Do anywhere Plyometric workout

Ever had one of those days where you seemingly blink and the day is half-gone? You make plans, and find that other obligations get in the way? Sometimes I admit, it’s hard to make time for the gym… but that doesn’t mean you can’t fit in a exercise at home! You can literally do this workout just about anywhere.. home, dorm room, park, track…

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Depending on your current fitness level, you may need to make some adjustments. If you are a beginner, cut the number of reps in half and complete the circuit 3 times. For those at a higher fitness level, consider cutting rest time down to a minute and completing the circuit 5 times (or more if you can!)

Remember to warm up and use proper form to avoid injury! If you don’t know how to do any of these exercises, check out bodybuilding.com’s exercise database. You could also use Youtubeto find a variety of “how-to” videos. (Though I cannot vouch for the accuracy of their demonstrations).

Be safe, have fun.. happy training!

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Time Crunch Home Workout

As you all know by now, I am a huge advocate of weight training. Having tried so many other forms of exercise including pilates, yoga, kickboxing, step classes, (the list goes on)… the only thing that changed my body dramatically in the shortest amount of time was picking up challenging weights. Not that I am knocking the aforementioned forms of exercise! Anything that gets people up and moving is great in my opinion. =)

Realistically though, it can be difficult to get to the gym sometimes… Extreme weather, kids at home with no babysitter, a full-time job and full-time schoolwork. Sometimes we just can’t get to a gym. In those situations, don’t let that be an excuse not to get a workout in. A one-hour workout is only 4% of your day! If you don’t readily have time, make it! Even fitness models and competitors with all of those roadblocks I mentioned before still make time for eating well and working out (and no, they do not all have trainers, personal chefs or full-time nannies)! We all have the same 24 hours in a day to get done what needs to be done. Make your health and fitness a priority, not an option! You owe it to yourself and your family to be healthy and strong!

If you can’t make it to the gym, give this home-workout a try! Pin to Pinterest to share with friends! =)

Time crunch workout

If you do not know how to do a particular exercise, refer to this website for explanations and examples: (http://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/)

SHAVED BRUSSELS SPROUTS AND POMEGRANATE SALAD WITH LEMON BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE

 

brussels-sprouts-pomegranate-salad(h1).jpgWe love Brussels sprouts in our household and apparently so do many of the readers of this little food blog since my Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic-Maple Vinaigrette gets crazy popular this time of the year!

My other recipe using Brussels sprouts and butternut squash is proving to be a hit this season as well. It’s probably because Brussels sprouts are in season; they’re abundant near the end of September thru to February.

Tip #1: Does size matter? (aka how do you choose Brussels sprouts?)

Well, it depends. For all Brussels sprouts, it is best to pick the ones that are bright green, compact in appearance, and firm when you squeeze them. My preference is to pick the smaller sprouts since they tend to be sweeter and more flavourful while the larger ones are more cabbage-y and bitter in flavour.

Tip #2: How do you shave (thinly slice) Brussels sprouts? I’ve got three ways to prepare these little green vegetables.

For all methods, it’s important to rinse the veggies, cut off the dry stem of each sprout and remove the bruised, loose leaves before slicing them up.

  • Hardest: Use a sharp knife. This one requires the most amount of care and time. Slice each Brussels sprouts in half before finely slicing up the sprouts. Using a knife may not create the fine texture that can be created using the other methods.
  • Medium: Use a mandoline. Using a mandoline creates a nice uniform cut and is faster than a knife (unless you’ve got the skills!). Watch out for your fingers though as the blades on the mandoline are sharp.
  • Easiest: Use a food processor. This is what I used. It’s by far the fastest and easiest method. Plus your fingers are safe. Using the slice attachment, simply whiz the Brussels sprouts through the machine and you’ve got shaved/shredded Brussels sprouts in a couple minutes.

What else is in this salad?

Delicious, seasonal pomegranate arils (seeds) and sliced Gala apples. Not only does it add a nice fresh, sweetness to the salad, but a lovely red colour that contrasts with the green of the sprouts for those holiday colours! In addition, it adds a nice crunch to the salad as well.

Speaking of crunchiness, there are sliced almonds, which also adds a nice nutty flavour. Slivered almonds would be great in this salad too or other nuts such as pine nuts or toasted pumpkin seeds would be wonderful. A finely diced shallot gives the salad a nice onion/garlic flavour that’s mild and sweet, but with a little bite.

