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fruit • Yogurt • Fruit smoothies • Whole-grain bagel or crackers with peanut butter • Granola bars A healthy snack is especially important if you plan a workout several hours after a meal. • Large meals. Eat these at least three to four hours before exercising. • Small meals. Eat these two to three hours before exercising. • Small snacks. Eat these an hour before exercising. Eating too much before you exercise can leave you feeling sluggish, or worse, with a case of diarrhea or stomach cramps. Eating too little may not give you the energy to keep you feeling strong throughout your workout. Good post-workout food choices include: • Yogurt and fruit • Peanut butter or meat sandwich • String cheese and crackers • Nuts and dried fruit • A regular meal with meat, starch, and cooked vegetable or salad. Drink Up: To stay well hydrated for exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you: • Drink roughly 2 to 3 cups (0.5 to 0.7 liters) of water during the two to three hours before your workout. • Drink about 1/2 to 1 cup (0.12 to 0.23 liters) of water every 15 to 20 minutes during your workout. You may need more the larger your body is or the warmer the weather is. • Drink roughly 2 to 3 cups (0.5 to 0.7 liters) of water after your workout for every pound (0.5 kilogram) of weight you lose during the workout. Water is generally the best way to replace lost fluids. But if you're exercising for more than 60 minutes, use a sports drink. Sports drinks can help maintain your body's electrolyte balance and give you a bit more energy because they contain carbohydrates. Let experience be your guide: When it comes to eating and exercise, everyone is different. So pay attention to how you feel during your workout and your overall performance. Let your experience guide you on which pre- and post-exercise eating habits work best for you. Consider keeping a journal to monitor how your body reacts to meals and snacks so that you can tweak your diet for optimal performance.
As you become more fit. such as push-ups and lunges. snow shoveling and vacuuming. water aerobics — even leaf raking. is the cornerstone of most fitness training programs. you'll want to add strength training exercises. Aerobic exercise causes you to breathe faster and more deeply. Try walking. biking. swimming. the more efficiently your heart.GET WALKING WITH THIS 12-WEEK WALKING SCHEDULE Are you looking to ease into getting in shape? This 12-week walking schedule from the National Heart. and end with a five-minute. slower paced walk to cool down. to your routine to meet the physical activity level recommended for healthy adults: • At least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity — or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity — a week • Strength training exercises at least twice a week Week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Warm-up 5 minutes 5 minutes 5 minutes 5 minutes 5 minutes 5 minutes 5 minutes 5 minutes 5 minutes 5 minutes 5 minutes 5 minutes Brisk walking 5 minutes 7 minutes 9 minutes 11 minutes 13 minutes 15 minutes 18 minutes 20 minutes 23 minutes 26 minutes 28 minutes 30 minutes Cooldown 5 minutes 5 minutes 5 minutes 5 minutes 5 minutes 5 minutes 5 minutes 5 minutes 5 minutes 5 minutes 5 minutes 5 minutes ELEMENTS OF A WELL-ROUNDED ROUTINE Aerobic fitness Aerobic exercise. slower paced walk to warm up. The better your aerobic fitness. also known as cardio or endurance activity. Aerobic exercise includes any physical activity that uses large muscle groups and increases your heart rate. Lung. jogging. Aim for at least two hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or one hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity — . lungs and blood vessels transport oxygen throughout your body — and the easier it is to complete routine physical tasks and rise to unexpected challenges. and Blood Institute can start you on the path to better fitness and health. such as running to your car in the pouring rain. Always start with a five-minute. (This can be on slow schedule for me due to rheumatoid arthritis) Try to walk at least five times each week. dancing. which maximizes the amount of oxygen in your blood. talk with your doctor if you've been sedentary for a long time or you have serious health issues. Before starting this walking plan.
