Activity Tips - - Jackson, MS

Activity Tips

Try a Step Challenge with your family!  Buy a Step Counter or Pedometer for each family member (even the kids!) and have a contest for who takes the most steps one afternoon or who takes the first 1,000 steps.

Get some aerobic activity. It speeds up your heart and breathing. Choose activities that are fun, and you'll be more likely to stay active. Try brisk walking, bicycling, swimming, dancing, basketball, or soccer.

Move your body! Add activity to your daily routine. Try using the stairs instead of the elevator, jog in place, use hand-held weights while talking on the phone, or ride a stationary bike while watching T-V.

Make staying physically active a lifelong habit. Teaming up will help keep you motivated. Try working out with family, friends, or a church group. Also, keep a pair of sneakers at your job to sneak in a walk whenever you can.

Do physical activity for enjoyment and watch the health benefits follow. Getting exercise doesn't have to mean painful, strenuous workouts. Anything that burns calories counts.

Get strong! Strength training will help you burn extra calories and build strong muscles, bones, and joints. Experts recommend strength training two to three days a week.

Most overweight people should lose weight gradually. For safe and healthy weight loss, try not to exceed a rate of two pounds per week. Steady and slow is the way to go.

Use small rewards to attain your goals. An example would be a new music C-D. Numerous small rewards delivered for making small goals, are more effective than bigger awards.

Shaping is a behavioral technique in which you select a series of short-term goals that get closer and closer to your ultimate goal. For example, if you want to exercise five days a week and are currently inactive, set a goal of exercising two days a week and slowly work your way up.

To successfully maintain an exercise routine, choose a variety of activities that you'll stick with, listen to your body and stop when you're uncomfortable, and get support from family and friends.

Get more activity into your schedule, and remember that every little bit helps. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, play with your kids or pets more, exercise while watching TV, or park your car further away from your destination.

Walking is the easiest way to exercise. You can do it anywhere, anytime. In addition to burning calories, walking will boost your energy, reduce stress, help you sleep better, and control your appetite.

Spring is here! So get out and enjoy the nice weather with your family. Play kickball in the yard, take a hike, or play a game of tag. It's great exercise for the whole family.

Try to get as much physical activity into your schedule as you can. You should aim for thirty minutes five days a week. If you've been inactive for awhile, start slowly and work at a comfortable pace.

Self monitor your goals. Record your calorie intake, exercise sessions, or servings of fruits and vegetables. Keeping a daily log will help you improve your diet and reach your goals.

Successful weight management involves setting two or three goals at a time that are specific, attainable, and forgiving. For example, walking thirty minutes a day, five days a week, is a very good goal to set for yourself.

Setting the right goals is an important first step. Most people trying to lose weight focus on just weight loss - - instead of focusing on the dietary and exercise changes that will lead to long-term weight change.

Successful weight management depends on sensible goals and expectations. If you set sensible goals, chances are you will be more likely to meet them and have better chances of maintaining a healthy weight.

It's a myth that all exercises give you the same benefits. The fact is that low-intensity activities, if performed daily, can have long-term health benefits and lower your risk of heart disease. Such exercises include brisk walking, biking, and swimming.

It's a myth that people who need to lose some weight are the only ones who will benefit from regular physical activity. The fact is that exercise gives you energy, reduces stress, improves sleep, lowers blood pressure, and improves cholesterol levels.

Most people don't get enough physical activity just from their daily routines. We all should make a habit of getting thirty minutes of low to moderate levels of exercise every day.

The phrase no pain, no gain is a myth. Physical activity should not be painful. More intense activity burns more calories, but you can accomplish the same effect by lowering your intensity and exercising a few more minutes.

Stay active at work.  Try to brainstorm project ideas with a co-worker while taking a walk.  Since activity enhances creativity, you could come up with some great ideas, and possibly burn 100 calories if you walk at least a half mile briskly.

Increase your exercise by just five minutes each day.  Walk that block one more time or just walk up the street to see a neighbor.  Stretch more at the beginning and end of your exercise routine.

Turn to exercise, not food, when stressed.  It is easy to grab that bag of chips but if you get up and move around, you will feel better both physically and mentally.

Father/Daughter walks can be a very special time to catch up as well as a way to stay active.  Plan a walk together once a month and make it fun.  Maybe offer a reward or tell a story about your childhood.

While you watch television try doing a few jumping jacks, leg lunches or sit-ups.  It's amazing what you can do in 30-seconds.

Do what you really like to do when thinking about activity.  Do you like to dance, hike, skip, rock climb swim?  Be sure to include activities that make you happy. 

