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Thick Today Is Fat Tomorrow
As we twentysomethings get further along in our twenties, we may start to notice ourselves gaining weight. It sucks, because at one time you could eat whatever you wanted and now it's like someone shut off your metabolism. But did you know that by not exercising to lose those extra pounds you are actually setting yourself up for heart disease, colon cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis? I just learned that these are all lifestyle diseases and can be eliminated even prevented by exercising and maintaining a healthy diet. Who knew?
To be quite honest, I am not one for exercising, in fact I hate it, but after speaking with Bette Vargas, personal trainer/lifestyles consultant and owner of http://www.fitnesscentralinc.net, I think I've changed my mind. Read on to find out why I hope you will change your mind too.
Because women are meant for childbearing we tend to gain weight in our hips and buttocks. But as we get older that fat rises to our abdominal area. Yuck. For men, it just goes directly to their abdominal area, no detours. With all that weight hanging around your heart you are increasing your chances of getting heart disease. And since osteoporosis starts in our twenties, for women and men, if you are not doing any exercise you may find yourself to be a grouchy old person with a humpback in a couple of years. I don't want that for you.
There are numerous benefits to exercising such as: better quality of life; longer life span; more energy; feeling good knowing that you are doing something that you set your mind to; and most importantly, you will build up your self-esteem and self-confidence.
If you want to get the full benefits of exercising you'll need to combine both cardiovascular and weight training in your fitness program. I know that most women stay away from weights because they think they will get all big and bulky, but Vargas stressed that this is a huge misconception. "Women don't have enough testosterone to do that. In fact, weight training will give you that hourglass figure and helps you keep it," states Vargas. "Muscles take up less space in the body and when you build muscle you will be able to burn calories just by sitting down." Vargas suggests you do aerobic activity to burn fat and lower your heart rate, and do weight training to build muscles and strengthen your bones. But don't slack off on stretching before and after working out, it will give you flexibility and elongate your muscles.
And just so you know, the first place you gained it is the last place you'll lose it. So, it's best that when you see the pounds creeping on, you begin an exercise program.
How to begin
"Slowly," advises Vargas. "One way to start an exercise program is to make the commitment for you and nobody else." So why not do something you like to do and will be able to do consistently? It can be as simple as going for a walk on your lunch break. Ask a co-worker to go with you. But if you happen to walk by yourself, leave the cassette and CD player behind. I know you want something to help pass the time but it will prevent you from being aware of your surroundings.
Just find a time to exercise and do it consistently. Scheduling your workout after the workday when you know full and well you have other obligations is not a good idea. Put it in your planner. "There are 24 hours in a day. You don't deserve one?" asks Vargas. What a guilt trip.
When deciding how much and when you should exercise, Vargas suggests you begin working out 3-5 days a week for 30 minutes. If you start off slow, you will more than likely stick to your exercise schedule than if you began working out six days a week right off the bat. And if you happen to be overweight, start doing 15 minutes of exercise if you can't do 30 minutes and add 5 to 10 minutes every time you exercise.
If you don't have the money to join a gym, go to your local Parks and Recreation Center. The membership fee there will be drastically cheaper then any commercial fitness center. Just because you happen to be paying more doesn't necessarily mean you are getting better service. You are just paying for the ambiance.
What to wear when exercising
When you are exercising in warm climate, it is always best not to wear a sweat suit. That doesn't mean that you need to come out wearing a midriff and some poom poom shorts either. That rule is for both men and women. For footwear, don't get leather sneakers. They are useless because they don't let your feet breathe. You also need to choose a sneaker that has a wide toe box. A toe box prevents your toes from rubbing together. But when in doubt, go to a sneaker specialty store and ask the staff for help.
Now that you have been armed with the knowledge, go out there and start exercising! But always make sure to consult with your doctor before you begin any exercise program.
ChaChanna Simpson is the publisher and editor of Twentity.com, the free ezine for twentysomethings, featuring cheap and free events every Wednesday. Subscribe today at http://www.twentity.com
Tai Chi, NOT Chai Tea!
Those of you that have either completed a one-on-one program, purchased an on-line program or have read anything else that I have written in the past have most likely determined by now and realize it is quite evident... I am a huge supporter and advocate of integrated and phase-based training as optimized methods of health and fitness technologies/systemologies. And it wasn't until I started researching Tai Chi as an alternative form of exercise (I have been exercising for three-and-a-half decades consistently) did I understand how such a slow-velocity activity can help decrease blood pressure, reduce stress, help develop a greater degree of coordination and diminish the number of falls experienced by the elderly. The affects of resistance and aerobic type activities and their impact on health is unequivocal. Resistance training improves strength and the development of lean muscle mass, as well as an increase in bone-density and cardiovascular training improves the efficiently of the heart, lungs and circulatory function while decreasing mortality rates. However, over the past few decades, Eastern practices such as Tai Chi and Yoga have complimented mainstream fitness training programs by demonstrating comparable health benefits to traditional fitness training. A closer look at Tai Chi is warranted and yes this is coming from a fitness coach who intrinsically knows and has meticulously practiced and has been the recipient of the absolute benefits of weight bearing exercise for over 30 years.
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What the Philosophy of Tai Chi Can Do For You
Taoist PhilosophyTo understand the purpose of the form it is important to understand its basis and roots.The origins of Tai Chi go back over 5,000 years and are based in Taoist philosophy developed and refined by the great Taoist thinkers such as, Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu.The core concept of Taoism and Taoist philosophy is that everything in the universe is subject to change and when dealing with this change we should act not to fight it but work with it and avoid conflict.The core Of Taoism is that action should always be effortless and come from spontaneous creativity, but this should not require mental or physical effort.According to Taoist philosophy change is constant but, by understanding change and acting in accordance with the laws that govern it, we can work effortlessly to achieve our aims.Taoism is about working within the laws of change, not struggling to oppose them, this is seen as futile and a waste of energy.In Tai Chi this manifests itself in that a posture will always be difficult and a struggle, unless there is union of mind and body, to make the move an effortless interaction.Yin and YangAnother concept in Chinese philosophy related to change is yin and yang.These two opposing, yet complimentary forces are constantly at work in the universe and in our lives.Yin and yang are the basis of change but they also come together in harmony to create a balanced whole.The simplest example of this is breathing. We breathe in and we breathe out - an opposing action that comes together to create balance and harmony. Change and harmony, is the basis of yin and yang and of Tai Chi.The principles of yin and yang are reflected in the form the sequence of movements that make up the Tai Chi discipline.The form is actually a sequence of movements that flow continuously representing both change and harmony. A movement begins, grows completes and empties then another begins until the sequence is completed.The Tai Chi PhilosophyThe aim of the Tai Chi form is to create streams of energy to flow through the body.In the philosophy of Tai Chi, it is said Chi (life energy) follows the mind; each posture and movement creates a different energy flow, which, has a beneficial overall affect on overall well-being.Tai Chi stimulates circulation, aligns the skeleton and joints correctly, stimulates the organs of the body and helps digestion.It increases muscle tone, strength, improves balance and co ordination and improves breathing.Tai Chi does not just provide physical benefits; by raising energy levels, it also affects the mind and the spirit.Tai Chi focuses thought, so that mind and body energy works together as one.Tai Chi reflects both Taoism in terms of effortless interaction and yin and yang in terms of reconciling two opposing forces, to create harmony and equilibrium. This combination is the very essence of the Tai Chi philosophy.
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