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Well, you knew it was coming, didn’t you! We’ve discussed in previous articles the many ways to adjust your eating habits.
Some of the tips we covered will help your metabolism burn extra calories, but the bottom line is that you still need to burn more calories than you consume if you wish to shed those extra unwanted pounds!.
The dawn of the Information Age has given us more labor saving devices than any other period in history. Along with this knowledge we have settled into a more sedentary lifestyle.
Taking a little trip back in time can really open our eyes. A typical day for your great grandmother began long before the sunrise. She was usually the first to awaken so she could have a hearty breakfast on the table for the rest of the family.
She would probably stoke her range with wood brought in the previous evening.
Unless one of the children was old enough to be charged with the task, she would put on her coat, scarf and gloves and trek out to the barn to milk the cow, stopping on her way back to gather eggs from the chicken coop, home-cured ham and sausage from the smoke house, cheese (that she had made herself) butter (that she churned) and potatoes from the cold storage cellar.
Returning to her kitchen with her collection in tow, she would prepare a breakfast that most likely consisted of ham, sausage and eggs fried in lard she had rendered, biscuits, gravy made from the leavings in the frying pan, flapjacks, whole milk and strong coffee.
That picture can pretty much turn your veins to instant concrete!
Bear in mind that after her pre-dawn preparations she would spend the remainder of her day, sweeping, dusting, polishing, scrubbing clothing using hot water that she boiled herself, hanging the laundry out to dry, tending hervegetable garden and often toiling in the fields with the men.
The comparison between your great grandparents is not so much what they ate, as how they used the calories they consumed. Life was hard.
Normal physical activity usually burned off the calories they consumed. They worked hard and ate hearty and, yes they did have a shorter life expectancy.
Today we eat foods that are processed and contain more fat and chemicals than nutrition. To top it off, we also live sedentary lives. Unlike grandma’s hearty breakfast we are more likely to grab a cup of coffee on the run.
We rush to an office, only to spend the next 8 hours sitting in front of a computer screen, just as you are doing now.
Getting a handle on your diet is just the first step toward losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle. In order to tame the weight loss beast, you MUST change your physical habits as well as your eating habits.
You don’t necessarily have to exert yourself as if you were training for the Olympics, but you definitely need to learn how to burn off more calories than you consume.
Once you have accomplished that, you can step in to a regimen to maintain your ideal weight.
Before you begin a fitness/exercise program, you need to know what you want to accomplish.
Use the information in the chapter on “Where To Begin” to determine your ideal weight.
Once you have your plan firmly in place (we will discuss this further in another chapter) you can begin to incorporate the following tips:
* Always warm up before beginning your exercise activity using smooth and fluid movement. The purpose of the warm up is to minimize discomfort and prevent injury and loosen up your muscles for the exercise to come.
* Begin with a couple of deep breaths, inhaling through the nose and exhaling from your mouth.
* When you plan to walk or run, do just a few hundred yards at a slower walk or a gentler jog.
* Use the cool down routine in the reverse of the warm-up, gently slowing down. This will enable your breathing and heart rate to return to normal.
* Learn to listen to your body and differentiate between good pain and bad pain.
* Never exercise on a full or empty stomach.
* Drink plenty of water to reduce the chance of dehydration. Experts usually recommend 16 ounces either one or two hours before exercising.
* Always use stretching routines. These are not just for jocks and fitness gurus but should be used by everyone. The older you are, the more important this becomes as you can help retain flexibility and good range of movement for all your daily activities.
* When warming up and stretching, use the movements for five to ten minutes. This will help to loosen your muscles.
* Do not bounce when warming up with stretching as you can cause tears in your muscle fibers.
* To increase your flexibility, hold each stretch for fifteen to twenty seconds or longer.
* Be sure you stretch lightly during warm up to prevent stretch reflex. This is caused by over using a cold muscle.
* Breathe slowly and evenly throughout your warm up.
* If you have a tendency to become stiff, take a hot shower or bath before beginning your warm up.
* Breathing is extremely important when exercising as your body need to process oxygen that will transfer from your lungs through the bloodstream to the muscles that are being worked.
Normal breathing is shallow meaning that the air is not reaching deep into the lungs. This can tighten neck muscles which can cause stiffness and pain in the neck, shoulder upper back and chest.
* Always inhale before you lift, exhale as you lift and inhale as you lower the weight for maximum benefit.
* Turn everyday activity into exercise. Try balancing on one foot without support while putting on your shoes and socks.
* Forget about the elevator and use the stairs.
* Take the stairs two at a time.
* Instead of shoving your chair, lift it bending your knees and keeping your back straight.
* Hide your remote control and get up and down to change the channels.
* Walk your dog and keep pace.
* Take a Frisbee along and play in the park with your dog.
* Park in the furthest parking space.
* Instead of sitting in the stands while watching your kids play at a ballgame, try pacing the field instead.
