Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Exercise has become an integral part of your lifestyle. No denying it. The feeling you get after your workout is so fantastic, you’ll want to plan it into your routine. No excuses! It is the only way to permanent weight management and all-round better health.

If you need encouragement, get professionals and services available to help you. Consult a dietitian who will motivate you to make changes in your lifestyle habits that suit you and that you’ll enjoy. A gym will have staff who will introduce you to and demonstrate various exercise equipment. If you feel unmotivated exercising on your own, join an exercise class; classes provide a social atmosphere in which to work out. When I’m feeling uninspired, I ask for new exercise ideas to motivate me. The people and services are there to encourage and support you when you’re feeling weak-willed; take full advantage of the opportunities right there in front of you, and get moving.


You’ve just finished your workout session and are feeling very thirsty. Should you drink fruit juices, specially advertised “sports” drinks or water and how much? What are the important things to consider about fluid intake and exercise?

First, lets discuss fluid needs when you exercise. We know water is essential for life. Indeed, the human body will survive for a few days only without water. When you exercise, the body needs even more fluids to replace what’s lost through sweat and to help to carry glucose (a source of energy for the body) to those exercising muscles.

You should always drink plenty of fluids every day to keep the body hydrated. Have a minimum of six glasses of fluids (not necessarily water) per day. If you are exercising in hot, humid weather, be extra careful that you replace the fluid you lose. People who participate in prolonged physical activity, especially in hot weather, can lose up to four to six cups of water per hour. If you tend to sweat a lot, try to consume about three to four glasses of fluids before the activity. Avoid alcohol, which has a slight diuretic action, and increases the number of trips to the washroom! They also don’t work as efficiently as other fluids in hydrating the body. Rumor has it that beer is a good choice because it contains carbohydrates and potassium; if your goal is to get these nutrients into your body, drink diluted orange juice – it contains much more of both. Usually, with moderate exercise, there is no need to replace electrolytes (sodium and potassium chloride) lost through sweating. Water is still the best beverage. Drink as much in winter as in summer, before, during and after your workout.

So what about fluid intake during your exercise session? Drink small amounts on a regular basis. Aim for ½ cup every fifteen to thirty minutes. You may not feel really thirsty during exercise, but it important to replace those fluids. Drink cool fluids which are better absorbed. Cold fluids rarely cause cramping.

If you are participating in endurance exercise longer than sixty to ninety minutes, distance running, for example, or if you are exercising in hot, humid conditions, you may also need to replace some electrolytes after you finish the activity. Sweat contains mostly water but also contains these electrolytes. Replacing the water loss is still the most important thing to consider. Diluted fruit juices (one part juice, one part water), like orange juice or a sports drink, can help replace the electrolyte losses. After heavy exercise sessions, alternate drinking water and diluted juices. A rule of thumb is to weigh yourself before and after exercise. For every two pounds of weight lost, drink two cups of fluids. You may also crave salt after a long, strenuous activity such as a day-long hike in the summer, in which case include half a cup of salted crackers or pretzels in your post-activity snack.


Snacking is an excellent way to nourish the body, if you make the right choices. There is no specific food that should be eaten before and after you exercise, and the choices are very individual; what works for one person may not work for you. The following guidelines, though, may help point you in the right direction.

Snack on high starch, low-fat foods two hours before you workout – for example, one bagel, two slices of bread and jam or eight wheat crackers with one ounce low-fat cheese. Some other healthy snacks are two fruits, one cup vegetables, two small packets of raisins, two rice cakes with 1/4 cup cottage cheese, or a fruit with 6 oz. yogurt. These are good energy sources and won’t leave you with the feeling of lassitude that you may get after eating a high-fat food. These snacks are also easy to pack in your sportsbag.

Before an exercise session, avoid sweets, soft drinks and lots of fruit juices. Consuming sugary foods before exercise may leave you feeling light-headed during your workout. Moreover, the initial “sugar boost” may disappear quickly and leave you feeling tired! Always try to give yourself enough time to digest the food you eat before exercising. If you eat a large meal prior to exercise, you may experience cramping or indigestion.

