Steps To Better Health

FITNESS

Fitness is just as important as health, and in reality, fitness correlates directly with our health. If we are not taking care of our bodies, we get sick. Here are some great recommendations to keep fit:


1.Bicycling

When you ask many adults when the last time they rode a bike is, they cannot answer. Although bicycling is a favorite pastime, many adults do not take advantage of this great option for exercise. Not only does bike riding exercise the body and build a stronger cardiovascular system, it allows you to get out and enjoy nature, fresh air, and see new sites.


2.Jogging or Walking

Both jogging and walking are GREAT ways to get fit. Not only do they tone the muscles, relieve stress, create a healthier heart, and improve lung capability, they make you look wonderful, which in turns helps you get excited about doing other exercise for fitness.


3. Swimming

Swimming is an excellent way to get into and stay in shape. If you do not own a pool, many high schools have aquatic centers, or there is always the YWCA or YMCA, or your local gym. Many offer water aerobic classes that will help you tighten your body, lose weight, and get a good overall workout.


4.Tennis Anyone

Tennis is not only a fun sport, but also a great way to exercise. You do not have to be a Venice Williams to play; in fact, you do not even have to be good. Just running after the ball alone will help get you into shape. This is a great way to strengthen your cardiovascular system and lose weight. You can find tennis courts in just about every city and if you would like to play but have no idea how, lessons are reasonable.


5. Dancing

Dancing is so much fun and whether you enjoy a slow, Ballroom dance or a nightclub packed with people all moving to heart-pumping techno, as long as you are moving, it really does not matter what type of dance or music. The whole idea is to move your body. Dancing has long been recommended as an avenue to fitness.


6.VCR

If you have a VCR or DVD, rather than just using it for your favorite comedy or action-packed movie, try sticking in some good workout tapes. Even taking 15 minutes every day to workout will get you started. Try that for two weeks and you will be surprised at the results. Once you see that 15 minutes a day makes a difference, you will be encouraged to increase the time spent.


7.Abdominal Crunches

While you may not end up with a washboard stomach, you can do some things to get your abdomen in better shape. Crunches have long been a favorite for many athletes for the very reason that they work. Lying on your back with knees bent, keeping feet flat on the floor, cross your hands across your chest and then curl your torso, rolling from your sternum toward your hips. Do this slowly and start out with a set of ten crunches in three reps. In other words, do ten crunches, wait a minute, do ten more, wait a minute, and then do the final ten. As you get accustomed to these, you can increase both the number of sets and reps.


 

8. Squats

Squats are excellent for glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves. With your feet standing firm and spread apart about two feet, bend your knees slightly. Then, very smoothly, you will squat toward the floor without going all the way down. This usually takes some practice but within a short period, you will enjoy the benefits.


9. Tricep Press

Having firm arms is something that many people focus on when exercising. For an Overhead Tricep Press, standing on the floor with your feet about two feet apart, knees slightly bent, you will extend your arms over your head. Keep your elbows locked and then very slowly lower your hands behind your head. You want to do this with some type of weight, but small weights like one to five pounds. If you do not have weights of your own, you can hold a one-pound of vegetables, which will work perfectly.


10.Get to the Gym

Working out at home is a good option and for some people, they are committed enough to actually make it work. However, for the majority of people wanting to get into shape, the inspiration, competitiveness, and encouragement received from working out in a gym is the way to go. Although it will require a small investment, make the decision to find a gym that offers state-of-the-art equipment, qualified staff, and fun classes where you can enjoy working out.


11.Eat More

Before you get too excited, understand that when you eat, it is not how much you eat, but what you eat. If you find that getting fit and eating less food is too hard, add more of the right food into your diet. Great options include an orange, hard-boiled egg, small broiled chicken breast, and fresh vegetables such as carrots, celery sticks. If you have a craving for something sweet, many delicious options are available such as Weight Watchers cheesecake or Chocolate Éclairs. Getting fit does not mean total deprivation.


12. Network at the Gym

Getting to the gym is a great way to get fit. However, there are other benefits to going to the gym. You will have the opportunity to expand your social ring by making new friends, all working to get fit just like you. This will provide needed encouragement, which in turn helps you to stay motivated.


