out to stand and walk, and finally we return to the “C” shape as we age. Throughout our lives, we stress our bodies as we sit at desks in positions that are counter to our upright stance, thereby pushing ourselves back into the “C” shape dictated by gravity. Anders Pedersen explains:

Our bodies cannot keep up with the lifestyles that are strengthening the muscles pulling us back to the “C” shape. That’s why it’s so important to strengthen the muscles that hold us upright – and among those, the buttock muscles are especially important.

Stand Up Straight

Many consider their rear end to be nothing but a sitting device. It’s not understood properly as a bridge between our lower and upper body that keeps us upright and strong.

The posterior consists of several key muscles with significant impact on our mobility and balance. They are gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. As the name implies, gluteus maximus is the largest of the three. It’s the one closest to the skin, the one we see and feel and interpret as our buttock (figure 1).

Gluteus medius is a cutlet-shaped muscle attached to the hip, and minimus is the smallest of the three, hidden behind the other two. Gluteus maximus keeps us upright, gets us up from a sitting to a standing position, and gives us the ability to maintain balance. It resists the pressure imposed by gravity during our entire lives. If this muscle is out of function, the body cannot stand up straight.
In his work as a physical therapist, Anders Pedersen has witnessed what happens when we don’t pay attention to the muscle groups that keep us walking and standing.

In conjunction with a strong back, the muscles in the buttocks work to keep us erect and on our feet. If the large buttock muscle doesn’t function properly for whatever reason, you may experience pain in the back, hip, knee, and lower leg. In some cases, injuries may result.

Therefore, you should rather give your butt a good deal of attention – and lots of workout. Checking a good butt off your wish list is just an extra benefit.

ANDERS’ TIPS for anti-gravity muscles

We have been equipped with anti-gravity muscles in the full length of our body, and they need attention. They need to be stronger than the muscles that ‘fold’ us.

For this reason, you should pay attention to mix of exercises in your program. If you do a lot of stomach exercises, you should include back exercises

Three Exercises for Strengthening the Buttocks and the Back

1. GLUTE BRIDGE

Lie on the floor with your legs bent and your arms comfortably beside you. Pull your navel toward your spine and tighten your buttocks. Lift your pelvis and lower back while slowly inhaling. Raise your lower back as high off the floor as you can. Hold the position for a few seconds. Return to the starting position while exhaling. Repeat 10 times (1 set). Pause briefly and do two more sets.

2. GLUTE BRIDGE – SINGLE LEG

Lie on your back with your arms comfortably beside you, one leg bent and the other stretched out at approximately a 45-degree angle. Tighten buttocks and thigh muscles. Lift the pelvis and lower back off the floor while slowly inhaling. Hold the position for a few seconds. Slowly return to the starting position while exhaling. Switch legs and repeat. Do one set of 10 exercises, alternating legs, then do two more sets.

3. DIAGONAL LIFT

Lie flat on your stomach with your arms stretched above your head. Lift one arm and the opposite leg off the floor while inhaling and slowly lower them while exhaling. Switch sides and repeat. Repeat 10 times, alternating arms/legs. Do 3 sets in total.

For an extra strength challenge, place a kettlebell or a couple of dumbbells on your stomach during the first two of the exercises above.

Exercise and pregnancy

For Anne Nørgaard it is not only important to think about being in good shape, while she is pregnant, but also to train her body for the delivery – and life after. Thus it is not little things that happens to your body during those nine months you are pregnant.

Anne Nørgaard is 30 years old and is an office clerk. She has a daughter Mille who is 2 ½ years old and Anne is halfway through her second pregnancy. Therefore, she is prepared for the changes that happens to the body during a pregnancy. Nevertheless, it is something quite different from the first time.

The biggest difference is that I already have a small child. First time around I only had myself and could do whatever I wanted. Now we are a family and that requires a completely different planning.

There are many things that have changed since Anne had her first child. She has a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and health and when she was pregnant with Mille, she worked as a deputy chief, dietician and instructor at a gym.

The daily routine at the gym made it easier to work out. I am a very structured person and it was a lot easier to plan everyday life back then. Since we had Mille I had to learn how to relax more and take things as they come.

For Anne it has meant that exercising at home has become her way to continue working out and keep herself and her body in shape.

Replace instead of limiting

In the beginning of her current pregnancy she could run with Mille in her trolley, but now she primarily does exercises at home with TRX, kettlebells and a yoga mat for floor exercises. Home training fits in well when you have a busy schedule.

It means a lot to me to keep my body in shape. Having a good fundamental strength was a great help during my first labor.

She has taken those experiences with her for this pregnancy despite the different circumstances and the fact that exercise is something she must find time for in different ways than before. She works out when it fits her everyday schedule and makes sure to stay active by running and biking.

