8 Tips for 8 Weeks
Before you know it, summer will be here. Time for baseball, barbecues, beaches, bikinis and warm weather.
With a few weeks to go, we asked Kerry Martinez from MedStar Union Memorial Cardiac Fitness to give us some advice for using the next 2 months wisely towards getting into "summer shape" to help us get the most out of the season.
- Cardio, cardio, cardio! Participate in aerobic activity 4-6 days per week to utilize stored calories and fat, ultimately leading to weight loss. Brisk walking, jogging, biking, aerobic dance and inline skating are great examples of aerobic activities. Center 75% of your exercise program on aerobic activity, and complement the other 25% with anaerobic activities such as strength training and flexibility training. Most important is sticking with your training goals! If you are having a rough day, tailor your workout to your energy level rather than throwing in the towel completely for that day. You may be able to complete the entire duration of the session at lower workloads.
- Firm and define! Incorporating strength training 2-3 days per week will not only strengthen the body, but also tone and define the muscles and give you that “fit and strong” look. Be sure to incorporate exercises for each major muscle group, completing one to three sets of 10-15 repetitions. Choose the amount of weight that allows you to complete the set, but the last few repetitions should be a challenge.
- Think small! Setting small goals will allow you to achieve many successes along the way towards your larger fitness goals. Try to lose 1-2 pounds per week rather than 5- 10. Recording your progress will also help you to stay focused. Studies show that people who record their exercise progress lose more weight!
- Find “balance”…with nutrition! Keep portion sizes small and eat 4-6 small meals throughout the day to keep up your energy level. Vegetables and fruits (with emphasis on the veggies) should be the main portion of your meals and snacks. Be sure to limit your intake of starchy carbohydrates and saturated fats. Opt for more nutrient dense food choices and eat the bulk of your calories in the morning or midday.
- Cut down on TV time! How much TV do you watch per day? Look for ways to replace sedentary activity with exercise. Giving up just one thirty minute television show every week night or staying away from the computer would allow for 2 ½ more hours of exercise time! That could possibly help you to burn at least an extra 500 calories even with just moderate exercise per week! Thirty minutes per day is not much to give up.
- Walk off your belly fat! Belly exercises tone the muscle underneath the fat. To burn the fat off you should really be aerobically exercising! The aerobic part slims you down while abdominal exercises will tone the muscles. The key is to walk briskly and for an extended amount of time, say about an hour! If you can find the time, you'll be able to trim some fat!
- Include the family! Do you feel like time with the family is taking precedence over exercising? Then make exercise a family affair! Turn on some (8-10) of your favorite upbeat songs in the house and dance away. Dancing is one high calorie burning activity! From mambos to cha chas, adding jazz, salsa, hip hop or any dancing to your exercise routine will whittle the waistline! Make exercise family time and allow for some fun with health benefits for the whole family!
- Create an Exercise Menu Get to know your rhythms, and have an exercise plan for each mood. Feeling low? Go for a walk in the park. Keyed up from work? Take a high-energy class. Missing your kids? Bundle them into the car and head for the local soccer field. Try to figure out what's going to motivate you to get the workout done!