Sunday, January 23, 2011

Launch Some Healthy Habits in 2011

My daughter crossing the finish line of a half-marathon. Her family cheering her on. What a great role model!

Another new year, another set of resolutions. How many of us have the same ones year after year? Lose weight, exercise more…Try to wear off that Christmas fudge. Maybe this is the year to really keep that resolution. In this post, we are going to look at exercise.

I’m realizing that as I age, it isn’t as easy to stay in shape. It is a very real commitment for me to keep up my running. But I know that the benefits are so great—keeping my heart strong and my weight down. (Heart disease is a major factor in my family.) I’m looking at maybe taking a “Hoops” class or Zumba class through our Community Ed. just to mix things up a bit.

So how to make exercise a way of life. Here are some quick tips:

*Walk whenever and wherever you can. Before work, after work, at work. Walk on your breaks. (The suggested number of steps is 10,000 to stay fit. To lose weight you would need to increase that and also the intensity/speed of your walking.)
*Take the stairs. Whenever possible, take the stairs instead of the elevator. (On our last cruise we never used the elevator. To get to any food we usually had to walk about 15-18 flights of stairs. It did help to keep some of the chocolate desserts off my hips.)
*Take a break from technology. Put down the phone, move away from your PC, turn off the TV. Get up and move around. Go talk to someone instead.
*Finish chores while building muscles. Doing everyday chores like cleaning the house, grocery shopping, laundry, gardening, and walking the dog are great ways to stay fit.
*Split up your workout. If you don't have time to spend an hour at the gym try exercising for 10 minutes when you get up (maybe with some slow stretches) walk during your breaks at work or take a 10 minute walk and squeeze in another 10 minutes before or after dinner to finish the day.
*Pick up the pace. Doing an everyday activity at a slightly faster pace can increase the number of calories you burn. Just don't overdo it. Vacuuming, taking the stairs or grocery shopping a little faster than you normally do could raise your heart.
*Have fun! Exercise doesn't have to be a chore. Exercising with a friend, taking a new class, or trying a new activity will keep your motivation up. Combining weekend fun or vacation time with exercise by going swimming, canoeing, playing Frisbee is also a great way to stay on track.

Just a note for parents: You can be a great role model for your children. (Practice what you preach!) Instead of just watching your child participate in a sport, you could walk around the field, court or rink while your child is playing. Seeing you add some exercise to your daily routine will let them know that you value your health.

So…how about it? Are you going to keep that resolution to exercise?
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