Some types of physical activity. Regular stretching can even help relieve stress. Try standing on one leg for increasing periods of time to improve your overall stability. Flexibility and stretching Flexibility is an important part of physical fitness. It can also help you maintain muscle mass during a weight-loss program. Strength training Muscular fitness is another key component of a fitness training program. Resistance bands are another inexpensive option. too. balance training. and thereby can allow people to more easily do activities that require greater flexibility. aerobic fitness. So what counts as a core exercise? Any exercise that uses the trunk of your body without support. Most fitness centers offer various resistance machines. free weights and other tools for strength training. you'll stretch whenever you exercise. require more flexibility than others. strength training and core exercises. Stretching exercises are effective in increasing flexibility. If you don't exercise regularly. Stretching also improves the range of motion of your joints and promotes better posture. stretching and flexibility activities are an appropriate part of a physical activity program. Before you stretch. Balance training Older adults in particular should include in their routine exercises to maintain or improve balance. Try push-ups. which can lead to falls and fractures. abdominal crunches and leg squats. and stretching and . including abdominal crunches. warm up by walking or doing a favorite exercise at low intensity for five to 10 minutes. Activities such as yoga promote flexibility. Your own body weight counts. lower back and pelvis — known as your core muscles — help protect your back and connect upper and lower body movements. too. Hand-held weights or homemade weights — such as plastic soft drink bottles filled with water or sand — may work just as well. Better yet. too.preferably spread throughout the week. You can also try various core exercises with a fitness ball. you might want to stretch at least three times a week after warming up to maintain flexibility. This is important because balance tends to deteriorate with age. stretch after you exercise — when your muscles are warm and receptive to stretching. such as dancing. For this reason. But you don't need to invest in a gym membership or expensive equipment to reap the benefits of strength training. Cover all the bases Whether you create your own fitness training program or enlist the help of a personal trainer. Core strength is a key element of a well-rounded fitness training program. Ideally. Strength training at least twice a week can help you increase bone strength and muscular fitness. Core exercises help train your muscles to brace the spine and enable you to use your upper and lower body muscles more effectively. Core exercises The muscles in your abdomen. Activities such as tai chi can promote balance.
such as vacuuming and yardwork. The squat to bicep curl uses weights and mimics the action of lifting a laundry basket. but the research is uncertain. As you slowly return to the starting position. Warming up gradually revs up your cardiovascular system. WHAT ARE EXAMPLES OF FUNCTIONAL FITNESS EXERCISES? Functional fitness exercises use multiple joints and muscles at once to train your whole body. To do a lunge. knees and ankles until your knees reach a 90-degree angle. Done correctly. consider adding them to your workout schedule. Holding the dumbbells at your side. Warming up may help prepare your body for aerobic activity. you start with your feet about shoulder-width apart. especially if you've had an intense workout. Warm-ups and cool-downs generally involve doing your activity at a slower pace and reduced intensity. spine straight and your core stable. increases blood flow to your muscles and raises your body temperature. Jumping into an aerobic workout without preparing your body could lead to such problems as muscle strain or injury. Cooling down may help reduce muscle injury. stiffness and soreness. To do a squat to biceps curl. How to warm up . warming up and cooling down may offer help in reducing your risk of injury and improving your athletic performance. back or side — until your knee reaches a 90-degree angle and your rear knee is parallel to the floor. flex your arms and curl the dumbbells in toward your shoulders. so if you have the time. AEROBIC EXERCISE: HOW TO WARM UP AND COOL DOWN Why warm up and cool down There's some controversy about whether warming up and cooling down offer health benefits.flexibility should be part of your overall exercise plan. But proper warm-ups and cool-downs pose little risk. slowly bend through the hips. It isn't necessary to fit each of these elements into every fitness session. turn your palms toward the ceiling. Examples include: • Multidirectional lunges • Squat to bicep curl • Step-ups with weights Multidirectional lunges prepare your body for common activities. Cooling down after your workout may help gradually reduce the temperature of your muscles. laptop bag or young child from the floor. but factoring them into your regular routine can help you promote fitness for life. you keep one leg in place and step out with the other leg — to the front.
