If you huff and puff when you walk up the stairs or have a little too much jiggle in your wiggle, you can get fit with a combination of diet and exercise. Even though it can take weeks or months to reach your fitness goal and have a beach-ready bod, there are some health and fitness benefits you can enjoy more quickly. Get your heart pumping, work those muscles and skip the chips as you work toward getting fit.
Heart-pumping activity is essential to getting your body fit, inside and out. Get your sweat on and take a jog or brisk walk for 30 t0 60 minutes each day. Pump your arms and don't give a hoot about how the neighbors think you look. Lose flab for better fitness by burning 500 calories each day -- the equivalent of a one-hour jog. To increase your heart health, you should do heart-pumping exercises at least 150 minutes per week. Get fit faster by adding intervals into your aerobic workout. Increase your speed and move that booty faster for 30 to 60 seconds after four to five minutes of your normal pace.
Strength-training exercises can give you a toned, buff bod, and they also help you maintain stronger bones. Ditch the shaper pantyhose and create your own natural hourglass figure by doing total-body strength-training moves two to three times weekly, for 20 minutes each session. If the gym isn't your thing, tone your body at home with pushups and situps. Use dumbbells to perform biceps and triceps curls, as well as lunges and squats to get your muscles fit and your body ready for that little black dress.
What you do for the inside of your body benefits the outside of it, too. There's no sense in busting your butt with aerobics and muscle-toning exercises if you're just going to stuff yourself with fast food and junk. Kiss the fries goodbye and just say "no" to sugary sweets. Foods that are laden with trans fats and sugar will fill you up with calories without doing a thing for your fitness. Create a color explosion in your diet by consuming lots of fresh fruits and veggies with your meals. Fill up on fiber by eating whole grains instead of white flour products. Pass on fatty meats in favor of lean meat, and go with low-fat or nonfat dairy instead of the full-fat stuff.
Improve Lifestyle Habits
The little things you do or don't do affect your overall fitness, too. Puffing on cigarettes throughout the day will have you huffing and puffing as you walk up the stairs. Enjoying a few adult beverages with friends once in a while is fine, but if you down them like a fish you're going to affect your health and deal with unsightly bloating and water retention. If you've been a little lazy lately, get into gear and get fit faster by taking the stairs instead of the elevator and hopping on your bike to take care of nearby errands.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Common-Sense Strategies to Long-Term Weight Loss
- Harvard School of Public Health: Exercise and Weight Control
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity
- Mayo Clinic: Strength Training-- Get Stronger, Leaner, Healthier
- Northernwestern University: Young-Adult Healthy Habits Can Pay Off Later in Life
- Mayo Clinic: Rev Up Your Workout with Interval Training
Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.