There are of course things that you cannot do once you’ve reached a certain point of the pregnancy. E.g. she can feel that it will not be long before she cannot run anymore, and the weight of the dumbbells must be lowered. Instead the runs are replaced by walks and she uses lighter dumbbells and adjust the exercises by making more repetitions.

When something in the pregnancy sets limits, I try to find something different, that can replace it, so that I keep on working out and keep my body in good shape.

Anne focuses a lot on dividing her week into different types of physical activities. She runs or walks once a week and does yoga once a week. The home exercises she does whenever it fits with her schedule and there is time and energy from the family. It is not as structured as it used to be when she was a fitness instructor, where she had regular classes and afterwards worked out on her own.

This time around I work out more compared to, what I have time for. There is no overall plan, like there was the first time. Now I am fine with it. But it has taken some getting used to.

There are a lot of good reasons to exercise when you are pregnant.
The Danish Health Authority recommends that you exercise 30 minutes a day – also if you haven’t exercised before your pregnancy. Exercise strengthens you both mentally and for the work that lies ahead when you have to give birth. And your body easier recovers after giving birth if you are in good shape.

Seven good reasons to exercise while you are pregnant:

  • Exercise and strength training during pregnancy increases wellbeing and benefits your health
  • In general, it is recommended to exercise during pregnancy at least 30 minutes a day
  • Avoid contact sports or martial arts
  • Avoid diving and activities related to risk of fall injuries
  • Don’t overdo exercise during the pregnancy
  • Avoid overheating or dehydration when you are working out during pregnancy
  • If you experience general discomfort, pain, contractions, bleeding or your water breaks you should stop the work out and seek medical assistance.

Before, during and after

It is not just the stomach that grows during a pregnancy. There is actually nothing on your body that does not undergo a change. Anne is very aware of this the second time around, as she can use her own experiences from her first pregnancy. During her first pregnancy it surprised Anne, how much happens with the body. Suddenly there where a lot of things she could no longer do.

I was very surprised about how much happened to my body. You are not just pregnant. So much happens afterwards with the body, that I was not prepared for the first time. I have that as part of my experiences now. If you stay still during your whole pregnancy, you are in for a huge task afterwards.

It is important for Anne not just to think about what is healthy while she is pregnant but also train her body for the labor and life after.
Therefore, the composition of exercises is all about activating the whole body. She especially focusses on the back, as you need to prepare the body for carrying around a small child and breastfeed afterwards.

For me it is mostly about building a good fundamental strength, so you can also carry on with life after labor. You have this one body for your whole live, so you have to take care of it.

Anne’s three favorite exercises

These exercises you can advantageously make both while you are pregnant and after. But remember: when you make these exercises, it has to feel good and right for your body. Especially when you are pregnant. Do not exaggerate your work out during your pregnancy.

Hip thrust on mat

Difficulty: Easy-medium
This exercise strengthens your thighs, butt and lower back. If you are used to working out – and as long as it feels comfortable – you can add a weight disc which you place on your stomach.

  1. Lie down with your legs bend
  2. Lift your hips off the floor and keep them lifted for a few seconds
  3. Repeat the exercise as many times as you can

Russian Twist with kettlebell – core training

Difficulty: Medium
Your core – or your body corset – consists of all the stabilizing inner and outer muscles around your stomach and back. This exercise strengthens your core. You can advantageously make the exercise without kettlebells. This exercise is not recommended if you are not used to using kettlebells.

  1. Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat, keeping them about hip distance apart
  2. Hold the kettlebell at chest level and maintain a 45-degree angle as you lean back
  3. Move your torso from left to right, moving the kettlebell across your body as you twist
  4. Do as many repetitions as you can safely manage

Rows in TRX

Difficulty: Medium
This exercise strengthens your back. The back is one of the areas which needs strength when you are carrying the baby’s weight around both during and after your pregnancy.

  1. Place your feet with a hip distance to each other and keep a TRX-strap in each hand with the palms towards each other
  2. Walk forward until you are standing in a 45-degree angle with your arms extended. Your body must stay in a straight line
  3. Make sure your upper body is stable and your legs stretched. With both feet places solid in the ground, bend your elbows while you keep them close to your body. You now pull your body towards your hands
  4. Extend your arms again to lower your body. Repeat the exercise

Health and Well-Being Come from Within

Henric Roswell works as a personal trainer and nutritionist. He has always had a keen interest in food and trained as a chef. For him, the combination of exercise and diet are a natural focus of interest.

Henric experienced for himself what it is like when your weight goes berserk. He was busy at work, and other circumstances in his life caused him to quit exercising for five years. The pounds packed on. When he topped 220 pounds, he’d had enough. He knew he needed to change his lifestyle. It took serious effort to put his own well-being back at top of his priority list, but he managed to lose 55 pounds. In addition, he felt more energetic and experienced a significant improvement in his physical and mental well-being.