Parents joke that once children learn to walk, they never slow down.  The truth is they do- and sooner than you think.  From the moment kids start school, they spend more time sitting than they do moving about.  Research shows that inactivity not only contributes to weight gain but also to future susceptibility of serious health problems.

If you want to encourage your kids to exercise more, getting them walking is a good place to begin.  It takes no special skill, ability or equipment and it works for all ages.

Parents, if you walk more yourself to set the pace as a healthy role model and create situations in which walking arises naturally, your children will follow your lead.

Alternate walking with other activities during your family strolls through the neighborhood.  A great boredom reliever for younger kids is to name every other block when you are walking according to a different activity, such as Skipping Street or Leapfrog Lane.

Make exercise part of your children's homework.  This is usually the big chunk of time that they have to accomplish goals.

Pump up the Family!  When parents and kids eat right and exercise together, healthy homes can be happy homes.  Just DO something a few nights and weekends that makes you move around.  DON'T sit all the time.

If your child is in preschool or day care, make sure there's plenty of playtime built into the day. 

One of the most powerful rewards for kids is spending time with their parents.  Any activity you do together is bonding time.  Bike, walk, play soccer, run around the house, skip to the end of the street are just a few examples.

Be on the lookout for innovative programs in your community.  Try checking out the Parks and Recreation Department's programs for this season.

Healthy living beats skinny living hands down.  In a recent study, obese women who focused on being healthy, regardless of their size, achieved greater long-lasting health benefits than women who focused on dieting.  When you change your eating and exercise habits, make improving your health your primary goal, and take the focus off the bathroom scale.

Do 10 minutes of stomach crunches and leg lifts before you get out of bed.  Increase the number daily until you reach at least 50 of each.

Got exercise?  A recent study (Pennsylvania State University and Johns Hopkins University) indicates that exercise is more important than calcium in developing strong bones in girls and young women. 

Park three blocks from the home or office you're visiting and walk briskly the rest of the way.  Even short walks can increase your fitness level.  And it's an easy way to preview the neighborhood.

Find exercise videos that you love, and carve out a space indoors with the equipment you need.  The great thing about having an exercise video collection, and the right space, is that you have absolutely no excuses!

Adding muscle to your body will raise your metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories all day long.  So find a magazine or book article that shows you exercises for all major muscle groups.  Do your set of repetitions during commercial breaks.  You'll get a 20-minute workout during ONE 60-minute show!

Exercise your priorities.  In truth, we can all find the time to do something if it is important enough to us.  The secret to fitting walking into your life is to change your perspective on how you spend your time and to accept the value of allocating time for yourself.

Exercise with your dog!  Dog yoga sounds too weird to be true but consider that many yoga poses are inspired by animals.  The Downward Dog mimics a stretch dogs do naturally every day of the week.  So consider doing a bit of yoga with your pooch this month.

Play Frisbee with your dog and get in a little exercise yourself.  Certain breeds love to run and catch and it is great way to motivate you and your kids to get outside.

Substitute activity for inactivity the same way you substitute low-fat foods for high-fat foods.  Did you watch a TV show this week or go to a movie?  If yes, you have time to move around!

The reasons that we don't exercise are sometimes very valid.  Taking a walk may sound like an easy thing to do but some people are frightened of dogs, crime, the dark or maybe there are no sidewalks.  The best way to address this is to take a drive and look for a route that makes you feel safe.  Look for the best sidewalks, lighted area and make sure dogs are contained.  Get a buddy and hit the trails!

This week, schedule weather appropriate activity with your family.  If it is really cold or hot try a walking video, go roller skating, play Twister or bounce on pogo sticks in the garage or how about jumping ropes!

Spend time doing an activity you both like, and continue to do this regularly.  Why? Relationships are our biggest motivators.  Your children may talk to you more freely when you are busy and active.

Kids dig electronic doohickeys, so arm yours with a $10 pedometer to help her count steps.  For an added incentive youngsters ages 6 to 17 can track daily steps and earn patches and badges.

Start your kids on the right track.  A healthy lifestyle early in life can determine a child's health as an adult.  Teach your children how important it is to exercise regularly, to watch their weight and not to smoke.

What really, really motivates you or your children or your whole family?  A special outing, trip, gift or maybe a reunion is coming up.  Competition is often a motivator all by itself.  Find someone that will compete with you!

Jumping rope is excellent for cardiovascular fitness, muscular endurance and coordination.  You can also jump rope just about anywhere.

Happiness translates to good health.  Exercise can be one component of your increased well-being.  Exercise goes way beyond improving your fitness and health.  It also has a dramatic effect on your mood and self-esteem.  Your work-out can actually be something fun that you look forward to.