For the athlete, everyday eating should follow the basic principles of healthy eating. Enjoy a variety of foods with whole grains, cereals, breads, vegetables and fruit. Your eating routine doesn’t have to be boring! Try a different kind of rice or grain. Choose lower fat foods more often, foods that include low-fat dairy products and leaner cuts of meat. Cutting down on added fats like margarine and oil is also recommended.


I make a point of eating two hours before my workout - something substantial like a sandwich with peanut butter, or banana and yogurt. By the time I’m finished working out I’m ravenous again. After all, it’s four hours later. I find that I have to pack food in my bag to eat after a workout or else I’m so starved that I’ll buy a muffin on the way home. I did it a few times and regretted it afterwards. So now I pack an apple or half a sandwich. If I’ve done a 1 ½ hour yoga class and then a 1 hour aerobics class I’m so famished that I will take a few bites of my snack before I shower. I loathe the hungry feeling.


This topic may be interesting to those of you who participate in endurance-type activities. Carbo-loading involves consuming a very high carbohydrate diet several days prior to an endurance activity like running a marathon, long-distance cycling or competing in a triathlon, to fuel those muscles.

If your endurance event will last longer than ninety minutes, eat a carbohydrate-rich diet two to three days prior to allow the muscles to supersaturate themselves with carbohydrates. Carbohydrates get converted to glucose, part of which is stored as glycogen. Glyogen is the chief carbohydrate storage material in animals. It is formed – and largely stored – in the liver and, to a lesser extent, in muscles.

The body has a somewhat limited ability to store carbohydrates as glycogen. As an endurance athlete your goal should always be to maintain a high carbohydrate intake to meet your maximum training potential. Prior to the event, you should also reduce your exercise regime and allow your muscles to rest. This is not the time to increase your fat intake, so avoid increasing your use of margarine, oils and salad dressings.


Decide on the activity you want to spend most of your time doing, then find an expert on footwear to help you choose proper-fitting shoes. There are different shoes recommended for walking, running, tennis or aerobics. Usually sports-equipment stores have trained staff to assist you with your footwear choice. If the shoes aren’t right for you or the exercise you plan to undertake, you will be adding stress to your hips, knees, ankles and feet. Certainly, don’t wear your old, worn-out tennis shoes during your exercise sessions. Replace them before they wear out. If you engage in many different sports, buy cross-trainers for all-round use.


Exercise equipment at home is convenient, you can use it in the evening after work, and in bad weather when you don’t want to hazard that trip to the gym.

But since such equipment is often too expensive, not many people own it. Moreover, many who do seldom use it as it requires considerable discipline to use it five times a week. I have to ask my clients to dust off their exercise machines and report back each week the amount of time they’re spending using it. At long last they’re getting their money’s worth. The following tips may make purchasing exercise equipment easier:

• Before buying equipment, always try it out, to make sure it is comfortable, easy to use and suits your body.
• Go to a reputable sporting-goods store, as you will need a warranty or return policy.
• Exercise equipment at home is convenient, you can use it in the evening and in bad weather.
• Weights you can do at home. Be sure to download instructions on how to use them.
• The most popular machine among my clients is the stationary bike. You can watch television, read or listen to music at the same time as you sue this piece of equipment. Stationary bikes with backrests put less strain on the back, neck and shoulders. Test-ride first. If you buy a cheap bike, the seat may be uncomfortable and the bike may be wobbly, which may discourage you and make you give up your exercise program.
• The treadmill is a very expensive machine and takes up quite a bit of room. Be wary of the cheaper version, which may rock or wobble when you use it, discouraging you again.
• Cross-country-ski machines provide the best all-round workout but mustn’t be flimsy and uncomfortable - inexpensive models tend to be. It does take a little practice to coordinate your movements.
• Rowing machines should feel solid and shouldn’t wobble. Don’t buy one if you have a back problem. If you are heavy, some flimsy machines can collapse.


“Flatten your stomach and lose ten pounds with this abdominal strengthener.” This is one of many television commercials which show a man and a woman with flat, muscular stomachs. How ridiculous. Here are two misconceptions. First, we know we can’t spot- reduce and second, we know we can’t lose weight with activity alone. Clients have confessed to me that they’re embarrassed to have ordered one of these gadgets.