It is important that he personally went through the experience of changing his lifestyle, incorporating exercise in his daily life, and paying attention to his diet. His experience creates trust between him and the clients for whom he is personal trainer.

I know from personal experience what works in a busy life and how it is possible to change one’s attitude and habits in a healthy and effective manner. – Henric

What we Eat is More Important than we Think

It is no news to anyone that a poor diet impacts negatively on our well-being. When you eat a healthy and varied diet, you will feel better. You will have more energy and a higher level of engagement in your life.

Improving your overall health is very much about the composition of your diet. This is true for elite athletes, those who exercise recreationally, and those who don’t exercise at all.

Diet is a key determinant of physical and mental health in humans. If you don’t give your body the correct nutrition, you won’t have the energy necessary for staying active. That, in turn, impacts your mental well-being – and the downward spiral is off to a start.

Our “Reward Mechanism” Makes it Difficult to Change our Diet

Henric is in the process of qualifying as an internationally certified nutritionist. In his role as a personal trainer, he has worked with many people who for a variety of reasons needed help when it came to exercise. His experience is that it is relatively straightforward to make people find time for exercise in their daily routines. But it is an entirely different story when it comes to dietary choices.

Henric Roswell, 40, has his own business offering personal trainer services.
Licensed Personal Trainer
Licensed Workout Instructor
Licensed Nutritionist
CrossFit Level 1 Trainer

He explains the reason as follows: Food is connected to the “reward center” in our brains. Sugar and fats are favorites for our brains and consuming those rapidly becomes a bad habit. How we eat and what we eat is a very personal matter, and habits easily become entrenched. That is why it is so difficult for many of us to change our dietary habits, and we tend to perceive it as a punishment if we are to make that change.

What’s interesting is that it’s no problem getting my clients to incorporate exercise in their daily lives … but if I get anywhere near their dietary habits, they freak out.

For this reason, it is essential not to make many drastic changes all at once. Instead, take it nice and easy and make small changes that don’t cause too much of an upset in our typical activities and daily lives. Henric explains that once the first small changes have been adopted and have become routine, then we can add other changes.

The Cycle of Change and the Exercise Loop

One of Henric Roswell’s tools in guiding clients is the cycle of change. It is a useful tool for tracking the processes we undergo when we are faced with having to change our exercise and dietary habits. One key point is that once you decide to make an active effort to optimize your daily routines with exercise or dietary changes, you will invariably experience what Henric calls loops.

Loops is a mindset, and a method for getting rid of bad habits. Henric draws a picture of a life consisting of loops and explains:

Look at it this way: When you fall back into old routines and can’t meet the goals you set for yourself, it’s important to remember how that is simply the pattern of the loop. Once you understand this pattern, you will be able to work your way out of the old routines once more and get back on track towards your goal.

Loops are caused by many factors. It is perfectly normal that our daily lives are constantly changing because of work, family, illness, etc.

Don’t kick yourself if, and when you fall into a loop. So long as you know, deep inside, that you’ll get back on track, you’ll be fine.

Henric sees the strongest driving forces as the emotional and personal goals his clients set for themselves. It may be anything from a desire of losing weight or having a healthier and stronger body. The standard is not to be set by external objectives imposed by friends or a trainer. Emotional goals are what motivate you and give you the desire to stick with your exercise program. At the end of the day, that is what makes the difference in terms of not giving up on the goals you set for yourself.

Your goal – not those of others – is what matters.

The Cycle of Change

Figure 1:

During the pre-contemplation and the contemplation stages we still don’t know exactly what our decision will entail. We look for information, and perhaps we hit on the kind of exercise we believe will be most suitable. Then, we decide what we want to do, what we want to change, and what we want to integrate into daily life. Finally, we move on to action – we put into action what we decided to do. After that, the task is to stick to the program to advance toward the goal we set. In that stage, we may experience loops in which we lapse out of the new rhythm for a time until we get back on track.

Henric’s Tips for Healthy Exercise and Dietary Habits

  1. Make an effort to get out and move your body for 30 minutes a day. There’s no need for strenuous workouts – just get moving.
  2. Consume 500 grams (just over one pound) of fruits and vegetables every day.
  3. Eat a variety of foods high in fiber. Fiber is essential and keeps you feeling full longer. Examples include:
    Whole grains such as oats, high-fiber vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower, root vegetables such as carrots and parsnips, and legumes and seeds such as lentils and chia.
  4. Set realistic goals for yourself. If your goals are too ambitious, you’ll lose steam more quickly. Small changes are easier to turn into habits that become a part of our daily lives.