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Health and Fitness Blog 101

Let's Get Healthy Together

Easy Exercises to Get Started

Posted by larends on February 21, 2014
Posted in Health and Fitness 

kayakingIf you haven’t exercised before or it’s been awhile, there are a lot of easy exercises you can do to get started.  Walking is one of the easiest things you can do that will help you lose weight, get in shape and give you more energy.  You can start out by walking for 10-15 minutes.  Go to the park, the beach, your neighborhood, local bike trails or anywhere that you feel comfortable.  If you live in the northern climate like I do and there’s too much snow to walk outside, go to a mall, Walmart, Lowe’s, Home Depot or any other large indoor location that has room to walk.  Many schools have times available to walk on their indoor track or in their halls in the mornings or evenings.

For those of you that think you don’t have time to exercise, you can fit in a 10 minute walk before work, during your lunch or after work.  If you stay at home with young kids, put the baby in a stroller and have older kids walk with you.  When my youngest son was 4 or 5, I’d play a game to make it fun for him.  As I walked around my yard, I would drop something colorful (socks, handkerchief, etc.) for him to find and pick up.  Since he didn’t walk as fast as I did, he wouldn’t see me drop them and had fun seeing how many he could find.

Think of the things you used to enjoy doing when you were a kid and start doing them again.  Make a list of all the things you enjoy that get you moving and start doing them.  Here is a list of ideas to get you thinking:

  • Soccer
  • Basketball
  • Football
  • Baseball
  • Volleyball
  • Swimming
  • Skating
  • Jumping rope
  • Riding a bike
  • Tennis
  • Sledding
  • Skiing
  • Kayaking
  • Skateboarding

There are also several other things you can do that are fun and give you a good workout.  Dancing is one that I enjoy.  Turn on some music and cut loose.  Plus, there are always the standard exercises you can find on DVD: aerobics, Zumba, Tae Bo, Pilates, etc.  Most of these will help get your heart rate up and burn fat.  If you choose to go to a gym, they offer several cardio classes along with the exercise equipment:  bicycle, treadmill, elliptical, and stair climber.

The key is to get moving and get your heart rate up.  Start with 10 to 15 minutes of cardio (exercise that gets your heart rate up).  Work your way up to 30 minutes per day for about 5 or 6 days a week.  Even 3 days a week will be beneficial if you haven’t been exercising.  Another form of exercise that will help burn fat and tighten and tone your body is strength training.  Strength training builds muscle.  Some strength training exercises include:  lifting weights, lunges, squats, crunches, leg lifts, pushups, and planks.  Lunges and squats use the body to build muscle in the hips, glutes and thigh.  Crunches and planks build abdominal muscles and pushups build abdominal and arm muscles.  Start adding some strength training occasionally and work up to 2 to 3 times per week.  Focus on just 1 or 2 muscle groups for each strength training workout.

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Think Like an Olympic Athlete

Posted by larends on February 10, 2014
Posted in Health and Fitness  | No Comments yet, please leave one

skiingWow!  As I watch the Olympics, I think “these athletes are so disciplined.”  What do you think it takes to have that kind of motivation?  These athletes train their whole life to be able to compete in the Olympics.  They train long hours every day and eat healthy just for a chance to earn their place on the Olympic team.  I wonder how many people that trained just as long didn’t qualify to go this year.  Do they just give up?  Some might, but most of them just keep training and hope to make it to the next Olympics.  That’s commitment!

Just think if everyone was born with that kind of motivation.  Obviously, the athletes in the Olympics have a goal that they are working toward.  If something takes work, we have to have a reason to make it worth the effort.  I know how important exercise and eating healthy is because I have goals that are affected by those things.  My goals are to live a long life to be there for my kids, have lots of energy, avoid pain as I grow older and to look good in shorts.

I realize that I can’t make anyone want to be healthy.  Everyone will make their own choices.  All I can do is encourage others and give advice to those that seek it.  I recently learned that someone I care about was inspired by my blog to get back to exercising and eating healthy.  I was so touched and humbled by this (it brought tears to my eyes) that it made every word I’d written worth it.  The funny thing is that she’s inspired me in so many ways.  If no one else read my blog, it wouldn’t matter, because I touched one person and that makes it all worth it.

We all have a choice to be healthy or not.  We make those choices every day when we choose to exercise or watch TV, to eat a banana or a doughnut, to take a walk on our lunch or sit and read a book.  I’ve made bad choices.  We all have.  The important thing is to keep trying to make good decisions.  It’s a process.  Just because you eat a doughnut and don’t exercise one day, doesn’t mean you can’t get back on track the next day.  Just take it one day at a time and don’t give up.

A lot of people think exercising is a lot of work.  I used to think I had to run or do intense workouts 2 hours a day to lose weight.  I’ve never liked running.  Some people love it and if you do, great, but if you don’t there are plenty of things you can do to get in shape.  You can lose weight or get in shape by walking.  If you haven’t done any exercising and you want to get started, just start walking.  If you start walking just 15 minutes a day, 6 days a week for 2 weeks, you will start to feel better.  If you continue to walk adding more time each day, after 6 weeks you will most likely lose weight (unless you don’t need to lose weight) even if you continue eating the same foods.  If you walk 30 minutes a day 6 days a week for 6 weeks and add some healthier choices to what you eat, you will increase your weight loss.

Now most fitness experts don’t like to make promises, but if your body is not used to any exercise and you start walking and changing some of your food choices, your body will respond.  I watch the show “The Biggest Loser” about people that need to lose a lot of weight and the trainers really put them through a workout.  The trainers’ goal is to help them lose a lot of weight in a short time period, so they really have to push them with intense workouts.  The reality for most people is that 30 minutes of exercise 6 days a week will help you lose weight or get in shape if you have never exercised.  As your body adjusts to the exercise and it gets easier, you can add more time or intensity to your workouts to keep from reaching a plateau and continue losing weight.  The important thing to keep in mind is that losing weight takes time.  There is no quick fix, so you need to be committed and stick with it.  If you miss a couple of days, don’t give up.

I challenge you to try some kind of exercise for at least 6 weeks.  My next blog will discuss some other things you can do to exercise.