Buying from a television commercial, even with a return policy, is a concern. You don’t know the quality of the product. And what if it doesn’t suit your frame? Will you really pack it up and send it back? And what if the company isn’t in business anymore? You will have wasted your money, and with this disappointment your activity goals are in danger of being sabotaged.


The cheapest way to work out is to walk gently for five minutes, followed by stretching exercises for five minutes, go for a brisk walk or jog for twenty minutes and stretch again for five minutes. You now have your thirty-five-minute workout planned to fit into your budget.


Put together a Daily Personal Activity Diary. What activities do you intend to start today? Why don’t you go for a twenty-minute walk some time today. It doesn’t take much out of your day and it’s a good start.

You’re in bed and reading late at night? Get up, stand up straight and stretch your body. Swing your arms from side to side. Lower your head gently to each shoulder three times. Take three deep breaths.

Look at your calendar. What activity do you want to do tomorrow? What time suits you? For how long can you be active? Perhaps you intend to return to the gym that you’ve been “donating” to each month. (Donating is exactly what you’re doing if you’re giving your money to a club without receiving any services.) Perhaps you have a stationary bike in the basement. Perhaps you have a pool nearby. Write down your activity now and make sure you do it tomorrow.

After any kind of physical activity you’ll find that your stress level has been reduced. You can handle everyday situations more easily. You’ll be more relaxed and worry less. You’ll feel so great afterwards, that you’ll be eager to plan your next active day.

If you feel you are too busy to exercise, take heed of what one of my clients said. “I was always interested in physical activity - but now I’m committed to work out daily and actually look forward to it. I was surprised (and pleasantly) to discover that my hectic career schedule did not have to be altered in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”


Exercise will enhance your quality of life, make you feel good and healthy and make you look good. Don’t take on an activity you loathe because “it’s good for you” - you’ll never continue with it. If you want to try a new activity, seriously give it a month, four times a week. If you don’t get hooked, and you are finding it an effort to continue, try another activity. It takes three weeks to develop a habit, but you have to make a good effort or you’ll never succeed at having a fun, active routine.


I plan for seven days, usually make five days.

Mondays: Stationary bike - 30 minutes; Weights - 15 minutes; Machines - 30 minutes; Stretching and abdominals - 15 minutes
Tuesdays: Jog - 30 minutes; Stretching and abdominals - 15 minutes
Wednesdays: Low-impact aerobics class (includes weights) - 60 minutes; Yoga - 90 minutes
Thursdays: Stationary bike - 30 minutes; Stretching and abdominals - 15 minutes
Fridays: Stationary bike - 30 minutes; Weights - 15 minutes; Machines - 30 minutes; Stretching and abdominals - 15 minutes
Saturdays: Aquafit or low-impact aerobics class (includes weights) - 60 minutes
Sundays: Stretch or yoga class - 90 minutes; Stationary bike - 30 minutes; Machines - 30 minutes; Stretching and abdominals - 15 minutes


There are three steps to remember before exercising. First: warm up; second: do a cardiovascular activity; third: cool down. For the warming-up period, walk or use a machine at a slow pace for five minutes, stretch for five minutes to prevents muscle tears, then exercise for twenty minutes. The cool-down period consists of stretching and is necessary to avoid muscle soreness and cramps. Look at the following examples:



Always warm up first with five minutes of slow activity like walking. Then stretch for five to ten minutes. Ask an expert to show you various stretches.

Stretching should be gradual and relaxed - don’t bounce. Breathe deeply when stretching, don’t hold your breath. Don’t push yourself to excess, you may injure yourself. Stop if there’s any pain. After exercise, stretch again to prevent muscles from tightening up. Stretching should feel good.

Studies in the Journal of Behavioral Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry showed that stretching could help tense people reduce anxiety and muscle tension, as well as lower blood pressure and breathing rate.


“I feel wonderful” said one of my clients, just after one of her yoga sessions. “After a busy day, all I want to do is lie down and take it easy. However, within five minutes of starting the yoga class, I know why I’m there. My energy level is restored and I’m focused on being totally relaxed and feeling wonderful.”

