All rights reserved. To use our trainers' articles, you must
include the authors' names and show
under their names.
"Five Tips for Getting in Shape This Summer"
Summer is the perfect time of year to move your
health and fitness goals closer to the top of your priority list and
to take the steps necessary to obtain a body that is both healthy on
the inside and strong and physically fit on the outside. If you
have been putting off taking care of yourself all year, this summer
is the time to finally get serious about achieving your physical
fitness goals. Listed below are five helpful tips that will help
you get the ball rolling and maintain a healthy momentum.
ONE: Try something new! Now that the
weather is warmer and the days are longer, why not add an exciting
new outdoor activity or sport, such as inline skating, mountain
biking, tennis, basketball, surfing, or climbing to your exercise
program? With all of the options available, there is no excuse for
allowing yourself to become stuck in a comfortable rut this summer.
Use your imagination. Buy a new pair of walking shoes or dust off
your bike and explore uncharted territory. Join a softball team or
running club. If there is no club in your area, start one. My
husband and I once started a popular rollerblading club and had a
wonderful time meeting new people while getting in better shape.
Engaging in several different types of sports,
exercises, and activities on a regular basis (sometimes defined as
cross training) can add excitement and variety to your exercise
program. Cross training also increases the odds that you will be
working different muscle groups and varying the amount of aerobic
and anaerobic exercise that you obtain on a regular basis.
Significantly increasing your level of physical activity not only
improves the efficiency of your cardiovascular system, but also
increases muscle tone and metabolic rate, making it easier for your
body to burn fat, even while you sleep!
TWO: Clean up your diet and clean out your
pantry. Start taking time to read food labels and increase your
nutritional awareness by becoming better informed. Throw away the
items that you instinctively know are your biggest downfall and
start with a fresh, clean slate. Cutting out junk food, fried
foods, and simple sugars can make a considerable difference in your
energy level and in the way that you feel about your body at the
beach this summer. Be especially cautious of products that are high
in saturated fat. Not only do saturated fats raise your total blood
cholesterol, but there is also a link between diets high in
saturated fat and the incidence of certain types of cancer, most
notably colon, breast, and prostate cancers.
THREE: Eat higher quality foods.
Concentrate on eating food for the nutritional value and not simply
for the taste. Take a trip to the health food store and try
something different. Experiment with new healthy recipes and ask
friends for fat reducing tips. Increase your consumption of
antioxidant-rich vegetables, legumes, and whole grains by frequently
cooking a big pot of healthy vegetable soup. Get a vegetable
steamer and put it to good use. Put your fresh fruits and veggies
out where you can see them. Cut up raw, nutrient filled foods such
as carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, and celery and snack on them
during the day or take them to work with you.
Make it a high priority to drink at least eight
glasses of water a day in order to provide your body with a clean
internal environment and prevent dehydration. This is especially
important during the hot summer months. Donít wait until you are
thirsty to drink water because thirst is your bodyís way of letting
you know that you are already starting to dehydrate. Be aware that
caffeine and alcohol can also have a dehydrating effect on your body
FOUR: Pair strength training with
cardiovascular exercise. Combining weight training with aerobic
exercise doubles the chances that you will lose bodyfat and gain
more lean muscle mass this summer. Try to really concentrate and
focus on using correct form while strength training with weights.
Itís much more important to use proper, safe form than it is to try
to lift as much weight as possible. If your goal is to add more
muscle mass, use heavier weight and fewer repetitions (around 8
reps). To increase definition of the muscles, use lighter weight
and higher reps (10-12). Also, keep in mind that at least 20 minutes
of uninterrupted cardiovascular exercise is necessary to begin
burning fat as your primary source of fuel.
FIVE: Go for it! Push your exercise
and athletic boundaries further by signing up for an event or race
that you have never participated in before. Last summer, around my
41st birthday, I competed in my first triathlon as part
of a team and found that it was much more fun and less intimidating
that I had imagined. So what if you donít finish first or if your
time is slow? Setting a new goal for yourself gives you something
specific to work toward and leaves you with a lasting sense of
accomplishment. You might be surprised by just how much you can
achieve when you set your mind to it.
This is your summer to feel healthier, happier,
and stronger. Go for it!
---- Author: Dr. Suzanne Osborne