Since I put cheese in everything that I can, this salad uses a creamy, soft goat cheese. I like to crumble the soft cheese into the salad and mix it well with the other ingredients as the mild saltiness and flavour of the goat cheese goes well with everything in the salad.

Finally, a basic lemon-balsamic dressing is used to give the salad a bright citrus flavour that compliments the other ingredients.

SHAVED BRUSSELS SPROUTS AND POMEGRANATE SALAD WITH LEMON BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE

Active Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Servings: 6-8 as a side dish

Calories per Serving: 317

INGREDIENTS

For the salad:

  • 1 lb (6 cups) Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, bruised outer leaves removed, and thinly sliced (*see first Note)
  • 2 apples (2 ½ cups), thinly sliced
  • 1½ cup pomegranate arils
  • 5 oz. soft goat cheese, crumbled
  • ¾ cup sliced almonds
  • 1 (⅓ cup) shallot, finely diced

For the vinaigrette:

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients until well combined. Taste and adjust the dressing to your preference. Set aside.
  2. In the large bowl, assemble the salad by combining all the salad ingredients together. Drizzle the desired amount of vinaigrette on top and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

NOTES

  • I used a food processor with slicing disc to quickly slice the brussels sprouts. You can also use a mandoline or a sharp knife to make shaved Brussels sprouts, but it will take a little longer.
  • I used Gala apples in this recipe. Substitute with any apple of your choice if you like.
  • If you are planning to have leftovers, keep the salad separate from the vinaigrette and cover both in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Re-whisk the vinaigrette and drizzle just before serving.
  • Store remaining dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
  • Nutritional calories represent one serving with eight servings total.
  • Nutritional values are estimated based on the ingredients used by the author; your ingredients may differ

Recipe Credit Yay for Food!

Southwest Chicken Detox Soup

 

southwest-chicken-detox-soup-15To make this Southwest Chicken Detox Soup, I used Old El Paso Green Chiles to give the broth a smoky undertone, then loaded it with:

  • Skinless chicken breasts for lean protein.
  • Cabbage, broccoli, avocado, garlic and turmeric… All detoxifying ingredients that help your body release toxins.
  • Ground cumin and crushed red pepper for additional southwest essence.

The combination of the Old El Paso green chiles and the spices, enhances the natural flavor of the chicken and veggies for a bold tantalizing flavor.

Plus, the release of toxins helps your body work more efficiently meaning: purging water retention, a metabolic boost, more energy, and better sleep.

You’ll be amazed at how good you feel after eating Southwest Chicken Detox Soup for several days.

To learn the specifics of the detox soup cleanse, visit our original recipe post. To learn more about Old El Paso ingredients that will make your healthy dishes exciting, visit OldElPaso.com.

Southwest Chicken Detox Soup Recipe – A fabulous healthy low-fat, low-carb, gluten-free soup, with tons of flavor! This cleansing soup packs a punch.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 – 4.5 ounce cans Old El Paso Chopped Green Chiles
  • 14.5 ounce can “fire roasted” crushed tomatoes
  • 3 quarts chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 1/2 cups sliced carrots
  • 4 cups chopped cabbage
  • 3 cups small broccoli florets
  • 2 avocados, peeled and diced
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Set a large sauce pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil, chopped onions, and garlic. Sauté  for 5-6 minutes to soften. Then add the chicken breasts, Old El Paso Chopped Green Chiles, crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, all spices, carrots, and 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt.
  2. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 20+ minutes, until the chicken breasts are cooked through. Then remove the chicken with tongs and set them on a cutting board to cool.
  3. Add the chopped cabbage and broccoli to the pot. Continue to simmer to soften the broccoli. Meanwhile, shred the chicken breasts with two forks, and stir it back into the soup. Once the broccoli is tender, taste, then salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm with a generous amount of diced avocado on top!

NOTE: If the soup base boils down too much, add 2-3 cups of water to the broth. Then taste for seasoning.

NUTRITION INFORMATION

Yield: 8-12 bowls, Serving Size: 12

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 187 Calories
  • Total Fat: 9.2g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.7g
  • Cholesterol: 27mg
  • Sodium: 1093mg
  • Carbohydrates: 13.9g
  • Fiber: 6g
  • Sugar: 4.9g
  • Protein: 13.6g

Recipe found at A Spicy Perspective

The Ten Tips You Need to Stick to Your Fitness New Year’s Resolutions!