* Clean your house (changing bedding is great exercise!).
* Take a brisk ten minute walk each morning, afternoon and evening.
* Plant a vegetable garden. You’ll have all that terrific food to eat and exercise in the process!
* Learn how to snorkel.
* Learn a new dance.
* Join a gym.
* Join a lunch hour aerobic class.
* When exercising, use a multi-purpose squat to improve strength in the lower body. This will strengthen all of the major muscles of the lower body including hamstrings, quadriceps, calves and gluteals.
* Use balance training exercises to help in performing daily living and activities. Try a one-legged balance exercise by standing on one leg for 10 to 15 seconds, switching legs and repeating the process for three to five sets.
* Jump in place with feet together. Touch the left and right heels alternately in between jumps with both feet.
* Target the triceps with a bench dip. Seated on a bench, grasp the front edge with your hands shoulder-width apart. With your heels on the floor, extend your legs straight out from your body.
Move forward until your hips are off the bench. Lower the hips slowly toward the floor then press up to a full extension of your arm without locking your elbows.
* Try a bent over row to target the latissimus dorsi, teres major, posterior deltoid, trapezius, rhomboids and biceps. While standing, begin with your feet shoulder width apart.
Bend the knees and flex forward at the hips. Tilting the pelvis slightly forward, engage the abdominals and extend the upper spine to add additional support. Hold a weight or bar beneath the shouders with your hands approximately shoulder width apart.
Flex your elbows and lift your hands toward the sides of your body. Pause and slowly lower your hands back to the starting position. Be sure to keep your shoulders stationary.
* A simple shoulder shrug can help to strengthen your back. Stand erect with dumbbells or other weight in each hand. Lift your shoulders toward your head by elevating your shoulders and slightly retract and roll them back.
Pause for a moment then return to the starting position. Make certain that you do not rock or use your legs and keep your knees slightly bent. A variation on this exercise is to do one shoulder at a time.
* Another exercise to strengthen the back is a scapular retraction. Begin with your feet shoulder width apart and your pelvis tilted and slightly forward. Engage your adbdominals so you can maintain neutral spine.
Flex forward and hold dumbbells extended down and away from the body. Flex the shoulder blades together, pausing then slowly returning to the start position. Avoid bending your elbows and vary the exercise by using a single arm at a time.
* Remember to keep it slow. Perform all exercises slowly. Spend two to five seconds in the lifting phase of an exercise and four to six seconds in the lowering part. If you move too quickly, you won’t get the muscle strengthening benefit of the exercise and you could hurt yourself.
* Work up to the point where you can do three sets of each exercise, with five to 15 repetitions of the exercise in each set. Don’t rest within the sets, you can rest briefly between each set. As the work becomes easier ad weights or increase the number of repetitions you do.
* Bicycling gives a great whole body exercise. Begin with short jaunts around your neighborhood. Each day widen your travels until you are able to bicycle for at least a mile.
* Exercise should give you additional energy. If you are excessively exhausted after exercising you have overdone it.
* Again, listen to your body. If you experience a feeling of nausea or faintness, your efforts may be too intense for your body or you aren’t spending enough time on your cool down process.
* Your rate of breathing will increase while exercising but you should still be able to carry on a conversation. If you can’t talk and walk or talk and lift at the same time, your pace is probably too intense. Cut back and lighten your weight load.
* While you may experience some next day soreness when you begin, exercise isn’t supposed to hurt or leave you feeling stiff. Devote more time to warm up and cool down exercises as your body adjusts.
* Being overweight, your knees may not be strong enough to support you. If you experience pain, then shorten (or eliminate) your walks, jogs or bicycling and concentrate on strength building sessions to build up your muscles and tendons.
* If you have been sedentary, you may experience lower back pain when you first begin to exercise. This is because your hamstring muscles have shortened. When you walk or exercise the shortened hamstrings pull on the buttock muscles which in turn will grab your lower back muscles.
If your abdominal muscles are not strong enough to assist in supporting your lower back, you will definitely feel it. To get rid of the pain, include abdominal strengthening exercises with your warm up and cool down.
* If you get a headache, cramps or heart palpitations, or feel dizzy, faint or cool while exercising, consult your physician.
* If you have an infection such as bronchitis, put off exercise until all is normal again.
* If you just have a cold or the flue, wait until all symptoms such as fever, have been gone for two days before you exercise again.
* Walking is the aerobic exercise of preference if you are over 60. This is because when you walk, the pressure on your joints never rises about 1.5 times your body weight.
Jogging, dance or step aerobics can put as much as four times your weight or more on your bones. This is wonderful for younger people, but can put too much strain on the more brittle bones of the elderly.
* Start your walking exercise by timing yourself. You don’t want to become too tried to make it back home. Check your watch when you begin, and walk around one block over and over until you get a little tired. Check your watch to see how long you have walked. That’s the length that your walks should be for the first week or two. Be sure to turn around and head toward home when half the time is up. If you get tired on the way home, stop, rest then walk some more.