Try yoga once. The class is so peaceful that you have to slow down and just think of moving your body. Yoga has many advantages, one of which is that it enhances your flexibility.


Strength training is beneficial for both men and women. This type of training includes using free weights, weight machines, doing push-ups and sit-ups, and any cardiovascular activity such as walking, jogging and using the stairclimber, treadmill and stationary bike. As mentioned before, strength training is recommended particularly for women, who are at higher risk for osteoporosis. Moreover, it makes you feel good, and that’s enough reason to start.


Many women decry weight training as they do not want a “hard” look. Use lighter weights and do the routine more often and ask for help at your gym. You need an expert to ascertain what suits you, someone who doesn’t make you strain too much and who will give you the confidence to work on your own.

For the keen athlete, weight-training routines help to develop particular muscle groups such as upper-body for tennis, and leg muscles for swimming. You learn to love it. You need to weight train two to three times per week. Start with lighter weights and gradually increase until you can lift a certain weight twelve times in two sessions comfortably. Stop at this weight until it becomes too easy.


To maximize the benefits of using muscle-strengthening machines, ask an instructor at the gym to plan a routine for you - this is called circuit training. Write down your seat position, arm setting and weight number in a notebook when you first use the machines so you can check that your apparatus is set at the height, reach and weight for you. You can follow this routine until you find it easy. Then slowly increase your weights or repetitions. You’ll feel energized after each workout.


When my clients start their exercise regime, they feel great but are disappointed by their weight gain. This is only temporary, I assure them. Muscle is denser than fat, so if you gain muscle and lose fat you’ll look thinner but weigh more. The most weight you’ll gain is two to three pounds and then no more. Then your weight will decrease if you follow your healthy meal plan. As stated earlier, exercise alone won’t make you lose weight.


Cardiovascular endurance, also known as aerobic activity, is the most important element of fitness. It includes cycling, walking, jogging, rope jumping, rowing, aerobic dancing, or cross-country skiing. Cardiovascular activity which benefits the body as it helps control blood pressure, raises HDL (good) cholesterol, controls weight, improves circulation, tones muscles, relieves stress and improves sleep. In addition, research shows improved self-esteem, lessened anxiety and relief of depression. The time spent should be twenty minutes, three to five times per week.


You’ll find many treadmills at the gym. Start off slowly, work up your speed and your incline gradually. Slow down if you get out of breath. Watch television, read or listen to music while doing this exercise or you’ll soon become bored.


I remember the first time I rode on a stationary bike. After five minutes, I could hardly breathe. I looked at the others on the bikes. I couldn’t believe it, they seemed to be going on forever. Now I can go for an hour.

As with the treadmill, the stationary bike can be boring unless you have an interesting television program to watch, music to listen to or something good to read. This is my favorite time to read the daily newspaper; I would spend this amount of time catching up on the news anyway, so why not on a bike? If you have time to read the newspaper, you have time to bike.

It may suit you to restrict yourself to reading a really exciting novel only when on the bike. So you look forward to a good half hour story four to five times a week. You’ll find that if you’re at an exciting place in your book and you can’t put it down, you’ll carry on for an hour rather than stop reading. This may be your only time to read novels.


Start slowly - some people take it to extremes. Get instructions from a staff member at your gym so that you stand correctly and work the machine properly. Don’t lean on the rails as that will reduce your energy expenditure. If you have knee problems, this machine can aggravate them. If this is the case, change to a different activity like swimming or the stationary bike.


The rowing machine gives you a fuller workout than running as it tones muscles in arms, legs, abdomen, shoulders and back. Be careful if you have a back problem; the legs, not the back, must power the rowing motion.


If you like to swim, make sure you do different strokes and many lengths to enjoy the benefits if a proper workout. Afterwards, do stretches in the pool. Many pools have diagrams of stretching exercises for you to follow. Water is refreshing, stress-relieving and not hard on your joints. Enjoy it.


We should dance more often - it’s fun, sociable and keeps us moving. One client teaches ballroom dancing, so she cannot miss the classes. Many of my younger clients spend hours on the dance floor, moving, having fun. It’s as invigorating as a workout. With their feelings high, limiting the intake of chips, nachos and beer isn’t difficult.