13.Tight Muscles

In addition to a good aerobic exercise, you should add weight training in, which will help balance out the fitness routine and provide you with the best results. If you are not sure where to start, a professional trainer can help get you started on a healthy program.


14.Heat Therapy

Using heat therapy is a great way to reduce long-term effects or injury for overworked muscles. If you have sore muscles and joints, use heat to help increase blood flow, relieve muscle spasms, and increase joint mobility.


15.Before it’s a Problem

Instead of taking an injury through rehabilitation after it is an injury, why not rehab before. You can actually take preventative measures before you indulge in a sport or activity by ensuring you stretch properly. This will help strengthen as well as stretch muscles, which in turn, helps reduce unnecessary injuries.


16.Running in the Sand

If you live in a geographical area, where you have the luxury of sandy beaches, and if you are in the process of rehabilitating your knees, ankles, and even some injuries to the back, you should avoid running in the sand during this time. The reason is that running on sand actually produces greater force on the joints.


17. Quick Energy

Listen to your body. If you find that you are dragging, eat the right foods that will give your body the energy needed and are healthy. Examples of these foods include carrots, rice cakes, breakfast cereals, bananas, and potatoes.


18. Quality Matters

While finding that great bargain on poorly made running or training shoes may be tempting, it would be far better to put your workout on hold for a couple of weeks while you save the money needed to purchase a good pair. That does not mean you have to pay a fortune, but always ensure you are working out with the proper shoes. Wearing shoes that have a poor design or poor durability can actually cause injury.


19. Get Ready to Run

Before any workout, always warm up. If you are a runner, before you go out for your actual run, take two to five minutes to jog in place to prepare. You will find that you have a better run.


20. Increased Protein

Many diets of today’s society pull you back and forth, one telling you to eat more protein, and one less. The fact is that if you are not exercising as much as you used to or if you are exercising heavily, your body could in fact need more protein than what the RDA recommends. The good balance for either scenario is 50% to 60% carbohydrates, 20% to 25% protein and 20% or less of fat. If you stick with this equation, you will benefit.


21.Asthma and Exercise

If you have asthma and love to exercise, it is important to keep your inhaler with you. However, if for some reason you forget, remember that caffeine can provide temporary relieve of bronchial constriction. If you do not have asthma but after years of running, you develop breathing problems, you could be suffering from “Exercise Induced Asthma”, which should be mentioned to your physician.


22. Resistance

The next time you work out try adding some resistance to your routine. You can use special rubber bands or other devices designed specifically as a way to help you with isometrics, thus get better results.


23. Taking a Break

If you are actively involved in a workout regimen but you are getting ready to go on vacation for two weeks or have an extra heavy workload for your job over the next couple of weeks, instead of just stopping your routine completely during that time, just cut back. Even reducing your workout by 50% will give you the break you need but also make it much easier to get back to full speed than if you just stopped altogether.


24.Exercise and Summer

Exercising outdoors can be refreshing and fun but it can also cause problems if you do not follow some simple rules. Make sure you are drinking enough water, about 16 ounces every 30 minutes, before, during, and after exercise. Some sports drinks such as PowerAid and GatorAid have special ingredients that help replenish fluids to prevent dehydration.


25. Be Realistic

It would be great to be able to jump right into a hard workout, feel great, and see instant results. However, it is important to be realistic about several things. First, you need to understand that you more than likely will not (or should not) start out with a hard workout if you have not been in a regular exercise routine. Start out slow and do not set yourself up for failure by expecting miracles overnight. Getting fit takes time and with commitment, you will reach your goals.


26.Envision Success

Try to envision how great you will look and feel once you get in shape. If you can, find a picture of someone that has the same body type and pin it up where you can look at it every day to help you see the same results you too can reach with hard work and time.


27.Pregnancy and Exercise

Do not think that just because you are pregnant means you have to stop exercising, unless you have special needs. Before you exercise during pregnancy, always check with your doctor first. Once you get permission to proceed, you will find that leg extensions, standing curls, and other exercises can be done with ease. If you are not sure what you can and cannot do, ask your doctor for recommendations.


28. Track Progress

Often when trying to get in shape, it seems like you are working hard and sweating, but getting nowhere. In actuality, things are happening, just not yet seen. Keep track of two things in particular. First, track your measurements. You will probably be surprised within only a few weeks at the progress made. Second, track your routines so you can determine what is working for you and what is not as successful.


