How important is exercise in the general health picture? Some experts suggest that if you had to choose between eating healthy foods and exercising regularly you would be better off choosing to exercise. So, don’t let the fitness edge you gained while training for Bloomsday slip away. Get out there and enjoy exercise and good health.
Here are some tips to help you continue with an ongoing exercise program:
Work on making exercise a habit. Plan on exercising at the same time of the day and on specific days of the week. Exercise with a friend or group of people. Do whatever it takes to establish a routine.
Spokane’s weather is not always suitable for outdoor workouts so consider investing in some type of indoor fitness equipment. The cost of treadmills, rowing machines, stair climbers and ski machines has declined significantly. There are also a number of new machines to check out such as the cardio-glide or cardiofit which strengthens the back and provides a good aerobic workout.
To stay healthy remember to stretch before your workout and cool down afterward. The idea behind warming up before stretching is to increase the temperature of the body and specific muscles before trying to stretch the area. Tissues become more pliable when they are warmer.
Cross-training activities can add variety to an exercise program and can be equated with walking or running to determine an equal amount of fitness benefit. Walking one mile in 20 minutes burns about 100 calories. If you walk faster - let’s say a mile in 15 minutes - you still burn about 100 calories. Running a mile in five minutes will also use up 100 calories. (But you had to work out for only five minutes.)
Fitness experts have equated the work intensity of other activities with walking or running. Biking is about one-third as difficult as running so three miles of biking is an equivalent workout to walking or running one mile. Swimming has a four-to-one ratio so swimming one mile is equal to running four miles. In-line skating is about twice as easy as running so you can skate two miles to every mile run.
If you would rather gain the benefits of exercise while performing a functional activity, try mowing the lawn with an old-fashioned mower. Push mowers are making a comeback. These mowers are safe and your workout (depending on the thickness of the lawn, wind, terrain, etc.) could be in the 400 to 700 calorie level per hour.
Give yourself exercise credits for raking leaves, planting and weeding. To prevent injury, use long-handled rakes, hoes and digging tools. Don’t stay in one position too long. Get down and kneel on one knee or both, squat or use a low stool. Remember, bending forward at the waist is not good for your back.