Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Exercise is an opportunity

Exercise is an opportunity to step outside the daily toils and tribulations of your life, and step back into your body. In times of sickness and injury we are quickly reminded that our health is paramount. Without it, we experience a very low quality of life, no matter what else is going right. In the toughest of times, it’s equally important to remember that no matter what else is happening in your life, a healthy, strong body can be a source of comfort and pride. Below are some of my top health tips for staying fit physically and mentally.

1. Eat often and small portions. The rule of thumb is to eat small meals (the size of your fist) 5-6 times a day. This keeps your metabolism elevated and your body using what you feed it, instead of storing the excess it can’t use when you eat large portions.

2. Eat as much whole food as possible. Highly processed foods, sweetened beverages, and alcohol are the main culprits that lead to unwanted pounds.

3. To maximize your caloric expenditure (in other words, to burn the most calories), alternate high intensity exercise, using major muscle groups, with lower intensity exercise using smaller muscle groups.

4. Do nothing at least once a day! It’s essential for a healthy perspective, and very relaxing for your mind and body. And you deserve it!

5. Hydrate well before your workout, during your workout, and after your workout. Scientists cutely call this “the three phases of hydration theory”.

6. Work some lateral motion into your exercise routine: side step, side laying leg raises, or lateral step-ups. This will help you build strength into the major joints of your legs. Your knees, hips and ankles will thank you for it.

7. Breathe deeply and sit tall. These simple things will keep you energized and alert. It will help keep your back healthy, and you’ll get the added bonus of burning more calories throughout the day.