29. Medication and Exercise

If you are on scheduled prescription medication, you should know that some drugs could have a negative affect if mixed with exercise. Some can cause the heart to work too hard or you might not sweat as needed, to mention a few. If you are taking medication, before you start any exercise program, consult with your physician to ensure there are no harmful effects.


30.Cool Down

Just as warming up for exercise is important, cooling down after exercise is just as important. Once you have completed your workout, take five to 10 minutes to walk, or stretch to allow your body to cool down. This is very important for the muscles and joints and for the heart and lung.


31.Walk the Dog
Instead of just opening the back door to let the dogs out, put them on a leash and go for a nice walk. They will appreciate the new scenery and you are doing yourself a great justice.


32.Lunchtime

Instead of eating a heavy lunch, put together something light and easy and go for a walk. You can sip on a protein drink or snack on fruit while enjoying a nice brisk walk before heading back to the office. You will feel refreshed and more invigorated for your afternoon tasks.


33. Bowling

Get some exercise by joining a bowling league. You can find a league for just about every level of bowler as well as any day and time of the week. This is a great way to get out and have some fun while also exercising. Yes, bowling does count as exercising.


34.Set Goals 

Set a goal for yourself, perhaps four to six weeks. By breaking up your time into workable chunks of time instead of looking out an entire year, you will have a much easier time meeting your goals and staying on track as well as encouraged.


35.Neurobics

This is a new term coined by researchers from the United States relating to ways in which to get the brain activated with its own biochemical pathways. The goal is to have the brain strengthened and energetic. Positive thinking has long been proven to help with illness and disease so the theory is that an energetic mind is also good for fitness.


36. Fitness and Food

Certain foods provide specific benefits for people who workout. If you need quick energy or planning to run a 4K or 10K and need to accelerate your metabolism, bread, grain-based food, sugar, and honey are great choices. If your goal is to burn fat, you should eat peas, oat bran, pasta, rice, beans, lentils, and soya beans.


36. Interval Training

As a way to improve your fitness in a speedy manner and lose weight, try interval training. This means that you where your workout intensity varies. This is beneficial to your workout and fights workout boredom.


37. After Exercise

When you have completed your exercise regimen, instead of eating carbohydrates, grab some fresh fruit or water. The reason is that for a minimum of an hour after exercise, the body is still breaking down fat. You need to allow the body to finish doing its job.


38.Breath in – Breath out

You might wonder what breathing has to do with fitness and the truth is it has a lot to do with it. When exercising, there is a proper way to breath that will help you with the appropriate amount of oxygen into the system but will also help you with endurance. For example, marathon runners will tell you that they use a rhythm when running that allows them to runner longer and healthier than normal breathing.


39. Circle of Friends

When trying to get into shape, it is important to have family and friends in support. This means they need to respect your goals and not offer you wrong foods, or try to pull you away from your exercise program. Explain to them how important this is to you and that you need their encouragement.


40.Know your Age

While you are only as old as you feel, keep in mind that young people can very easily leap over an obstacle in the garage or take a nice jog through the neighborhood with no problem. However, as people age, it is crucial to stay fit and healthy and pay attention to your age. Something that might have been easy for you when you were young may now cause injury or illness. If you find you can no longer perform one activity, do not be discouraged; just substitute one activity for another.


41.Diabetes and Exercise

Aerobic exercise can actually be beneficial for people with diabetes. This exercise increases the insulin sensitivity and when combined with good eating, can help restore a normal glucose metabolism. Before starting into a workout program, you need to see your doctor first to determine if there are any risks for coronary artery disease and that your blood glucose control is appropriate for exercise. Once cleared, you will feel better and see for you the benefits associated with exercise.


42.Golf Injuries
While golf is not a high impact sport, injuries can still occur. One such injury associated with golf is torn rotator cuffs. To avoid this from happening to you, it is important to keep your muscles strengthened and flexible. Simple stretching can help tremendously. When you stretch, take it slow, only going to a point of mild tension. Each stretch should be held for 20 to 40 seconds with smooth motion (no bouncing). Just as it is important to stretch before you golf, it is equally as important to stretch after golf.


