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Build a Better You

Build a Better You


The World Health Organization estimates that fewer than 30% of American adults engage in some form of physical exercise on a daily basis, whereas nearly 60% of American youth manage to find the time for physical exertion at a level sufficient enough to constitute the constructive physical activity helpful to prolonged good health. You do not have to exercise every day to achieve goals for good health. Initially, aim for every other day. Walking or running for 15 minutes, if you are able, is a terrific start. The average length of time spent by people who consider themselves to be in good shape is about 20 minutes three times a week. Keep the Benefits in Mind Exercising greatly enhances a person's self-esteem and mental outlook while reducing stress. Self-esteem is a critical component of any program aimed at self-improvement. It offers hope to correcting these problems. A close relationship has been documented between low self-esteem and such problems as violence, alcoholism, drug abuse, eating disorders, school dropouts, teenage pregnancy, suicide, and low academic achievement. It is never too late to start a workout program as a way to best build toward the goal of improved self-image. Exercise helps when people feel down in the dumps. It is also very effective against major depressive disorders. If, however, you take medication for depression and you are interested in finding out whether exercise would benefit you, talk with your doctor. Never stop taking prescription medicine without talking to your doctor first. In the Beginning Be certain to warm up before you begin a workout and to cool down when you are finished. Additionally, done properly, stretching can prevent injuries such as strains, sprains, and shin splints while increasing blood circulation and the range of motion in the joints. Hold stretches. Bouncing is not beneficial and can be harmful. Overstretching can cause injury, so if you are stretching to the point where you feel pain, stop. The neck, shoulders, trunk, hips, leg, and groin muscles all benefit from stretching. Sudden overzealousness can lead to harmful excess. Do not overdo it. A little bit of tightness is expected, but pain is another story altogether. If you begin to feel pain in your joints or muscles, give yourself days of rest until the pain goes away. If the pain continues or if your legs or feet become cool or pale, see your doctor. Pay attention to your body's response to heat. After 15 minutes of working out in hot weather, your body temperature can rise as much as five degrees. Sweating has a cooling effect on your body, and sufficient fluid is needed to produce enough sweat. Drink water before and after you work out as well as every 15 to 20 minutes during your exercise routine. If your body cannot get rid of heat effectively, the consequences can be as simple as an uncomfortable workout or as serious as fatal heat stroke. An even cool-down decline period is also important after the workout is finished. If during this time you experience shortness of breath, dizziness, cold or clammy skin, nausea, or chest pains, stop right away and call your doctor. Where is the best place to work out? Many cannot afford the rising price of gyms or home fitness equipment. That is OK. In the home, simple chairs and the floor are excellent starting apparatus for use by the beginner. Getting Into the Rhythm Whichever course you choose, maintain that physical pace for at least 30 minutes. Eventually, you should want to work out at least 30 minutes each day, but work up to that gradually. Moderate activity that gets your heart pumping a little harder and causes you to break a sweat is what you want to strive for. Strength training is also a good idea. How well one performs during periods of exercise depends upon their oxygen intake. Remember that oxygen is the key to life. The only way physical recuperation can be achieved is after oxygen has reached the bloodstream. This is why it is paramount to breathe properly. Always breathe through the nose and not through the mouth. Oxygen absorbed through the nose reaches the bloodstream faster than that breathed through the mouth. Of all the times to keep your mouth shut, this is it. This revised breathing pattern greatly reduces one's recovery time'as well as the likelihood of a heart attack caused from a lack of oxygen in the blood. Pulmonary rehabilitation can help you reach your physical potential. It can also help you avoid heart attacks and keep you out of the hospital. If you have had a heart attack or other heart problems, chances are that you would benefit from regular exercise, and you can probably safely start an exercise program right in your own home. Some Helpful Hints Are you thinking, 'I don't need a formal exercise program, I walk from desk to desk at least three miles at my job every day'? Shuffling around the office hardly substitutes for a prolonged, minute-after-minute, calorie-burning program that extended exercise offers. Office types can walk for the rest of their indoor lives and never accumulate the time necessary to burn calories and unmanageable fat buildup. Have you ever said, 'I get bored of doing exercises'besides, there never seems to be enough time'? Pry a crowbar into your schedule and wedge the time in. You can always find time to save your own life. Here are three shortcut exercise suggestions: (1) Park your car farther away from your destination than you normally do to give yourself extra walking time. (2) If possible, take just 15 minutes before or after you eat lunch to go for a quick walk. (3) Exercising with a group puts peer pressure on everyone in the group not to quit. At work, walk the halls briskly or go up and down the stairs to get your blood pumping a little faster. Even when the weather is bad, you can always go to your nearest mall and walk briskly. Add some fun to your routine: Try dancing or dance classes. It is a great way to socialize and exercise at the same time. According to the Women's Sports Foundation, 'Women who exercise report being happier than those who do not exercise.' Women who exercise miss fewer days of work. Regular exercise can reduce high levels of fat in the blood. Remember that eventually, though, exercise needs to feel a little bit like work. Challenge yourself to perform your activity more quickly than usual, or double the amount of time you usually devote to exercise. Or, add weight training to your routine. Success Is Its Own Reward Once the new you is exercising, you'll soon realize that exercise makes you feel better. It is not your imagination. Make exercise a habit. As we all know, habits are hard to break'bad ones and good ones. Tell yourself that for the next few months you are going to exercise on specific days, week after week. After three months, you won't want to break this habit. Fresh has been a physical trainer and nutrition consultant since 1990 and a freelance journalist since 1999. He says, 'I have dedicated my life to helping people find true value in themselves'regardless of their perceived shortcomings. What is important is that all of us find significance in our lives and do all we can to reach that desired'level of inner and outer fulfillment.' He is based in Little Falls, N.J.Extra! Extra! You Should Know... Do you find yourself stressing out if you do not occasionally'or ever'get around to exercising? Stop! Physicians indicate that if you are worrying too much about exercise, you are losing the benefits that you actually get when you do exercise. Stress increases heart rate, blood pressure, and levels of adrenaline and cortisol, which can result in raising your blood sugar. Instead, cut yourself some slack; you do not have to hit the gym to get exercise. Take a brisk walk, ride your bike, or play a fun game of ball with friends.

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