Sorry I didn't get my planned post up yesterday.
Here's the goods on Mitochondria as I understand it.
First off, there is more to losing weight and burning fat than calories in and calories out. That's why exercise is so important for permanent healthy weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight.
What the heck is Mitochondria? They're the tiny, egg-shaped structures in your cells that serve as fat-burning furnaces. Too small to be seen with an ordinary microscope, there are trillions in every human body. The more mitochondrial surface you have in your cells, the easier it is for your body to burn stored fat for fuel. If you want to burn more body fat, you need to increase the mitochondrial surface in your cells.
How can you do this? By increasing the amount of moderate exercise you do every day, you will increase the mitochondria in your muscle cells. The result? It'll be easier for your body to burn stored fat for fuel.
What is moderate exercise? Moderate exercise, such as walking, is now the accepted approach in exercise and fitness training. What qualifies as 'moderate'? Any continuous movement of your hips and knees that causes you to exert yourself without becoming breathless. If, while exercising you can't talk without feeling short of breath, slow down; it's not moderate enough.
In addition to being easier to do and less likely to cause injury than more vigorous exercise, moderate exercise has been proven to be the most effective way to increase the amount of mitochondria in your body.
How Much Moderate Exercise Does It Take? You don't have to devote a big block of time to exercise. Four 15 minute walks distributed throughout your day can be as productive as a continuous hour of exercise. For most people, adding 30 to 45 minutes of moderate activity every day will do the job. Remember: The more mitochondria you have the more easily your body can burn body fat for fuel. As it becomes easier to use up excess body fat, you'll lose weight more rapidly, move more easily, feel healthier and become leaner.
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh recently completed a study of 56 sedentary, overweight women. Each began walking and/or cycling five times a week for 40 minutes. Half of the women worked continuously for 40 minutes; the other half divided their daily exercise into four ten minute sessions.
After 20 weeks, both groups had boosted their aerobic capacity. But there was a significant difference. Not only had the women who exercised more often but for shorter periods, adhered better to their exercise schedule, they lost more weight.
I am not a researcher and I depend on others so I hope this is all true. If you'd like more information maybe you can find it by looking up these people and this Assembley of 'experts'. In March 1993, an expert panel was assembled by the American College Of Sports Medicine and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in conjunction with the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Concluding that only 22% of American adults are getting enough exercise, the panel speculated that "previous public health efforts to promote physical activity have overemphasized the importance of high-intensity exercise." Moderate exercise is now the accepted approach in exercise and fitness.
Quotes are in italics, and are all from Lean For life Program Workbook by Stephanie Stamper Graph and Jerry Holderman
This is very encouraging for me. I have no desire to be a sports person. I'd like to be fitter and able to do many things I cannot do now or struggle to do. I'd like to be able to continue to be active for the rest of my life. Although I do see some point to the "No Pain, No Gain," school I have no intention of risking damage to my body. I'm too old to want to spend time recovering from exercise induced injury. I'm also aware that my heart is already carrying a heavy load so why overload it unnecessarily. For me flexibility and strength to walk up and down hills at a reasonable pace for hours is more important than body shaping. I do accept that weight lifting is a valuable addition to older folks health so will at some stage develop a suitable program of resistance and weights. Just getting out walking and on the cross-trainer is improving my aerobic capacity as well as helping burn fat.
I learned many years ago when I had M.E. or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, that I need to pace myself as it is more important to be consistent than be able to do wonders infrequently. I'm not sure that I have the balance quite right. I'm aiming to walk and use the cross-trainer, (similar to an elliptical machine), everyday for 25 days in a row. I'm hoping that I don't burn and crash. I'm aware that I might need to modify this goal and give myself a complete rest day every so often. Meantime I am doing my best to stay with the challenge but whatever I do I will be a whole heap stronger on April 13th than I am right now and I will have built up those tiny fat burning machines called mitochondria.
There are so many overweight, obese and morbidly obese people who want to lose weight and become fit who think it's too hard. Here is the evidence that moderate exercise, at the pace you can breath comfortably, for short bursts of time really does work. Sorry folk. We have had all our excuses ripped away. Anyone can get enough exercise to lose weight. And if you are severely handicapped, there are modified exercises that will give you the right amount of activity to help burn body fat.
Sitting here getting this typed out and edited, (I'm a bit obsessive about editing), isn't doing my plan much good. I suspect I will be keeping my posts generally short over the next 20 days. I need all my energy to keep to my challenge. LOL