We are mid-way through January and it's frigid in the Midwest. The perfect time of year to huddle on the couch, watch football, drink beer and gobble chips (GO PACK). Forget squeezing into those running tights and sprinting around the block. This is the time of year we are happy and content...doing nothing at all. Exercise is a distant memory of Summer's past and will not catch up with us for at least a couple more months.
In our first post, we gave advice on how to better your diet to sustain your weight and live healthy. Now, we are going to talk about getting that swimsuit worthy physique. Items 4-7 on our Top 10 go hand in hand. If you want a rock hard body, the key is to MOVE YOUR BODY!
4. Lift weights
You lose muscle as you age, you gain weight as you age, and muscle burns more calories than fat , so wouldn't it make sense to build and maintain that muscle? If not purely for aesthetic purposes, then for strength later in life? I know many women refuse to pump iron because they think they will turn into Arnold Schwarzenegger. It is simply not true for the average weight lifter (don't be scared by the picture - this woman is clearly on steroids, mega protein and intensive training). One of my favorite informational sites on weight training is BodyBuilding.com. And, if you are a women looking to develop a weight training routine to get lean (not bulky), you should read this article. The key is to get your muscles used to working hard. You can also try resistance training using your body weight or rubber bands if dumbbells are too hardcore. Muscles and Fitness is also another great resource for Women and Men.
5. Stretch your muscles
Staying limber is the key to preventing injury. Perform a stretching routine at least two to three times per week. Web MD is a trusted resource and you can learn more about basic stretching exercises here. For a dual approach, try Yoga or Pilates - not only will you stretch your muscles, you also gain resistance training benefits. About.com features a ton of resources on these exercises. And, as an avid reader of Yoga Journal, I highly recommend their website and magazine if you seek intermediate to advanced techniques and inspiration.
6. Perform aerobic activity
To burn excess calories and keep your heart fit, aerobic activity is required. Three to four times per week for 30 minutes is adequate to maintain, but additional sessions may be necessary to lose weight. If you get bored with a full 30 minutes, break it up into 2 or 3 short bursts during the day. Dance, climb the stairs, jump rope, bicycle, walk, jog, run, karate, kick box... any activity that increases and sustains your heart rate for that period of time. Web MD has a comprehensive health and fitness section that is worth your attention.
7. Move more and sit less
Yeah, duh! It's no secret that you burn more calories standing than you do sitting. Small changes to your daily routine can have a huge impact on your weight and overall health. Ditch the drive through at Starbucks and walk in. Park your car farther away from your destination to steal a brisk walk. Take the stairs instead of the elevator...you get the idea.
Moving your body and eating healthy should be part of a daily routine. Decide what is best for your lifestyle and seek advice from your doctor or a professional trainer before you begin. It is extremely important that you know how to correctly execute stretching and weight lifting movements to prevent injury. Now get your butt off the couch and get moving!