Every little bit counts
How much exercise should you do? For starters, whatever you can do; anything is better than nothing, and consistency is key. We recommend 20 minutes of activity at least 4 days a week, gradually adding minutes every couple of weeks to get to 50 minutes 4 days a week.
Not ready for that? Even snagging a few minutes here and there can add up to toned muscles, flexible joints, and calories burned. Such “micro-workouts” are a good way to ease into activities, and you can incorporate them into everyday life.
Question: I stayed up way too late last night. Today, I’m wiped out. Should I exercise today?
Answer: the short answer: Yes. If you think you could get through your regular routine safely, go for it. The longer answer: Do what feels right. There’s a downside to working out when you’re running out of fumes:
- Even if you don’t drop a kettle bell on your toe, you aren’t likely to push as hard as usual or get the full benefits of your exercise efforts.
- Earlier in the day, a brisk walk or 20 minutes of a favorite exercise video might perk you up. But if you can only work out in the evening, make sure doesn’t keep you from hitting the hay. While studies shown a clear link between exercise and sleep disturbance (previously the recommendation was not to exercise within 3 hours of bedtime), doesn’t wedge in a work out if you know it’ll wind you up afterward or steal time that could be spent in bed, making up for last night’s lost zzz.
Bottom line: missing one workout will not set you back either fitness or plan wise.
When should I work out?
When ever you’re most likely to work out is the short answer. And yes schedule it into your day – put it on your calendar like every other appointment you have so that you’ve already carved out the time for it.
Reasons to work out…
In the morning
∑ You’re an early bird.
∑ The gym is less crowded. (Depends on how early you are up and the gym attended.)
∑ It’s done before something unexpected come up and you end up missing your workout.
∑ You set a healthy tone for your day; good choices often follow
∑ You only have to take one shower.
During your lunch hour
∑ The time is already built into your day.
∑ Moving can help set offset the negative health effects of sitting a lot.
∑ You’ll get an energy boost to help you through the rest of the day.
∑ You can make it a social activity by working out with a friend or two.
∑ It’s a healthy alternative than watching tv, snacking, etc.
∑ Interruptions may be less likely.
∑ You’re a night owl: Evenings are when you are more energetic.
True or False: Once you reach your weight-loss goal, you can dial down workouts.
False! Regular exercise may be important to maintaining pound loss that for helping banish them in the first place. Take it from those who know: Folks n the national weight loss registry say that they get around 42 minutes of moderate activity every day.
Here are some good reasons why exercise – both cardio and weight training – are key to maintaining weight loss:
∑ Burning calories is even more important now, as you ease into a less restrictive eating plan. The American College of Sports medicine recommends that adults get 150 and 250 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week to maintain a healthy weight. (That’s about 20 to 35 minutes per day.)
∑ Weight training builds muscle, which burns more calories at rest than fat does. Once you’re at your happy weight you feel good, regular strength training can help boost your metabolism.
∑ Exercise is a mood booster. When you feel good you are less likely to over eat.
∑ Exercise is a super snack distraction. Eating on the treadmill? Gross! When you are on the move you can’t eat.
Jumping rope isn’t just for kids. Research suggests that just 10 minutes of steady jumping can deliver the aerobic benefits of a 30-minute jog and two activity points plus values. Plus jumping rope engages muscles through out the body from the ankles to the shoulders; builds bone strength, improves balance, and may even protect knees from injury by strengthening the muscle groups that support them.
Learning the ropes
Choose the right one. Skip the face rope with weighted handles and opt for a lightweight rope with foam grips that won’t slip out of sweaty hands. To get the right length, stand in the middle of the rope and bring the handles toward your chest; they should reach your armpits.
Wear supportive sneakers and make sure you’re in a space with enough room in front, behind, and above you.
Start with single jumps. Once you’re comfortable, speed up and eliminate the extra hop.
Challenge. Alternate between jumps with both feet together and skipping with one foot at a time.
Beat the “Don’t wanna exercise” blues.
Sometimes exercise sounds as appealing as trying to push a truck up a hill. Sometimes it is harder to get dressed for the gym but once you are dressed it is silly not go go.
Join the resistance.
Some resemble giant scarves, others oversized rubber bands, or stretchy tubes with handles on each end. But they all work the same way. Pulling on a resistance bands helps your muscles to work harder – and get stronger – especially because they provide variable resistance (as they stretch, the resistance increase). what’s more bands…
- Help improve coordination – you need to stay balanced and stable in order to control the band.
- Are convenient and portable: Stash them in a drawer or fold them into a suitcase.
- Won’t break the bank: A single band can cost a mere $6; sets as little as $20.
- Are perfect for beginners – no heavy weights to heft or drop on your toe.
- Are versatile: Besides strengthening muscles, you can use them to stretch.
