Article By Jennifer Maldonado
I recently wrote the article “Forget the diet. Just eat right!” In that article I discussed ways to lose weight by just changing a few simple things in your eating habits. Eating healthy should be a lifestyle, not a diet.
I will now discuss ways to stay healthy by adding activity to your life. You do not have to work out at the gym everyday of the week for two hours at a time to keep your body healthy. There are simple steps you can take to improve the quality of your health.
Exercising daily will:
•Help Decrease the Chance of Heart Disease
•Improve your Immune System
•Improve Circulation and Metabolism
•Help with Weight Loss
•Improve Mental Health as well as Confidence
•Improve Strength and Flexibility
There are two main types of exercises you should make part of your weekly routine. One is Endurance and the other Strength. Going to the gym is of course is an option, but I will show you other ways to incorporate these exercises into your life.
According to The American Heart Association, adults aged 18-65 should get a minimum of 30 minutes a day of moderate to intense activity 5 days a week, which can be broken into 10 minute increments if you desire. You should also add about 20 minutes per day, 3 days a week of strength training.
Below are examples of the type of exercises you can do for your Cardio/Endurance training:
•Bike riding – If you have children, take a nice bike ride for a half an hour. Or find a nice bike trail where you will enjoy the view.
•Brisk Walking – After dinner go walking for 30 minutes.
•Swimming – If you do not own a pool, usually your local YMCA has a pool, or a lot of times you can find a community pool in your neighborhood.
•Dancing – You do not have to go to a club to go dancing, turn on the music and dance as you clean or do choirs.
•Jogging – If you have a dog, take him for a run or get a friend to go to the park and run a couple of laps.
•House Hold Chores like – Raking leaves or Gardening
•Walking up Stairs – If you often go places which have elevators, take the stairs instead.
•Sports – You can go out side with the kids and play tag or soccer. Or you can have a bunch of friends over for a fun game of Volleyball a couple of nights per week.
•Aerobics – There are a million aerobic shows on TV. Just turn one on and start doing it. Do not worry too much if you are doing the moves incorrectly. The main goal is to get your heart pumping, so as long as you feel your heartbeat rising, you are achieving your goal.
If you find you need motivation, asking a friend to join you or participating in a group activity might solve the problem. If you are having fun, you are more likely to keep the routine.
How to know if you are doing enough?
If you are going for moderate exercise then you should be able to feel a raise in your heartbeat and breathing rate. You should be sweating a little, but still be able to have a conversation with no problem.
If you are going for intense exercise then your breathing should be rapid, and you should only be able to speak in short phrases. You are most likely sweating and you should feel a higher increase in your heart rate and breathing.
If you are not able to talk at all, and feel your heart is pumping to fast, then you should stop. You do not want to over do it. You can increase or decrease your workout to fit your needs. For example, if you want to jog then jog, but to increase the intensity of the workout run instead. If you are running and feel dizzy, out of breath and like your heart is beating out of your chest, stop. You might be going to fast for your body.
Strength training helps with building muscle and preventing muscle loss as well as preventing bone loss. Your strength training should use all of your major muscle groups. There are a number of ways you can get your strength training. Remember you only need to do this two days a week. Like anything though, the more you do it, the better results you will get.
•Using free weights, dumb bells or weight machines.
•You can purchase a resistance band. They are not expensive at all.
•Add wrist or ankle weights to your endurance activity.
•You can fill empty bottles with sand or water and use those as weights to save money.
•Do sit ups, pull-ups or push-ups.
•Do squats, lunges, leg raises or crunches.
For best results you should do at lease 10 strength training exercises and do 8 to 12 repetitions of each.
You should always check with your doctor before starting any physical activity. If at any point you feel you are over doing, stop, relax and slow down. I know that we are busy with our lives and might not have time to hit the gym, or maybe we just do not like going to the gym. But setting up a plan that is fun and easy for you will result in improving your health.
These are basic exercises and ideas I have created to get you on the road to becoming a healthier you. The more time and the higher the intensity of your workout the more results you will see. Make a plan and set a goal.
Remember to start slow. If you have not had a lot of physical activity recently you may need to start off with less and work your way up. Soon it will become a habit and you will not even think of it as exercise. Activity and healthy eating go hand in hand. For best results, you need to do both. Remember that the goal is to get you healthy. Take your time and try to be consistent. You will find that with time, you will be able to increase your activities and recognize a real difference in the way you feel.
American Heart Association
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