New Castle News

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April 4, 2013

Lori Brothers: Let LEGS, three F’s guide exercise

NEW CASTLE — With spring’s arrival often comes the re-commitment to getting more exercise.

So the question can arise, “How do I design an exercise program that’s right for me?”

Great question, and if you haven’t been very active all winter, beginning with moderate exercise can be even more beneficial than jumping full-steam-ahead. Research says moderate exercise is key for jump-starting your metabolism and burning calories.

Start with the three F’s: Fun, Fast and Flexible

Fun, of course, because if you enjoy it, you are more likely to be consistent. Choose a walking partner or group. Find a route you enjoy.

Fast finds quick ways to get more movement into your daily habits such as taking the stairs or parking further from the grocery store to get in extra steps within the course of your day. It’s quick, and good toward the goal.

Flexible is more about attitude than whether you are able to stretch like Gumby. The more you are able to accept some inconsistency and not beat yourself up, the more you can remain self-motivated to show up tomorrow — or next week if need be. So flexible is the attitude of not giving up, even if you miss a day, or a week.

Use “LEGS” in your routine: Low-impact, Easy, Gradual, Simple

Low-impact movements are less stressful on your joints. Avoid repetitive movement that demands a lot from your body. Less jumping, jogging, and running. More walking, swimming or rowing.

Easy approaches the topic of “too much demand” which could result in not showing up. When learning to establish new patterns and a consistent routine, it is much better to keep complicated workout routines out of it.

Gradual growth builds stamina and safety, and is more effective than moving forward full steam ahead only to let yourself down due to strain or injury. When you start slowly, you can warm-up and cool-down which is a much better self-care practice.

Simple means honest, without lofty goals or a temptation to compete with yourself, or someone else. If you show up daily to do a little bit of something for yourself, you get satisfaction and results to build confidence and pride. A simple yes to doing a little bit of something every day is better than a whole lot of nothing.

The last piece of beginning a successful exercise routine is to make it yours. With ownership comes the control to decide how much, when, and in what way you will be meeting your goals. “No excuses” can become your new motto to impact the quality of your life by owning what good for you.

To get motivated, Dr. Dean Ornish has a “use it and lose it” approach. “Just walking 20 to 60 minutes a day, and not even very fast, is often enough,” says Ornish. This is referred to as “moderate exercise” and has been proven clinically to have physiological and psychological health benefits.

The research shows moderate exercise improves your resting metabolism and how fast you burn calories, in many cases, even better than intense exercise, which may actually slow your metabolism because your body may give a signal that you need to conserve energy, resulting in less calories burned.

Living with your body in motion helps you lose weight, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, strengthen bones and maintain great patterns for good health on your terms.

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