SYDNEY'S HAIR SALON
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HEALTH & FITNESS
7 Steps to a Better Body(WebMD Feature from "Prevention" Magazine)
By Caroline Bollinger
1. Learn what "build slowly" means
Be realistic about your abilities. Experts say to progress gradually, but most of us don't know how to translate that into real-life terms--especially those who used to be active but have gotten out of the habit. "Formerly fit people are surprised and frustrated when they find themselves winded after a walk around the park," says Madelyn Fernstrom, PhD, director of the Weight Management Center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
If you haven't worked out in years, start with a manageable goal, like 20 minutes of walking or yoga twice a week for 2 weeks. When you're ready to progress, either bump your number of workouts to 3 a week or increase their length to 25 or 30 minutes--but don't try both at the same time. Taking on too much too soon can leave you achy and discouraged; that's why experts recommend you change only one thing at a time--the frequency, duration, or intensity of your workouts.
If your new cardio workout still leaves you gasping for air, don't be afraid to slow your pace--you should be slightly breathless but able to talk. You'll be more likely to follow your program if you exercise at a comfortable level, according to White's research. Strength-training will get easier, too. A new study from Ohio University found that muscles adapt to resistance exercises after a mere 2 weeks.
2. Keep an activity log
Hands down, lack of time is the number one reason we struggle to keep exercising. Yet studies find we may have more time than we think. Women ages 45 to 70 spend an average of 28 hours a week in sedentary activities outside of their jobs, such as reading and Web surfing, according to a University of Oklahoma study--ample time to find at least 2 1/2 hours a week for exercise. Keep a log of everything you do for 3 days, suggests Jennifer White, PhD, an assistant professor of fitness and wellness at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Then find ways to sneak in activity. Time in front of the TV can double as a stretching session, while a cell phone headset allows you to power walk while you're on hold with the credit card company.
3. Prepare for post-workout hunger
Exercise can boost metabolism for a few hours, but burning more calories can increase your appetite. To avoid the munchies after exercising (and eating back the calories you just burned), try to schedule workouts so that you have a meal within an hour afterward. Or save part of an earlier meal to eat during that time, says Fernstrom. Snacks combining carbohydrates and protein--like a fig bar and fat-free milk, or cantaloupe and yogurt--are best to refuel muscles and keep you from feeling ravenous later on. If you still feel hungry, wait 10 to 15 minutes before eating more to make sure you're physically, not just mentally, hungry. Distract yourself while you wait: Keep your hands occupied by cleaning out a drawer or giving yourself a manicure.
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