* Maintain the same level of exertion for your entire walk. You will be asking your heart to work hard (but not too hard) for your entire session. Your heart gets the biggest benefit from a sustained workout. If you come to a hill, slow your pace to maintain the same level of exertion that you had on flat ground.
* If the temperature is hot or humid, your workout will seem harder. Adjust the speed and intensity so that you stay at the appropriate exertion level.
* If the temperature soars over 95°F with 80% humidity, limit outside exercise to no more than 30 to 45 minutes.
* Establish a rhythm to your exercise routine. Using music can help you to do this. The rhythm helps you perform each repetition within a set with the same gusto! You can also use the tape or cd as a timing reminder if you check the playing time before you start.
* Be kind to your feet. Exercise in shoes that were designed for the job or you are giving an open invitation to aches, pains and even stress fractures in your feet and legs.
* Pick the right kind of shoe. Walking or running shoes absorb the shock of your stride. This is thanks to a slightly elevated heel that also helps to prevent injuries to the leg muscles and tendons.
* Tennis and other types of athletic shoes absorb the impact of sideways movement and quick turns.
* Women who typically wear high heels should avoid flat tennis type shoes because the sudden shift in foot position could cause strain.
* Buy new shoes often. They may last for years, but looks are deceiving. They will lose their shock absorption within just a few months.
If you walk fewer than 25 miles a week a new pair is in order every four to six months. If you walk more than 25 miles a week, they should be replaced every two to three months.
* Examine the patterns in your existing shoes and/or take them along when shopping for new ones. Your wear patterns might help the salesperson pick out the best pair for your feet.
* To get the best fit, wear or bring along the same kind of socks that you will be exercising in. In case your feet swell during the day, plan to shop in the afternoon
* After your warm up, exercise for more than 30 minutes per session if you want to lose weight. Otherwise, three 10 minutes sessions per day will protect against disease and a healthier lifestyle.
* Wear loose fitting clothing that breathes well. You can use layers of clothing to stay warm and dispel perspiration and heat.
* Avoid drinking coffee, alcohol or other diuretics before or while you exercise.
* If you are a morning person, exercise after you have been up and about for at least 10 minutes. While sleeping, sometimes fluids can pool throughout your body even in disks in the spinal column, ligaments and muscles. If you get up and immediately begin to exercise, the accumulated fluids can cause major injury such as a herniated disk.
* Avoid exercise right after eating. Both your intestinal tract and your muscles will need extra blood to function. The conflicting needs of each system may leave you with cramps or a feeling of nausea or faintness. Give you body two hours to complete its digestive duties.
* If you have diabetes, avoid injecting insulin into a muscle that will soon be used for exercise. Working muscles process insulin differently than nonworking muscles.
* Learn how much activity is required per hour to burn calories. For instance, one hour of bicycling at 6 miles per hour burns 240 calories; at 12 miles per hour, you will burn 410 calories. Jogging at 5.5 miles per hour burns 740 calories but at just 2 miles per hour more at 7 miles per hour you will burn 920 calories.
* Walking at just 2 mph, burns 240 calories; increase it to 3 mph and you are burning 320 calories and at 4.5 mph you are burning a whopping 440 calories! *Note that this is based on a healthy 150 pound woman. A lighter person burns fewer calories, a heavier person burns more.
* Walking need not be a chore. Visit your local museums and art galleries spending time browsing the exhibits. Not only will you add additional exercise with the walk, you’ll improve your mind!
* Eating a handful of raisins (about 1 ounce) approximately 15 minutes before your workout can significantly lower free radicals and the damage they cause. Raisins are rich in antioxidants.
* In addition to your daily workout here is a simple exercise to do while sitting at your desk, driving or watching television. While seated with back straight, pull your abdominal muscles inward, and lift your chest and rib cage as you inhale.
Hold that position four to six seconds then release slowly as you exhale. Repeat eight to 12 times. Try doing this while driving. Change your rearview mirror so that it can only be seen when you are sitting straight. Just changing your mirror can help you to remember to sit up straight.
* Here is a quick way to tone up your buttocks while standing. Squeeze muscles in both cheeks tightly, hold the contraction for two seconds. Relax for two seconds then repeat eight to 12 times.
* Need to strengthen your calves? Stand on a telephone book, a block of wood, a step or a curb. Face toes in the direction of the spine of the book.
Hang heels over the edge opposite the spine. For better balance while trying this outdoors, hold a railing or a signpost on at curb.
Keeping your back straight, push up onto the balls of your feet while counting for two seconds, hold for another two seconds, and then count for four seconds as you lower yourself back down. Tighten up your abdominals and buttocks to help stay balanced.
Article courtesy of “Best Natural Cures Health Guide” for many more great tips please use their “Healthy Diet Resources & Health Articles”directory.