Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Most people know what they should do. The problem usually is finding the time or just digging down and making the tough choices. If you’re looking for a way to get fit and become healthier I have some suggestions.
First, you need to make a regular time to exercise that doesn’t revolve around your busy schedule. You need to pick a day of the week or maybe two that you’ll keep on a weekly basis. Weekends for most people will give you one day for starters. If you have to decide on a daily basis you’ll never make exercise a routine.
The most important thing is to choose something that you don’t hate. If jogging is too hard, try walking. If walking on a treadmill is work, go outside on the trails. Set the bar to a level you can jump over easily. Fitness can be fun, if not at least tolerable.
Another winning tip is to start with a goal that’s easy to attain. To go from a couch potato to a gym rat is unrealistic. Exercising three times a week for an hour is a great weight loss recipe, but not for a beginner. If you just want to get going try moving more two times a week for 15-20 minutes. You can build from there little by little.
If weight loss is you goal, try to eat more fish. It has been said, if you eat fish twice a week you will improve your health. The good news, there are frozen fish dinners that I am amazed by. Costco has a tilapia with pesto that even fish haters would enjoy. If you check the labels you’ll find most fish dinners are high protein and lower carbs. and calories.
Finally, the new reality for weight loss means stay away from starch. This means breads; pasta and even rice should be used sparingly. What you can do here is have a lean protein source with your meal but have double veggies or start with a salad. This is a hard one in the beginning but is guaranteed to yield positive results!
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
I want to spend some time on the biggest bang for your fitness effort. Most people know about eating right and keeping at a proper weight. You often hear about the importance of doing regular exercise which usually includes cardio and weight bearing lifting.
Little is spoken and less written about stretching. The best thing before I continue is the length of time required to reap these terrific benefits. In two to five minutes you can begin to improve flexibility and relieve tension in tight muscles.
The first thing to do before you stretch is to warm up for a few minutes. The easiest way to warm up is walking. If you don’t have a treadmill or elliptical you can hit the streets or walk around the yard for a few minutes.
I’ll give a few of my favorite stretches but first some simple rules to follow. You should hold every stretch for at least 15 seconds. The muscle only begins to let go after it is gently pulled in a controlled manner. This also means no bouncing. Yes what we saw in the Olympics from the Russian Gymnasts is called ballistic stretching and it’s not for us.
My favorite stretch is what I call the “good morning”. Lie on your back and bend your legs to one side. Put your hands over your head and bend to the other side. Do this for 15-30 seconds and repeat to the other side. This helps relax the lower back and shoulders.
Another feel good stretch is to bend over and pull the door frame with one hand at about waist level. Keep the knees bent and keep your back flat from your shoulders to your butt. This gives a good pull from the wing muscles of the upper back all the way down to the lower back.
I took a seminar from Paul Check a world renowned fitness authority. He taught us that the two major causes of back pain were poor posture and tight hamstrings. This one is not a feel good stretch but a good way to stretch your hamstrings. Lie on your back, keep one leg bent so your back remains flat. Raise the other leg up and try to straighten it out. It’s OK if the leg stays a little bent. Pull the leg gently towards your stomach. I find this hurts the neck of people who aren’t that flexible, so here is an easier method. Put a towel around your leg so you can pull the towel with both hands with your leg in the middle. Keep your head flat on the matt and pull very slowly until the hamstrings start to give. You will be surprised how much the leg starts to move after a few seconds.
Do these stretches every day for best results. If you forget a few days it’s OK. The more the better so find a time that works. For more stretches and tips visit our website at body-mastery.net.