Here's a quick 10-minute workout idea:  warm-up with a jump rope for 2 minutes, then do forward & side lunges, push-ups, side-to-side jumps, squat & press, double jump and sit-ups about 1 minute each.  Then you're good to go!

Buy a couple of weights at any sporting goods store for under $10.  It is an easy exercise to do at your office, waiting for your children at school or while you are watching TV or a DVD.  Try it today!

Mowing a lawn, pulling a few weeds or digging a garden is actually a great activity for families to do together.  Or when you ask your teenager to help you with these chores remind them that they will also get more toned and build muscles.  Appeal to their natural desire to look better!

Quick-what's the No.1 thing you can do for your brain's health? Calculus? Chess? Puzzles?  Nope, the best brain sharpener may be...sneakers?  Yup.  Once they are on your feet, you can pump up your heart rate.  The best advice I can give to keep your brain healthy and young is aerobic exercise," says Donald Stuss, PhD, a neuropsychologist and director of the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care in Toronto.

Diabetic women who are physically active greatly reduce their risk of having heart attacks and strokes.  In the largest and longest study ever done on the topic, researchers at Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston have proven what experts have suspected all along.

Short workouts lift depression.  Just 30 minutes of brisk walking can immediately boost the mood of depressed patients, giving them the same quick pick-me-up they may be seeking from cigarettes, caffeine or binge eating.

Parents have a strong influence over whether or not their children will become overweight or obese, and it's not just their genes that they pass on.  Most significantly, when children grow up in families with bad eating habits and sedentary lifestyles dominated by television watching and video games, they are 33.3 percent more likely to become overweight or obese as young adults.

No time?  Find the fat in your schedule!  The number one reason people stop exercising is lack of time. Any walking is better than none.  Look beyond the stuff we typically think of as exercise.  Talking on the phone? Walk in place or do some squats.  Leave the stands! Never just sit and walk.  Do some laps.  Look for bite-size exercise opportunities.  Maybe three 10-minute jaunts or a routine will work for you.

Do what you love for exercise.  Sometimes it is just a matter of thinking about what makes you want to get out and move around.  If you love to dance, put on a CD that will make you move!

Never stretch cold muscles such as when beginning your exercise routine.  Always warm up first.  Do an activity for a few minutes that gets your heart rate higher or start your exercise at a slow pace to gradually warm up and then stretch.

The right tunes can help you exercise more frequently and lose more weight.  Music is thought to relieve stress, tension and anxiety, so you end up focusing on the song or your surroundings instead of your discomfort. 

Your mind really rests when you are focused on routine things, like lifting dumbbells and breathing.  You're not thinking about the craziness of life in the office or at home.  Lifting small weights may help you think of some good ideas.

Try working out first thing in the morning.  It will give you more energy to start the day.

Don't let "the perfect time and place" be the enemy of your workout.  If you are on the road or can't make a workout class just improvise.  All you need is a floor to jump up & down, do jumping jacks or push-ups.

A really good exercise that doesn't take up much time are leg lunges.  With a dumbbell in each hand, standing straight, step forward with one foot and bend both knees, dropping the back knee toward the floor.  Keep your front foot flat, and don't let your knee extend beyond your toes.  Alternate legs.

There are even exercises for a true couch potato.  Try a few of these when you are stuck on a couch:

  -Extend your right leg and write the alphabet in the air with your   toes (easier without shoes); do the same with your left leg.              -Hold some canned vegetables, bottled water or weights and lift   during the commercial breaks.                                                        -Set up a laundry basket or box and make it into your goal post or   basketball hoop.  Use a ball or rolled up socks and shoot goals.  But   you have to repeat this many, many times so the movement of   getting up and retrieving your "balls" gets your heart working.

All you need to do is take off your shoes for this exercise.  Stand in your bare feet, bending knees slightly, with a pen placed in front of your right foot.  Curl your toes (right foot) around the pen, lift the knee as high as possible while still keeping your balance and then extend the leg out in front of you (straighten standing leg if you can).  Lower and release the pen.  Do ten reps and switch legs.  You're not only improving balance and posture but also toning your calves.

If you have 20 minutes to exercise and you want to maximize the time and results the key is to work fast, get your heart rate way, way up and use your biggest muscle groups.  Running up a hill or using a stair master are examples.

You've heard of neighborhood garage sales but what about neighborhood walks.  All you need to do is pick a day and time and then drop off a flyer at your neighbors home that let's them know where you'll start.  It may be a good way to meet new people!

Did you know you would need to walk 4.3 miles to burn off the calories in a Grande Caramel Frappuccino or 6.4 miles to get rid of a double bacon-cheeseburger.

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