I’m sure if you are reading this, one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to get fit and healthy. CONGRATULATIONS. That first step is huge!!! But the REAL hard work lies ahead…

In the past, have you ever made a “get healthy & fit” resolution, only to burn out a month or two in? Have you started out strong and inspired, and then lost motivation? It’s not at all uncommon! But I’m here to HELP you make THIS YEAR’S resolution STICK!!!

Part of the reason people burn out so fast is because they set themselves up for failure from the start. I know that sounds harsh, but hear me out... While it is absolutely wonderful and commendable that so many people resolve to exercise and eat healthier, they often times put too much pressure on themselves and try to change everything at once, without taking any time to adjust. They swiftly become exhausted from their new lifestyle and go back to their old ways. Believe it or not, simply making new DECISIONS is tiring in itself, let alone breaking out of your comfort zone to eat well and exercise!

 

Here are my TOP TIPS for sticking to that New Year’s Resolution YEAR ROUND!

  • Make it a LIFESTYLE change, not a diet. The moment you tell yourself you “can’t” have this or that, is the same moment you confine yourself to the drudgery of a “diet.” If that is something you can picture yourself doing for all eternity, then by all means go for it. But be honest with yourself. Will you be able to resist eating cake or pizza forever? Probably not. So rather than condemn yourself to tilapia and asparagus forever and always, make a change that you can maintain for the LONG TERM. Think about all the healthy, delicious foods you CAN have and the treats that you CAN have on occasion! Being healthy and fit is a MARATHON, not a sprint. Make it a lifestyle that you can maintain for the long term, otherwise you will gain all the weight back, PLUS MORE.
  • Transform at YOUR pace! Just because someone else is able to eat chicken and broccoli every day, or do two-a-days at the gym, doesn’t mean you have to do that too! If you don’t like chicken and broccoli, there are other options! If you don’t have time to go to the gym twice, go once! Don’t follow workout or nutrition routines that you hate… create something you enjoy so that it will LAST!
  • Set realistic goals for yourself. Things like drinking more water each day, cutting down your three sodas-a-day to one-a-day, including more vegetables at dinner, increasing the weight you lift on a particular exercise, or adding an extra ten minutes to your cardio are all attainable, healthy goals. Once you succeed at these, make new ones and continue to build and expand on the solid foundation you’ve laid.
  • Challenge yourself, but don’t overwhelm yourself! Just because the fitness models you see in the magazines can bench or squat a certain amount of weight, doesn’t mean you will be able to do that too. It took these people months and years of training to get to the point they’re at both with their strength, as well as their physique. Build up at your own pace!
  • Do a little research. One of the best ways to stick to a healthy eating plan or exercise schedule is to keep it interesting! There are SO MANY fantastic, resources for recipes and workouts! Try googling “Clean eating *fill in the blank favorite food*.” If you want a workout plan all laid out, I have both a weight-lifting Fit Body Program as well as a home-workout Bikini Body program available! Some people enjoy having a plan that is clearly laid out! Don’t be afraid to use your Google search engine to find motivating bloggers & nutritious chefs!
  • Be patient. It took more than a day to put it on and it’s going to take more than a day to take it off. Transforming your lifestyle and your physique will take time. The sooner you recognize and accept this, the better! You WILL have set-backs and losing weight/getting fit WILL take time. You will occasionally eat something unhealthy, you will miss a workout, you will stumble, you will make mistakes… you’re human! Nothing worth having ever comes easily… if it WERE that easy, everyone would be in shape! Know that you are only a failure if you QUIT. So don’t quit! You will regret it in the long run!
  • Develop a positive attitude.  Instead of beating yourself up over mistakes, try doing the opposite. For example, if you slip and eat a slice of cake, don’t tell yourself cruel things like “I’m a pig” or “I can’t do this.” Instead swap those negative affirmations out for positive mantras like: “I can do this,”or “I had a treat and now I’m getting back on track”… and MEAN IT!
  • Start exercising! The trick is to find something you enjoy so that you will actually DO IT. There are SO MANY options, some of which include: weight lifting, pilates, yoga, cross fit, kickboxing, mixed martial arts, powerlifting, olympic lifting, jogging, cycling, spin, zumba, interval training, jazzercise, jumping rope, dancing, running, hiking, mountain climbing, swimming… the list goes on!!
  • Surround yourself with people who support you. There is nothing worse than having negative and/or jealous people around when you are trying to make a healthy, positive change to your life. There WILL be people you THOUGHT were your friends try to drag you back to your old, unhealthy ways. They might tease, taunt or grill you about your new habits. Some people can’t handle change. If you find that your healthy habits are being mocked or demeaned by those around you … ask yourself why your ‘friends’ would want you to go back to being unhealthy. Do they not understand the sudden change? If so, explain to them why you’re doing it… Or, are those friends just jealous? If so, you may want to rethink having them in your life… If you’re going through something like this, check out my article: How to Deal with Negative People
  • Plan ahead! If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Prepare your meals and workouts in advance. Always keep workout clothes, a water bottle and protein powder with a shaker cup in your car so you never have an excuse not to hit the gym. Always carry an apple, a serving of almonds in a Ziploc baggy, and a packet of tuna with you.. that way you never have an excuse to hit the vending machines or burger joint!

