There are many different opinions about fitness and fat loss, but one of the more common viewpoints suggests that all you need to do is increase your activity level and/or decrease your caloric intake to be successful. While this may have some truth in theory, it does not always hold true in real life and it is certainly not the best strategy for improving long-term fitness and fat loss.Note: For the sake of this article I will only discuss fitness and fat loss as it relates to activity level and I will not address anything related to nutrition or calorie intake. I will cover the calorie intake component of this viewpoint at a later time.If you only take one thing away from this article, I want it to be that increasing your activity level and exercising are definitely not the same thing. While they are related, the difference between them is often the difference between success and failure when it comes to losing fat and improving your overall health and fitness.Exercising is obviously a way to increase your activity level, but there are many ways to increase your activity level that should not be classified as exercise. Webster’s defines exercise as: bodily exertion for the sake of developing and maintaining physical fitness. The key point in this definition is that activity has to affect fitness to be considered exercise.A good exercise program will always be designed to improve various aspects of fitness (strength, endurance, flexibility, etc.), as opposed to being designed just to burn calories. Having the goal to increase your activity level will increase the number of calories you burn, but it will not necessarily improve your fitness level. This is incredibly important, because increasing your fitness level is essential to long-term fat loss and improved health.It is common to start a new program with the goal of increasing your activity level and burning more calories to lose weight, but this approach usually only results in short-term success. You may have experienced this at some point yourself, if you ever had initial improvements, which were followed by a lack of further results. Personally, I went through a period where I was doing cardio workouts once or even twice a day to increase my activity level and lose fat, but soon after I started, I stopped seeing any improvements whatsoever.My problem was not that I needed to increase my activity level more, but rather I had to stop focusing on doing activities to burn calories and start exercising. In other words, I needed to perform activities that were designed to improve my fitness level and not just burn calories. There may not seem like a big difference between the two, but this small change in approach will lead to a huge improvement in results.Let’s go back to the scenario where someone initially sees results by increasing their activity level. I would argue that, especially for people who have sedentary (non-active) lifestyles, the initial increase in activity should be considered exercise. If someone is out of shape, almost any type of activity will improve their fitness level. I believe it is the improvement in fitness level and not just the increase in activity level that ultimately is responsible for the initial positive results.To further illustrate this point, let’s take a look at probably the most common scenario for increasing activity. Walking is a natural choice as a starting activity, because it is something people already know how to do, requires essentially no equipment (although appropriate shoes are recommended), and it can be done almost anywhere. For people who are not used to walking, it will be somewhat challenging at first, and their body will be forced to adapt to the new stimulus, thus improving their fitness level.However, as the person’s fitness level improves, chances are they will not make changes to their walking routine. It is very common for people to walk the same distance and speed, often taking the same route whenever they walk. Over the course of time, what was once a challenging walk that stimulated improvements in health and fitness, becomes a walk that just burns calories. More importantly, when the walk stops being challenging, it is also the point when fat loss usually stops occurring.Another important point is the more you perform an activity, the more efficient your body becomes at that activity. For example, take the person who goes for the same walk every day. After the initial fitness and fat loss improvement from starting the walking routine, not only will the walk stop being a challenge, but the amount of energy required to perform the walk will decrease as well. In other words, the same walk will result in fewer calories burned than when the person first started walking. This is another reason why walking or doing any activity just to burn some extra calories will not work in the long-run.I should point out that I am not trying to say there aren’t any health benefits to increasing your activity level and if you are currently not very active, doing anything to become more active is a good thing. However, if you want to lose fat and improve your fitness over the long run, just increasing your activity level will not cut it. You need to exercise and challenge your body if you want to experience continued improvement over time.One final note: Nutrition plays at least as big of a role as exercise in health, fitness, and fat loss. Even the best exercise program cannot make up for poor nutrition, but this article is only meant to address the activity level component of an overall health and fitness program.
The need for child-care professionals and educators has never been greater than it is today. While teachers continue to retire, school enrollment is always on the increase creating a perpetual need for top-quality educators. Parents too are recognizing that a solid foundation in early childhood learning is connected to their children’s future success and educational growth. The need of the hour is for trained educators to provide high-quality education to the younger generation. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that there is a favorable growth expected in the field of early childhood education over the next decade.Before you embark on a career in early childhood education, a healthy dose of soul searching is recommended. A career in early childhood education is not to be taken lightly. It may involve a whole lot of play and fun, but there is a serious responsibility attached to the molding of minds and shaping the lives of little children. If you are thinking of an early childhood education degree, you need to ask yourself if you truly love children and have an aptitude to continually impart patient loving care. There can be no middle ground here. You will be spending the better part of your day with them so you will need a great deal of patience and love to truly succeed. In addition to this, you need to be creative with excellent communication skills. It will open up multiple opportunities for you.Early childhood educators deal with children from infancy to eight years of age. As a teacher to these youngsters, you will be training and developing their physical, emotional and intellectual skills in a variety of challenging ways. There will be a whole lot of creative expression and hands-on activities involved such as games, artwork, story time, music, role-playing in order to nurture the child’s imagination and learning.An Associate degree in Early Childhood Education is an effective stepping-stone leading to a wider scope in the field of education. Normally, this is an extensive program that will lead to a broad range of career options and advancement after graduation. Approximately, two years are required to complete an AOS degree in Early Childhood Education. This degree provides all the necessary training you would require for teaching young children. It includes functional knowledge and understanding of early childhood education through the completion of courses covering curriculum, child development, child center administration, health and safety, and related fields. A general knowledge of science, social science and language arts is generally part of the curriculum as well.There are a number of career options available to graduates with an Early Childhood Education degree. You can be an elementary school teacher, pre-school teacher, a school counselor or administrator. This will also prepare you to work in areas such as education policy or advocacy. As an educator you can find employment in nursery or elementary schools, as specialists for children with disabilities or learning disorders, as program supervisors and directors in schools and as family childcare home providers.Equipped with a childhood education degree, you will be ready to invest your life in the future generation. You’ll find educating children, molding and shaping their lives, challenging them for the life ahead, an extremely rewarding experience!