Now is the time to start working more exercise into your daily routine. Now is the time because all of the holiday hoopla can crowd exercise out of our schedules. It is also easy succumb to the temptation of the high-fat, high-sugar foods that are all around. This is a deadly combination for weight maintenance. Based on studies recently reported in our blogs about the the dangers of diabetes and the difficulty of losing weight, it is important to make extra efforts in curbing holiday weight gain.
Exercise is critical in the war on weight gain. In addition to burning calories, it helps to decrease appetite, stabilize blood sugar and maintain or increase muscle mass. Sarcopenia (pronounced sar-co-PEE-nee-ah) is the age-related loss of muscle mass, strength and function. It starts to set in around age 45, when muscle mass begins to decline at a rate of about 1 percent per year for the average person. This gradual loss has been tied to lack of exercise and increased frailty among the elderly. Studies show that higher muscle mass helps to lower the risk of diabetes.
Just as you can make a difference in the "mindless margin" by eating a few less calories a day, you can also make a difference by burning a few more calories each day. After reading Dr. Grandma's excellent blog earlier this week Willpower or Environmental Power?, the importance of living mindfully to accomplish both of these became even more apparent to me.
Mindfulness regarding exercise can be just a important as mindfulness regarding food. You might want to set an intent each morning that you will move around at least 2 minutes each hour and walk for at least 30 minutes. You can expand the amount of exercise and the intensity level based on your fitness level, the amount of time in your schedule and the creativity you have for sneaking exercise into small slots of time. I once heard the saying, "Life is an abdominal exercise." This is really true. In almost everything you do each day, you can take the opportunity to work your abdominal muscles.
But don't be limited to only to your abdominal muscles. Use your creativity to make life a total body exercise. Anytime you walk anywhere in your house, you can turn plain walking into walking lunges, walking crunches, leg lifts, etc. Those times when you are waiting for the hot water in the shower or the microwave to heat up your lunch, you can do squats, wall push ups or any number of exercises that will benefit your health and appearance. You are limited only by your imagination.
Feel stymied because you are stuck at work? There are a number of sites that give tips for exercising at the office - the Mayo Clinic's "How to Burn Calories at Work", LiveStrong's Beginner's Guide to Exercising at the Office video and related videos, and the Washington Post's "A Workout at Work. There are literally dozens of other sites and great video's on YouTube about exercises you can modify to fit your particular circumstances.
If you haven't been exercising, check out When is a medical evaluation necessary? regarding your need to consult your doctor before starting your exercise program. Even if you haven't been exercising, you can start slowly and build up to more vigorous workouts. Drop the excuses and start today.
You can facilitate your move to health by using Dr. Grandma's recipes. Try making Dr. Grandma's Muffins using whole wheat flour. Each muffin is only 80 calories and they make great snacks. Dr. Grandma's pancakes are a filling and nutritious way to start a day. Make your holidays healthy.