You can do anything you set your mind to. Believe in yourself, don’t give up and you will get there ❤

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Honey Glazed Chicken Kabobs!

A simple marinade transforms ordinary boneless, skinless chicken into these splendid Honey Glazed Chicken Kabobs! Hello, barbecue season!!

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Marinating Chicken

Marinating chicken infuses flavor deep into the meat along with tenderizing. Beware, when marinating shrimp or chicken, as you can over-marinate, making your protein mushy. Six hours or even overnight should be fine for these kabobs. Feel free to shake up what you skewer in addition to the chicken. The hubby would prefer no pineapple, but I was happy to eat his share!

Honey Glazed Chicken Kabobs
Prep time
30 mins
Cook time
15 mins
Total time
45 mins
An easy, flavorful recipe for grilled chicken kabobs! Adapted from All-Recipes.
Author: Liz
Recipe type: Entree, Chicken
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1½ inch pieces cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1½ inch pieces cubes (about 2½ pounds)
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into 1½-inch pieces
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into 1½ inch pieces
  • 1 half pineapple, cored, peeled and cut into 1½-inch chunks

Instructions

  1. In a large liquid measuring cup, whisk together oil, honey, soy sauce, pepper, and garlic. Place the chicken into a gallon ziplock bag and add the marinade. Place in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours, flipping the bag at least once.
  2. When ready to grill, thread the marinated chicken, onions, peppers, and pineapple onto skewers (if using wooden skewers, soak in water for 30 minutes before using so they won’t burn).
  3. Grill until chicken is just cooked though. Serve hot.

Greek Tortellini Salad

Being a Greek soul sista I love playing with my favorite ingredients that are of course tomatoes, olives, feta! I make a pasta salad at least once a week at home and decided to twist it up with this recipe I found at Slow Roasted Italian.

I love mine loaded with crunchy veggies; peppers, red onion and cucumbers added to the tomatoes, Kalamata olives and loads of Feta cheese makes this a fabulous salad that I could eat every day!  But add the salad dressing and I am over the moon, red wine vinegar and olive oil combined with spices and a bit of sugar.

The tortellini add an unexpected element to this salad.  The pasta adds texture and flavor.  To be honest, I don’t think I will ever make Greek salad without tortellini pasta again.

Greek Tortellini Salad 
SERVES 8  |  ACTIVE TIME 15 Min  |  TOTAL TIME 15 Minutes

1 orange bell pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
½ red onion, thinly sliced
1 English cucumber, cut into spears and then quartered
16 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup sliced Kalamata olives, divided
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
½ (19 ounce) package tortellini

Greek Salad Dressing
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Bring a large pot of water Cook tortellini according to directions on the package (do not add salt to the water).  Drain and set aside once cooked.

Chop vegetables and set aside.  Mince 1 tablespoon Kalamata olives for the dressing, set aside.  Combine remaining salad ingredients in a large bowl.  Set aside.

In a pint size mason jar add salad dressing ingredients and minced olives.  Be sure to crush oregano with your fingers as you are adding it (to release the flavor). Shake mason jar until dressing is combined.  Pour dressing over salad and gently toss with salad tongs until well coated.

Serve and enjoy.

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Chocolate Mint Protein Shake

The company I am partnered with re-launched this flavor, due to its insane popularity! Did you miss out on the last seasonal run of chocolate mint shakes? Have no fear!