If you’re looking for something different, try line dancing – classes for adults and seniors are available at many sports clubs and community centers.


These games are faster than tennis and give you a better aerobics workout. Use eye protectors and appropriate footwear. Find a regular partner! This seems to be the main problem with racquet sports. You can never find a partner when you want to play, and when you do, they often cancel. People who play squash and racquetball love it, so make a plan and organize a game now. Having a partner who depends on you will motivate you to play.



Rent videos or DVDs to try them out. If they suit you, buy them. Some are aerobic, step or dance videos. Country line-dancing is fun and requires concentration, thereby relieving you of the worries you may have at that time. You can also try stretching or yoga videos. Alternate your tapes to prevent boredom. Remember to start slowly. Don’t try to keep up with the instructors. Ease into it. If you force yourself to keep up with exercise videos, you may hurt yourself. Fortunately, most instructors warn you to start gradually.


This is an enjoyable class if you don’t suffer from knee pain afterwards. I recommend it for anyone who wants to have fun, a vigorous workout and has strong knees. In the beginning, remember not to worry that you’re turning in the wrong direction, just keep on at it until you’ve mastered it. You’ll find that the enthusiasm from the teacher and class is contagious. This class includes warming up, aerobic activity, weights, abdominals and cooling down.


When one of my clients mentioned to me that she was attending aquafit classes, I thought she was avoiding a good workout. So I decided to try it myself. It was really invigorating. You are doing in the water what you would do in an aerobics class, plus you have the added resistance of water while doing the exercises. You start with a warm-up and stretching, then you jog in the water and do various aerobic steps, then you cool down and stretch. Jogging in water is fun and as good as jogging out of the water. I found the exercises quite difficult at first, but managed to work up a good sweat. What a great way to be active without back or knee strain. The advantage to this activity is that you use nearly all the major muscle groups, and stress is taken off the bones and joints.


You are a cross trainer if you work out at numerous activities. Moreover, alternating activities causes less stress to specific muscle groups. If you hurt your back, you can still swim. If you hurt your knee, you can cycle at a lower speed. Cross-training is particularly easy when you work out at a gym, which provides you with a range of equipment and classes.



This is the simplest, safest and least expensive exercise to do. Walking is also a weight-bearing exercise recommended to lower the risk for osteoporosis. Gradually increase your speed until you’re walking 3 ½ to four miles per hour. Many of my clients are parking twenty minutes from their office, wearing comfortable shoes, and walking briskly in the morning and late afternoon.

You can walk anytime, anywhere, weekends, alone or with friends. Map out where you want to go and include a hill so that you perspire slightly.


Speed-walking or race-walking burns as many calories per hour as running, but with much less risk of injury. When you walk, concentrate on relaxing your shoulders, bending your elbows and driving your arms front and back to quicken your pace. Place your feet nearly one in front of the other and focus on fast steps. It’s like walking on a tightrope quickly until you achieve a rolling gait. Pull your stomach in while you walk. Have an expert from your gym to show you this technique. As with any aerobic activity, you need to warm up and stretch before and after your walk. All this concentration will get your mind off all the things-to-do at the home or at the office.

My daughter gets embarrassed when I speed-walk. You may experience the same reaction. Speed-walk alone on side streets - it does look funny.


This is an excellent aerobic sport and good for weight reduction. I have a bunch of clients who jog together early in the morning. It takes a certain breed to get up at 5 a.m. to go for a jog. Alternate jogging and speed-walking so that you don’t strain your back or knees. If you’re too ambitious and push yourself when you’re in pain, you’ll regret it. Warm up by walking slowly for five minutes, then stretch, then start running for a few minutes at a time, gradually increasing your time until you can run steadily for half an hour. Running more than twenty miles per week increases your chance of injury, as running places harsh stresses on the legs and feet. Don’t run on hard surfaces and downhill. With any pain, slow down or stop. Don’t forget to stretch afterwards.