Don't stretch to the point of pain.Warm up right before you plan to start your workout. do slow. walk slowly for five to 10 minutes. Don't bounce. swim slowly at first and then pick up the tempo as you're able to. get creative. soccer-specific running drills. • To warm up for a run. • To warm up for strength training. Stretching may also help improve your performance in some activities or decrease your risk of injury by allowing your joints to move through their full range of motion. In general. but before you start with weights. spin on your bicycle at higher revolutions per minute (around 100) as you finish your exercise. if necessary. • To cool down after biking. swim some leisure laps for five to 10 minutes. be kind and give your body time to adjust to the demands of your workout. STRECHING Use these tips to keep stretching safe: . walk briskly for five to 10 minutes. • To warm up for swimming. walk briskly for five to 10 minutes. For others. And remember to keep it gentle. You generally continue your workout session. If you walk to a fitness facility. A word about stretching Consider adding stretching to your cool-down session. For them. • To cool down after swimming. warm up by focusing first on large muscle groups. Sudden or aggressive stretching motions may actually cause an injury or worsen and injury. cooling down may simply become an enjoyable ritual as part of an overall exercise program. A warm-up may cause mild sweating. Cooling down may be most important to the best athletes. But if you're tempted to skip warming up and cooling down. Be kind to your body Finding time for regular aerobic workouts — plus warming up and cooling down — can be challenging. but at a slower pace and reduced intensity. • To warm up for soccer. • To cool down after a run. use the trip there and back to warm up and cool down. cooling down is important because it helps regulate blood flow. such as well-conditioned marathoners. How to cool down Cooling down is similar to warming up. Here are some examples of warm-up activities • To warm up for a brisk walk. walk slowly for five to 10 minutes. Remember. Here are some examples of cool-down activities • To cool down after a brisk walk. move your muscles and joints through the movement patterns you'll do during the exercise. Stretching can increase blood flow to your muscles. varying your strokes. such as your hamstrings. If you have a tight or previously injured muscle. Then you can do exercises more specific to your sport or activity. but it shouldn't leave you fatigued. stretch the affected muscle after you warm up. Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds.
And make sure that you stretch both sides. if you stretch your left hamstring. making you less flexible and more prone to pain. If you have a chronic condition or an injury. be sure to stretch your right hamstring. at least two to three times a week. • Focus on major muscle groups. For example. • Don't aim for pain. then hold the stretch. . neck and shoulders. Also. • Keep up with your stretching. for instance. Or better yet. not pain. you risk losing any benefits that stretching offered. you're more vulnerable to hamstring strains. thighs. stretching it may cause further harm. consider holding off on stretching before an intense activity. warm up with light walking.\ • Make stretches sport specific. The gentle movements of tai chi. don't think that because you stretch you can't get injured. Also. Some research suggests that pre-event stretching before these types of events may actually decrease performance. if you already have a strained muscle. • Don't bounce. hold each stretch for about 30 seconds. such as sprinting or track and field activities. If you play soccer.• Don't consider stretching a warm-up. you've pushed too far. Know when to exercise caution In some cases. Back off to the point where you don't feel any pain. But you can achieve the best benefits by stretching regularly. Also stretch muscles and joints that you routinely use at work or play. do the move slowly and at low intensity at first to get your muscles used to it. for instance. hips. and you stop stretching. Some evidence suggests that it's helpful to do stretches tailored for your sport or activity. lower back. jogging or biking at low intensity for five to 10 minutes. When you're stretching. • Bring movement into your stretching. Expect to feel tension while you're stretching. focus on your calves. which tightens the muscle even further. Repeat each stretch three or four times. won't prevent an overuse injury. may be a good way to stretch. such as a front kick in martial arts. So. if stretching helped you increase your range of motion. If it hurts. your range of motion may decrease again. for instance. And if you're going to perform a specific activity. Bouncing as you stretch can cause small tears in the muscle. So before stretching. you may need to adjust your stretching techniques. You may hurt yourself if you stretch cold muscles. For instance. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about the best way to stretch if you have any health concerns. Then speed up gradually as your muscles become accustomed to the motion. Gentle movement can help you be more flexible in specific movements. stretch after you exercise when your muscles are warmed up. So opt for stretches that help your hamstrings. too. you may need to approach stretching with caution. Stretching. For instance. If you don't stretch regularly. Stretching can be time-consuming. These tears leave scar tissue as the muscle heals.
