Fitness is one of the best ways to fuel your body, mind and spirit. Fitness trainer Bob Greene shares a summer fitness plan almost anyone can follow for a healthier mind, body and spirit.
By Bob Greene
1. Start with Walking
Walking is a great cardiovascular exercise that is easy on your body. You can do it anywhere, any time, no matter who you are.
Bob recommends that you think of your daily walking as a positive activity, something you can do to honor yourself.
Go for time (20-30 minutes), not distance. Bob suggests working up to 45 minutes as an intermediate and even 60 minutes for advanced level walkers.
Posture is important — chin up, shoulders back, swinging arms at a 90-degree angle.
You should workout at a level 7 on a scale of 1–10. A level of 7 feels like you can still talk but you don't want to have a long conversation.
Make sure to warm up and cool down along with stretching.
2. Drink Water
If you don't do so already, drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily. Bob suggests increasing it that amount to ten glasses of water during the summer months. Increasing your consumption of water is an important step to getting fit. Bob says many times we reach for food when our body really requires more water. Water also has a "filling" effect, making us less prone too overeating.
3. Don't Radically Change Your Diet All At Once
Bob suggests not changing your eating habits too much because you want to keep your metabolism high. Drastically decreasing the calories you eat slows the metabolism, causing you to lose energy and motivation.
Allow your body to increase your metabolism and adjust to your new cardiovascular exercise for one to two months. It's very important to exercise aerobically, then gradually change your eating habits. Some good choices would be to eliminate late night eating, eat breakfast, and reduce portion sizes if needed. This will have a much greater impact and not cause your metabolism to shut down.
Remember in the first month or two, you are revving up your metabolism and drastic weight loss will not occur. Your body is rehydrating during this time, hiding any fat loss. You'll reap larger benefits in the end by slowly making diet and fitness changes.
Classic diets generally make us feel as though we are depriving ourselves, something we can not do for very long. And remember, once you've started exercising and feeling better, you naturally begin eating better as well.
Find a partner to walk with, to encourage you to stick with your plan. If your partner lives in another town, check in with each other via e-mail on what you did that day.