43. Stretch the Mind
When you stretch your body in preparation for exercise as well as after exercise, you need to stretch your mind as well. You might be wondering how and why. When your mind is relaxed, your body follows. To achieve a relaxed mind, listen to soothing music, relax your breathing, and use visualization techniques such as Yoga. Another exercise discipline that are very popular and works is the Pilates program.


44.Proper Equipment

Okay, the scenario is that you have made your New Year’s resolution and are determined to get into shape. Too embarrassed to head to the gym just yet, you make the decision to purchase some equipment such as a Nordic Trac or treadmill to get in better shape before being seen in public. While that is a common occurrence, it is important to make sure you buy the right equipment and equipment in good working order. Many people will sell equipment at a huge discount in the local paper, making the buy look too good to pass up. However, while most are honest sales, some are selling the equipment because it does not work or something is wrong with it. This could lead to further injury so when buying from a private party, bring someone with you who knows about workout equipment or contact the maker of that particular piece of equipment and ask them what to look for to ensure you are buying a good piece of equipment.


45.Beauty is Skin Deep

Accept the fact that everyone’s body is built different and when God created you, He did not make a mistake. When you see the models and Hollywood stars on the cover of those glamour magazines, keep in mind that every one of those photographs have been airbrushed, meaning they really do not look like that. While they make look fantastic either way, you are not those people - you are you! Always love yourself for who you are inside. As long as you are eating right, exercising, and doing the best for yourself, then you
should be happy. You may never reach that model appearance and to be honest, you do not want to. Do the best you can and love the inside beauty more than the outside beauty!


46. Built-in Air-Conditioner

Your body was created with a built in cooling system, called sweat or if you prefer, perspiration. On television and in magazines, you will find numerous advertisements encouraging deodorant for exercise when in actuality; sweat is a vital key in a good workout. When your body heats up do to exertion, sweat is doing the job intended – keeping the body cool. Therefore, do not try to squelch sweating, accept it.


47.Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

Heat-related illnesses can be a common occurrence when exerting energy in the outdoors or poorly ventilated indoors. Two primary contributors can be alcohol consumption and not enough water. Three types of illness include heat cramps, which are very painful and might be combined with headache or nausea, heat exhaustion, which is more serious and includes vomiting, chills, headache, dizziness, among other symptoms, and heatstroke, which if the most dangerous and if not caught and treated immediately, can be fatal or lead to permanent brain damage or coma. For all three of these, particularly the last two, the best action is prevention. If you notice that your heart starts beating too fast and you feel light-headed, get out of the sun. Wear loose fitting clothing, preferably made from lightweight cotton as well as light colors. Drink LOTS of water. Even if you do not feel thirsty, drink anyway. Do not go with the old rule of taking salt tablets. You should always stay clear of these unless you have first consulted with your physician. Stay away from alcohol, soft drinks, caffeine, or heavily sugared drinks to include fruit juice. Take frequent breaks and if necessary, stop for the day. If you do believe you are in trouble, seek medical attention immediately. It is far better safe than sorry!


48.Check your Pulse

As you exercise, it is to your advantage to keep track of your pulse rate. You can pick up an inexpensive pulse measure at any local Wal-mart, KMart, or sporting good store. This will measure your heart rate to ensure you are staying within a healthy range. The rate is measured by counting the beats of your heart in a set amount of time, usually about 15 to 20 seconds, and then multiplying the number of beats to get your number of beats per minute. For example, if your pulse at 20 seconds were 40, since there are 60 seconds in a minute, you would take 40 times three for a total rate per minute of 120.


49.Safety First

Whatever you do, if you are involved in a sport or activity that has potential for injury, specifically head injury, use the proper equipment no matter what anyone else tells you. For example, if you are involved with skateboarding and this is how you stay in shape, good for you! However, you need to wear protective gear such as a helmet, gloves, knee guards, etc. Most people think that something significant has to happen in order to get a head in jury. Unfortunately, that is a huge misconception. The truth is that falling one foot onto the pavement and hitting your head is enough to cause serious injury or death. This is the time to put your pride aside and think of safety first. By taking care of your body through good health habits and fitness, you will live a happier, better, and longer life!

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