lower back. however. start slowly. GETTING STARTED WITH STRENGTH TRAINING Getting started When you have your doctor's OK to begin a strength training program. Raise your hips off the floor until your hips are aligned with your knees and shoulders. But to have a truly well-rounded fitness program. Tighten your abdominal muscles. most sports and other physical activities depend on stable core muscles. . Core exercises improve your balance and stability Core exercises train the muscles in your pelvis. Strong core muscles make it easier to do most physical activities Strong core muscles make it easier to do everything from swinging a golf club to getting a glass from the top shelf or bending down to tie your shoes. When you're using the proper weight or amount of resistance. To give your muscles time to recover. Weak core muscles leave you susceptible to poor posture. sharp pain and sore or swollen joints are signs that you've overdone it. Read on to find out why. rest one full day between exercising each specific muscle group. Remember to stop if you feel pain. In fact. you should be just barely able to finish the motion. it pays to get your core muscles — the muscles around your trunk and pelvis — in better shape. lower back pain and muscle injuries. On the 12th repetition. such as brisk walking. Warm up with five to 10 minutes of stretching or gentle aerobic activity. hips and abdomen to work in harmony. not arched and not pressed into the floor. gradually increase the weight or resistance. Then choose a weight or resistance level heavy enough to tire your muscles after about 12 repetitions. Avoid tilting your hips. you should include core exercises in the mix as well. Core exercises can help you reach your fitness goals Aerobic exercise and muscular fitness are the primary elements of most fitness programs.CORE EXERCISES: WHY YOU SHOULD STRENGTHEN YOUR CORE MUSCLES Core exercises are an important part of a well-rounded fitness program. core exercises are often neglected. you can build and tone muscle just as efficiently with a single set of 12 repetitions as you can with more sets of the same exercise. Although mild muscle soreness is normal. Core exercises don't require specialized equipment or a gym membership Lie on your back with your knees bent. Keep your back in a neutral position. Still. Aside from occasional sit-ups and push-ups. whether on the playing field or in daily activities. When you can easily do more than 15 repetitions of a certain exercise. Hold the position for as long as you can without breaking your form. This leads to better balance and stability.
the better your results — and the less likely you are to hurt yourself. the more you concentrate on proper weight training technique. Cold muscles are more prone to injury than are warm muscles. Taking it slow helps you isolate the muscles you want to work and keeps you from relying on momentum to lift the weight. Try it again in a few days or try it with less weight. on Monday work your arms and shoulders. Instead. • Don't overdo. Holding your breath can lead to dangerous increases in blood pressure. Move the weight in an unhurried. For most people. Weight training don'ts • Don't skip the warm-up. Learn to do each exercise correctly. Shoes with good traction can keep you from slipping while you're lifting weights. • Don't forget your shoes. • Use proper form. Avoid exercising the same muscles two days in a row. ask a personal trainer or other fitness specialist for help. • Seek balance. Work all of your major muscles — abdominals. Before you lift weights. the more you'll get from your weight training program. gradually increase the amount of weight. Additional sets may only eat up your time and contribute to overload injury. back. chest. Remember that proper form matters even when you pick up and replace your weights on the weight racks. Strengthen the opposing muscles in a balanced way. Remember. or plan daily sessions for specific muscle groups. The better your form. shoulders and arms. For most people. decrease the weight or the number of repetitions. You might work all of your major muscle groups at a single session two or three times a week. controlled fashion. You might be tempted to hold your breath while you're lifting weights. If an exercise causes pain. As you get stronger. legs. completing one set of exercises to the point of fatigue is typically enough. and so on. • Don't ignore pain. • Breathe. breathe out as you lift the weight and breathe in as you lower the weight. Start with a weight you can lift comfortably 12 to 15 times. on Tuesday work your legs. a single set of 12 repetitions with the proper weight can build strength just as efficiently as can three sets of the same exercise. • Rest. If you're unable to maintain good form. stop. such as the front of the shoulder and the back of the shoulder.WEIGHT TRAINING DO'S AND DON'TS Weight training do's • Lift an appropriate amount of weight. Don't. . For example. warm up with five to 10 minutes of brisk walking or other aerobic activity. • Don't rush. If you're not sure whether you're doing a particular exercise correctly.
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