This is by far my FAVORITE shake of all time! I have already ran out of my first canister so glad I got several stocked up!

these shakes are a nutritious, balanced meal replacement clinically tested to promote effective, healthy weight loss and lean muscle building. It’s a low-glycemic shake with energy-fueling carbohydrates, good fats, vitamins and minerals, and 24 grams of high-quality protein.

  • Superior branched-chain amino acid profile
  • Active enzymes to help ease digestion
  • Essential trace minerals
  • Natural ingredients with no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners
  • No trans fat

To get your order in before they sell out, let me know! Last time they sold out in a matter of hours so don’t miss out on these delicious meals!
unnamedThey also have a variety of other amazing flavors if you happen to miss out!

Let me know if I can help you with accountability for your health and wellness goals.

 

 

Water, H2O, Agua

How much water should you be drinking?
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  • The Institute of Medicine advises that men consume roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day and women consume 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.
  • Why not make all your beverages water?
Are you getting enough water during the day?
  • Keep track of the amount of water you drink for one day
  • Write it down or use an app like MyFitnessPal
Why is water so amazing when you drink enough? (borrowed from Mangosteen Natural Remedies)
  1. Lose weight: Drinking water helps you lose weight because it flushes down the by-products of fat breakdown. Drinking water reduces hunger, it’s an effective appetite suppressant so you’ll eat less. Plus, water has zero calories.
  2. Natural Remedy for Headache: Helps to relieve headache and back pains due to dehydration. Although many reasons contribute to headache, dehydration is the common one.
  3. Look Younger with Healthier Skin: You’ll look younger when your skin is properly hydrated. Water helps to replenish skin tissues, moisturizes skin and increases skin elasticity.
  4. Better Productivity at Work: Your brain is mostly made up of water, thus drinking water helps you think better, be more alert and more concentrated.
  5. Better Exercise: Drinking water regulates your body temperature. That means you’ll feel more energetic when doing exercises. Water also helps to fuel your muscle.
  6. Helps in Digestion and Constipation: Drinking water raises your metabolism because it helps in digestion. Fiber and water goes hand in hand so that you can have your daily bowel movement.
  7. Less Cramps and Sprains: Proper hydration helps keep your joints and muscles lubricated, so you’ll less likely get cramps and sprains.
  8. Less Likely to Get Sick and Feel Healthy:Drinking plenty of water helps fight against flu and other ailments like kidney stones and heart attack. Water adds with lemon is used for ailments like respiratory disease, intestinal problems, rheumatism and arthritis etc. In another words one of the benefits of drinking water is that it can improve your immune system.
  9. Relieves Fatigue: Water is used by the body to help flush out toxins and waste products from the body. If your body lacks water, your heart, for instance, needs to work harder to pump out the oxygenated blood to all cells, so are the rest of the vital organs, your organs will be exhausted and so will you.
  10. Good Mood: Your body feels very good and that’s why you feel happy.
  11. Reduce the Risk of Cancer: Related to the digestive system, some studies show that drinking a healthy amount of water may reduce the risks of bladder cancer and colon cancer. Water dilutes the concentration of cancer-causing agents in the urine and shortens the time in which they are in contact with bladder lining.
Many people around the world would give to have the oppurtunity to drink fresh clean water everyday whenever they want.
Dont like water the spruce it up with lemon limes and cucumbers!

