Updated: Apr 22
Does This Sound Like You?
How many times have you gone to sleep at night, swearing you will go to the gym or work out in the morning? However, you then change your mind eight hours later because you do not feel like exercising.
While this can happen to the best of us, it does not mean you should drop the ball altogether when staying fit. Instead, people need to realize that staying active and eating right are critical for long-term health and wellness -- and that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Furthermore, the more you know about how your body responds to your lifestyle choices, the better you can customize a nutrition and exercise plan that is right for you.
Healthy Aging Begins With Healthy Eating
When you eat well, increase your level of physical activity, and exercise at the proper intensity, you inform your body that you want to burn a substantial amount of fuel. It translates to burning fat more efficiently for energy.
In other words, proper eating habits plus exercise equals fast metabolism, which, in turn, gives you more energy throughout the day and allows you to do more physical work with less effort.
Main Purpose of Exercise
The true purpose of the exercise is to send a repetitive message to the body, asking for improvement in metabolism, strength, aerobic capacity, and overall fitness and health. Each time you exercise, your body responds by upgrading its capabilities to burn fat throughout the day and night, Exercise doesn't have to be intense to work for you, but it does need to be consistent.
I recommend engaging in regular cardiovascular exercise four times per week for 20 to 30 minutes per session and resistance training four times per week for 20 to 25 minutes. This balanced approach provides a one-two punch, incorporating aerobic exercise to burn fat, delivering more oxygen, and resistance training to increase lean body mass and burn more calories around the block.
Here is a simple exercise program that may work for you:
* Warm-Up -- Do seven to eight minutes of light aerobic activity to increase blood flow, lubricate, and warm up your tendons and joints.
* Resistance Training -- Train all major muscle groups. One to two sets of each exercise. Rest 45 seconds between sets.
* Aerobic Exercise -- Pick two favorite activities: walking, jogging, rowing, biking, or cross-country skiing, whatever fits your lifestyle. Perform 12 to 15 minutes of the first activity and continue with 10 minutes of the second activity. Be sure to cool down during the last five minutes.
* Stretching -- Wrap up your exercise session by stretching, breathing deeply, relaxing, and meditating.
When starting an exercise program, it is essential to have realistic expectations. Depending on your initial fitness level, you should expect the following changes early.
* From one to eight weeks -- Feel better and have more energy.
* From two to six months -- Lose size and inches while becoming leaner. Clothes begin to fit more loosely. As a result, you are gaining muscle and losing fat.
* After six months -- Start losing weight quite rapidly.
Do not stop there once you commit to exercising several times a week. It would help if you also changed your diet and eating habits. Unfortunately, counting calories or calculating grams and percentages for certain nutrients is impractical. So instead, I suggest these easy-to-follow guidelines:
* Eat several small meals (optimally four) and a couple of small snacks throughout the day.
* Make sure every meal is balanced -- incorporate palm-sized proteins like lean meats, fish, egg whites, and dairy products. In addition, fist-sized portions of complex carbohydrates like whole-wheat bread and pasta and essential. Finally, add wild rice, multigrain cereal, potatoes, and fist-sized amounts of vegetables and fruits.
* Limit your fat intake to only what is necessary for good flavor.
* Drink water. Make it a habit to drink at least eight 8-oz. glasses of water during the day
* Take a multi-vitamin each day to ensure you get all the body's vitamins and minerals.
If you do these things, you will begin to see changes daily. Be kind to yourself and if at first you do not succeed, try again and again until you reach success.
Enjoy life; we all deserve it.