“I’m not really active. I play golf three times a week,” says Angela, a retiree. Golfing may not make you perspire, but it is an activity that’s enjoyable, relaxing, gets you outdoors and walking. It’s better than watching golf on television. Unfortunately, the type of foods available at the golf course are not always the healthiest. Sometimes, the time between meals is prolonged and by the time you are ready to eat, you’re so ravenous you can’t make healthy food choices and gobble down what’s available at the golf course. Plan ahead. Decide on a good meal before your game, and a healthy snack afterwards. Pack a sandwich and eat half, or waste it, but at least be prepared.


This is a fun aerobic activity but please be careful! I’ve seen bad stitches on the chin, scratched arms and dangerous-looking beginners on the streets. Find a safe place to practice this activity. There are venues especially reserved for this sport and remember to always wear protective gear like a helmet, and knee and elbow pads.


My clients love these social sports. They organize teams together on the weekends and make it a social event. One warning: I have clients who come to me to lose weight after they’ve had knee operations due to overdoing basketball in their youth. If you have knee problems, stop this game now. Always be careful with the type of exercises you choose.


This is a wonderful workout if you’re playing a singles game - a doubles game is half the workout. Have regular games organized so that you don’t have excuses to back out. People feel that this is not a heavy, sweaty workout. If your alternative would be munching in front of “soaps,” you’ll realize that you are being active. The nice thing about tennis is that friends can meet for a healthy lunch after the game. You’ll find that people who are active together like the opportunity to make better food choices. You can share meals, compare dishes and ask the chef to prepare food the way your group likes it.



Every year there’s a remarkable increase in the popularity of ice skating as skating stars becoming celebrities. Take the young members of your family ice skating and be active together. Skating is much more fun if everyone does it and the family can spend quality time doing a playful sport. It is an excellent aerobic sport that increases flexibility and uses more muscle groups than running. Make sure your skates are good - you may be wobbly with cheap skates - experiment with rental skates before buying your own pair.


Some of my clients insist that downhill skiing is not difficult and does not require much effort. Yet it does give you some cardiovascular conditioning and exercises most muscle groups of the upper and lower body. It also promotes coordination, agility and good balance. The main thing is that you’re out there, having fun, moving - and that counts. You don’t have to do something that works up a sweat every day! You will feel very invigorated after a day of skiing in fresh-fallen snow.


Cross-country skiing is considered one of the best aerobic workouts. It emphasizes muscles in both the upper and lower body and helps develop coordination. It is less expensive than downhill skiing and there is lower risk of serious injury. It is suitable for single people or families and there’s no age barrier. Pack water, food and an extra sweater for rest stops if you’re planning to be out all day.


Cleaning the house is relaxing and most satisfying. While writing this book, I needed a break every fifty minutes. So I would wash dishes, do the handwashing, iron and take out the garbage. All of these duties gave me the opportunity to stretch, as well as a break from the computer and the attendant back and eye strain.


Gardening has become a very popular activity. Make it one of your calorie-burning activities. Walk for five minutes, stretch for five minutes, then get out there in the fresh air and plant, dig, bend (using the thighs, not the back) and mow the lawn. If you do this actively, four times a week, it can be your workout routine.


While shoveling snow isn’t a winter sport, you can regard it as a good workout as it expends more energy than most sports. An indication of this is that you sweat a lot when doing this winter activity. But make sure you don’t hurt your back by being too ambitious.

Decide what is the most important activity goal you want to achieve. Write it down. When planning your Daily Steps To My Active Goal, make it fit into your daily routine.

Here is an example:
MY GOAL - To be active three times a week for one hour each
Plan: Mondays and Wednesdays; 5:30 - 6 PM, walk. Saturdays; 2 - 4 PM, baseball.
Increased energy
Investigate closest sports clubs
Mondays and Wednesdays; 5:30 - 6 PM, walk. Saturdays; 2 - 4 PM, baseball
Better shape
Join sports club
Mondays and Wednesdays; 5:30 - 6:30 PM, treadmill and weights. Saturdays; 2 - 4 PM, baseball. Sundays; walk for 1 hour
Feeling fitter, body feels good
Saturdays 11 AM - 12:30 PM, yoga class. Mondays and Wednesdays; 5:30 - 6:30 PM, treadmill and weights. Saturdays; 2 - 4 PM, baseball. Sundays; walk for 1 hour
Relaxed, fit, body feels good, muscle definition