Band Basics Tips for choosing and using elastic bands and tubing:
- Choose the right tension or thickness. You should be able to do 8 – 12 reps of a move, meaning you get to 8 easily, but 12 is tough. Once you can get 12 reps easily, go up a tension or thickness level.
- Check for holes, rips, or worn spots before you work with a band.
- Don’t use bands on asphalt or concert. Abrasive surfaces can cause tears.
- Do each move slowly and with control so that you work against resistance from start to finish.
Make your fitness comeback
If you’ve fallen off the workout wagon, no worries! Here’s how to revive your workout routine.
Check your emotions at the health club door. An exercise hiatus can bring up guilt, frustration at lost ground, uncertainty about having to begin again. Focus on the fact you’ve recommitted to your workout. That makes you a winner already.
Do something you love (or at least enjoy). Or try an activity that is new to you. Your initial goal is to start moving, fall back in love (or at least “in like”!) with exercise and renew your fitness habit. If joining a bowling league is more appealing that unfreezing your gym membership, go for it.
Re-start slow. Without regular activity, the body can loose many of the fitness gains earned through exercise. So do you need to start from scratch? That depends on what you were doing (cardio fitness tends to fade more quickly than muscle strength); how inactive you became (if you kept up some activity, you’re more likely to have retained some degree of fitness); and how long you’ve been hibernating. If it’s four or more months then you should go back to basics.
Call in a pro. A session or two with a certified personal trainer might help you gauge your fitness level and pump you with enthusiasm. One option: Check out the personalized one on one sessions or group classes on wello.com to learn moves in the privacy of your own home.
Let’s get something straight
4 reasons to perfect posture
- You’ll look thinner. When you slump, your belly sticks out more. to instantly appear leaner, imagine a string through the top of your head pulling you upward, so that your neck lengthens, your shoulders shifts back, and your belly pulls in, And chins up please.
- You’ll help prevent injury during exercise. When you stand up straight and use proper posture while working out you are least likely to pull or stain muscles and more likely to move correctly. if you aren’t sure how to preform a move correctly book a session with a trainer or try the exercise videos on weight watchers.com.
- You’ll protect your back. Poor posture can lead to disc problems and conditions like spinal stenosis. Strengthening your ab muscles, as well as the extensor muscles in your back , will help correct your posture and take pressure off your spine. Exercises that focus on strengthening the core, like yoga and Pilates, are especially effective ways to do this.
- You’ll help save your joints. Good posture can stave off osteoarthritis by taking pressure off your neck, hips, and knees.
Move to the groove.
Why work out to music? Because it can …
- Make exercise seem easier. Music can help boost your mood and squash anger, tension, and other negative emotions. The feel-good effect can also keep your mind off discomfort and fatigue, a phenomenon researchers call “dissociation.”
- Help you work out harder, especially during repetitive activities (walking, running, rowing, etc.) where we tend to sync movement with tempo.
- Help improve your skills. one reason: it ups the fun factor, which can boost motivation to learn.
- Help put you in the zone, which psychologists call a “flow state,” meaning you’re so absorbed in what you’re doing you ignore everything else. Sweat and forget!
To max your music …
- Save workout songs for workouts (not for the car or the shower) to keep them fresh and motivating come exercise time.
- Remix your playlist before you tire the tunes. Research shows that listening to music you don’t enjoy can make a workout feel harder.
- Mix it up. Variety is key to motivating music.
- Keep it upbeat, choosing songs with a positive message or that focus on activity.
A song’s tempo helps dictate how fast or slow you move, so it’s important to get it right. Use this guide to ideal beats-per-minute (bpm) when you create a playlist. (Look for tablet/smartphone apps that will calculate the bp for your favorite songs and/or help you find music that matches the tempo you want.)
Should I still exercise when I’m sick?
Maybe. If your symptoms are above the neck – sneezing, sniffles, minor sore throat – but you don’t have a fever, and you want to exercise, go ahead. (It may even open up your nasal passage temporarily if you’re congested!) Just dial down your effort a little: Go to a Pilates class instead of Zumba, take a walk rather than run, plug in an exercise video at home rather than hit health club (especially if you might be contagious – gym equipment loves to harbor germs). If you start to feel really lousy, stop.
But it’s best to play hooky if:
- You have a fever.
- Your symptoms are below the neck – chest congestion, hacking cough, upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, overall fatigue, or body aches.
- You have a migraine or other severe headache.
Resume your regular routine once you’re feeling better and are fever-free – just don’t hit the treadmill running. Take it slow at first. And if you had a nasty stomach bug, you may want to steer clear of the gym for a couple of weeks, as some viruses can remain contagious for that long. But do get back to your work out – studies show that regular activity can boost immunity, so exercise can help keep you from getting sick again.
These retro moves aren’t high-tech, but that’s what’s great about them: no fancy gear needed.