Make Your Walk a Workout
How to start (and stick to) a walking program, whether you’re new to exercise or already fit.
When I was in college we started a community walking program.As one of the simplest exercises, walking requires no equipment aside from a good, supportive pair of walking shoes. “Exercise doesn’t have to be hard to be effective,” says Julia Valentour, MS, exercise physiologist and program coordinator for the American Council on Exercise (ACE). “The recommended 30 minutes can be broken up into two, 15-minute sessions or even three, 10-minute sessions, making it easy to weave into a busy lifestyle.”
Weight loss isn’t the only benefit of a walking program. Regular walking helps lower cholesterol, reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, increases bone strength, and improves circulation.
“Just a few extra steps each day is a simple and easy way to take an active role in maintaining a significantly healthier life,” says Timothy Gardner, MD, past president of the American Heart Association.
Starting a Walking Program.
Check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program if you’ve been inactive for a while.
To start your walking program:
Establish a baseline, says Courtenay Schurman, MS, CSCS, author of The Outdoor Athlete. “If you’ve been sedentary, start walking three times a week at a stroll for 20 minutes.” Work your way up to five or so times a week, 30 minutes per session, for a total of 2.5 to 3 hours per week.
Choose distance or time. Some walkers focus on distance, others target time. “Ultimately, it’s about speed,” Schurman says. “If you can walk five miles but it takes you five hours to do it, it’s not a fit level of work. So use both distance and time, as well as heart rate.”
Check the intensity. Exercising at a particular heart rate percentage enables you to gauge the difficulty of your workout.
You can check your heart rate by manually checking your pulse or purchase a simple heart rate monitor. Keep in mind, however, that the traditional heart rate formula standards do not fit everyone. “Most recommendations suggest starting out at 70% to 75% of your maximum heart rate, but this may not be enough if you’re fit,” Schurman says.
Or use the “talk test” to gauge your exercise intensity. “If you can string together six to eight words or chat briefly, you’re in your aerobic zone,” Schurman says. But if you find yourself gasping for air, lower the intensity. If you can say several phrases with one breath, you may not be working out hard enough.
Here are simple ways to keep your walks interesting and help you stay motivated:
Wear a pedometer. Bit by bit, boost your daily steps. “Wear a pedometer for a week to see what days you have the most number of steps,” Valentour says. “Then try to repeat the activities of that day and add another 500 steps the following week.” Keep it up until you reach 10,000 steps a day.
Keep a walking journal. It serves as a motivator by allowing you to see your progress, Valentour says.
Get a walking partner. “A walking buddy provides accountability. Neither wants to let the other person down,” Valentour says.
Sign up for a race or charity walk. It gives you a goal to shoot for, which may motivate you to stick with a program.
Find support online. Programs such as the American Heart Association’s StartWalkingNow.org program have helped thousands of people to get started walking. Designed by the American Council on Exercise, the free online program includes a monthly newsletter with health tips and recipes, an online activity and nutrition tracker, access to an online journal, as well as the ability to connect with others for support and motivation. A search option also allows you to look for walking paths in your area.
“You simply go online, register, and take a quiz,” Valentour says. “You’ll receive a 12-16 week downloadable program.” Beginners start with five to 10 minutes; advanced exercisers start with more challenging options.
Tips to Make It More Challenging
If you’re already fit, walking may seem too easy. But it’s easy to kick up the intensity for a more challenging workout. Here’s how:
Speed up. “The easiest way to up the ante is to simply walk faster,” says Therese Iknoian, MS, author of Fitness Walking. You may even want to try race walking, which uses more muscles and, therefore, burns more calories. Brisk walking at four miles an hour burns 334 calories and strolling at three miles per hour burns 221 calories, acc
ording to the American College of Sports Medicine. “Remember to pump your arms but keep the movement compact,” Iknoian says. “The larger the arm swing, the harder it is to move them faster.”
Head for the hills. Walking up hills also increases intensity, as does lifting the incline on a treadmill. But don’t hon to the treadmill as you walk or you’ll negate the benefits, Iknoian says. “You don’t want to look as if you’re waterskiing.” Hanging on makes your body perpendicular to the treadmill, so ergonomically you’re walking on flat ground.
Change the surface. Consider changing your walking surface for a greater challenge. “Walking on trails and maneuvering around rocks increases muscular demand,” Iknoian says. Snow, sand — even grass — makes walking more of a challenge.
Use Nordic poles to get upper body muscles involved. “You increase the cardio workout when using poles, plus they take the stress off of knees when walking downhill,” Iknoian says.
Add resistance with a weighted backpack or weight vest. “If you use a backpack, fill it with water, sand, or kitty litter so the weight distributes evenly,” Schurman says. “Avoid ankle and hand weights, which can change your gait and can set you up for injury.”
8 Safety Tips for Walkers
Keep safety in mind when you walk outdoors. Follow these basic rules:
  • Walk with a buddy whenever possible.
  • Carry your name, address, and a friend or relative’s phone number in your shoe or tied to a lace.
  • Wear a medical bracelet if you have diabetes, an allergy, or other condition.
  • Carry a cell phone and let a friend or relative know your walking routes.
  • Avoid deserted or unlit streets, especially after dark.
  • Do not use headsets that prevent you from hearing traffic; and walk against oncoming traffic.
  • Wear reflective material and/or carry a flashlight to others can see you.
  • Carry a whistle or noisemaker or pepper spray in case of an emergency.
Above all, make walking fun and you’ll be more likely to stick with it.
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