To Your Health
June, 2008 (Vol. 02, Issue 06)
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Find Time for Fitness

By Chelsea Cooper

Summer is right around the corner, so if you're trying to shed anywhere from 10 to 20 pounds, read on. When establishing a summer fitness goal, some important things to keep in mind are: How much cardio and resistance training should I do? What eating and sleeping habits should I establish? And how should I manage my time? All of these things are important when trying to lose weight effectively and safely.

But before I go into too much detail, let's talk about a very important word that will make all the difference - attitude! Check your attitude and ask yourself if this is a good time to start your program. Examine your goals and make sure they're realistic and attainable. Most people who succeed at their weight-loss program have a "moment" in which they decide they want or need to change for themselves. The first thing you need to look at is your current exercise program (if any) and eating habits.

Cardiovascular training if you're trying to lose 10 pounds or less.

Let's talk about your cardiovascular activity, better known as "cardio." The daily recommended amount of cardio is at least 30 minutes every day. I recommend that four of those seven days you are doing 35-40 minutes at your target heart rate. (To calculate your THR, subtract your age from 220 and then multiply by 80.) Your cardio can be anything from running on a treadmill to biking, rollerblading or a jog around the block, just to name a few. Just keep your heart rate in the target zone and challenge yourself. Just remember to do something every day.

image - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark I know many women shy away from resistance training, but resistance training is probably one of the most effective ways to see results quicker, and it helps prevent osteoporosis and day-to-day injury. Resistance training increases your metabolism, which slows down as we age. Resistance training should be done two to three times a week. If you have no idea where to start, I suggest you inquire at a local gym or ask a fitness professional about some basic exercises. I also have a series of easy-to-follow exercises (ball squats, lunges, biceps curls, shoulder presses, calf raises and core training; reps and sets included) you can refer to for assistance (see below). Don't let not having a gym membership discourage you. You can do squats, abdominal crunches and push-ups anywhere. But I can't emphasize enough the importance of getting assistance from your doctor or a certified fitness professional if you're not familiar with resistance training.